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Thread: Digital phone service using the internet

  1. #1
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Digital phone service using the internet

    My internet provider is offering a digital phone service at a most cost that includes all the usual premium additions like call display, waiting etc plus including unlimited Canada-wide long distance.
    This service according to the FAQ's that I checked is provided using the internet.

    911 calls will have to go back through the provider for address info unless the person calling states their address clearly. If the internet is down, so is the digital phone service.

    My unlimited internet currently is provided through a regular Bell landline and DSL.

    Is this much different than people using cellphones for all phone services including 911. How does the EMS know where to go with a cellphone call? My cellphone has the locator that I have activated.

    How reliable is the internet for the future? What other pitfalls should I query as it is a very cost-effective option. Please help me think this through.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  2. #2
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    It's technically VOIP (Voice Over IP). We had it for the past five years or so, but coincidentally just gave it up last week. No more home phones in our house.
    I'm not sure about your provider, but ours had 911 identification (I'm taking their word for that because it was never tested).
    It's true that if your internet goes down, so does your telephone, but other than that you'll never know the difference between VOIP and your traditional landline.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    We haven't had a home phone for over a decade, and I recently read that in the US less than 50% of households still have one. So, obviously, I'm not concerned. But Alan is certainly correct that if your internet goes down so does the phone service. With cell phones as a backup I would think that you should be ok in the unlikely event that you need 911.

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    We switched over to this service a few months back, also from our locally-owned-and-operated ISP. It has 911 identification that works just fine. I've tested it.

    It's more reliable of a service than the copper-based Centurylink "old school" phone system here - even during power outages and disasters. Mostly because Centurylink has stopped doing investment/maintenance on their infrastructure in the entire county. Their links out of the county to the rest of the world fail frequently (we recently had a 10 day and a 4 day total outage in the country) and the battery backup power in their switches and such here is no longer really functional for any length of time.

    Their response to the last several telco-caused outages got them fined by the state, and we had several deaths here because of it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Wow, what positive input.

    I love my 24 hour internet for playing my Sonos Play et al so will stick with this provider for that. This digital phone with all the services plus long distance is less than half of the Bell landline with none of the extra features and long distance. I can add free long distance in North America calling for $5 more/mth. I do have family and other business calls to the US.
    I keep my iPhone charged and with me at all times as my emergency phone.

    I am a Bell shareholder as well so struggling with the $$$$ savings.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  6. #6
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    I am a Bell shareholder as well so struggling with the $$$$ savings.
    You may wish to recast that statement as "The $$$$ savings seem great, I'm struggling remaining a Bell shareholder..."

    :-)

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    They don't have the same uptime restrictions that ma bell did. Although as Bae mentioned, they are trying to get away from keeping that infrastructure up, due to the cost benefit, now.
    You can use VOIP, over wireless, but I am not sure I would want to on an unsecured connection. I thought about it for CL stuff, to keep my cell number separate. Since I don't have kids at home, that would need emergency access, it would be a needless expense for me.
    I don't know what the tax rate comparisons are the landline service, but that is something I would also consider, as I dropped my landline for three reasons:
    1. 100 year old neighbor passed, that needed to be able to get in touch with me
    2. 50% of the bill was taxes (I had the most basic service, didn't qualify for lifeline, but service only used as lifeline)
    3. They took out pay phones at the last spots I used them (need to contact work for pickup/order changes etc), and that drove me to a cell phone.

    After having a cell phone for three months, I knew my usage would cost me around two months of landline service, for the year.
    911, depends on multiple things. In the greater KC area, 911 service is more up to date, and the police can activate the GPS service in event of emergency (don't know all the legal hoops, but those will have some regional differences). My old phone was prior to GPS, so they would only get whatever tower it connected to, if no one could speak into the phone. A landline connects to the correct city, where 911 on these interconnected area's, you will have to tell them what city. Smaller counties, don't have the tax basis for the most up to date equipment, plan on them needing to be told where you are.
    I know I am missing more, but all my brain can come up with now, is a story a while back about a house being burglarized with a couple kids in it, and no phone. They posted on Facebook and someone noticed and dialed 911.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I am behind the curve on some of this. If people abandon their landline, would it be correct that they have internet service in their home by cable? And does cable provide an internet service without cable TV, or do you typically have both to make it seem cost effective? My cell phone is a Tracfone, plus a landline, and internet fees. No cable TV. It pretty much fits my needs and I've not figured any big cost savings to do otherwise. When I hear that over half of households don't have a home phone anymore, I wonder if I'm missing something.

    Off topic, but I've also wondered how many homes have a desktop computer. I still have mine but mostly only use it for photo editing and viewing. It's on my project list to move all of my photo files to my laptop and get rid of the old computer, but will want to use the large monitor occationally.

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    I've had free VOIP for over a year now - it could go away tomorrow, but it's paid the initial investment back many times over.

    It's a little box that interfaces with Google Voice. https://www.whichvoip.com/obihai-google-voice.htm. It also has a bluetooth adapter so my smartphone calls also ring on my house phones when I'm home.

    It comes with the caveat that Google Voice could yank support at any time, but so far it's been good. You can set up E911 on it, but there is a charge for it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar View Post
    I am behind the curve on some of this. If people abandon their landline, would it be correct that they have internet service in their home by cable? And does cable provide an internet service without cable TV, or do you typically have both to make it seem cost effective? My cell phone is a Tracfone, plus a landline, and internet fees. No cable TV. It pretty much fits my needs and I've not figured any big cost savings to do otherwise. When I hear that over half of households don't have a home phone anymore, I wonder if I'm missing something.

    Off topic, but I've also wondered how many homes have a desktop computer. I still have mine but mostly only use it for photo editing and viewing. It's on my project list to move all of my photo files to my laptop and get rid of the old computer, but will want to use the large monitor occationally.
    When I first got cable internet, you were punished for not having cable tv by the sum of $1. Now with the speeds what they are, I can/did lower my cable speed and drop the tv which wasn't hooked up.
    There are other options, some of which I believe still suck (satellite internet has issues/lag). Some other choices of course may not be available in your area. DSL is dying out, fiber is replacing it.
    I still prefer desktops overall. More cost effective, as they are upgradeable, tend to have better cooling and I can swap out the whole guts, making a new computer.

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