Pondering VOIP

This past weekend, I was looking over our phone bill for the first time in a while (Lisa is in charge of the finances, so I don’t tend to look at these things very often), and I was surprised to see that it was higher than I thought. I had had a similar revelation the last time I looked at our DirecTV bill, when I realized that we were subscribed to “Total Choice Plus”, which gives us useless channels like “Soap Net” and “Lifetime Women” for “just” $5/month extra. We dumped that pretty quick, and hardly noticed the difference (Lisa noticed because she was watching a “Mad About You” rerun on one of the affected channels at the time they killed them off).
Our phone bill, from Cavalier Telephone, a regional competitor to Verizon in Northern Virginia, should have our phone service, at $24.95, and our DSL, at $25. The total bill, however, was over $80! Upon further examination, I discovered that it was partly because of our long distance calls (since we dropped our cell phones, the landline costs $0.05/minute, not a bad rate, but I guess it adds up after a month of calls), and mainly due to the umpteen gazillion (no exaggeration) fees they tack on.
So, how to remedy this situation? I did a little research, and Cavalier partners with a VOIP company called “Phonom.” Their introductory rate is $45.99/month for phone and DSL, and includes 500 minutes of long distance. After 6 months, it bumps up to $52.99/month. Okay, so that’s $3 more per month, but it includes long distance, so we only have to talk for an hour long distance to make up that difference. Plus, there are only $3 in fees (for E911), and nothing else, which saves a heck of a lot right there.
I need to do a little bit more research to find out if we can carry over our existing phone number (it would be a bit of a pain to get a new one), and to make sure the voice quality would be okay too (the requirements say 256 kbps up/down, which I have, but I’m not sure if the quality would be affected if we were downloading a big file or something). I’m thinking that this is a pretty good deal though.
Anyone else using VOIP?

1 thought on “Pondering VOIP”

  1. Yup. I have Charter Pipeline for my ISP, for which I pay $45 a month, and Vonage VOIP for which I pay $17 a month. I get 500 outgoing minutes (doesn’t matter where in the US I call) and unlimited incoming minutes. Oh, and all my phone messages on voicemail are emailed to me in MP3, which is really nifty in its own right.

    There’s something to buying your VOIP from your cable company as opposed to a third party, as, in theory, they could de-prioritize your VOIP data packets, which would make your service spotty and reduce its quality, in an effort to convince you to switch to their service. I don’t think the government is going to get their hands dirty telling the ISPs they can’t do that, so as VOIP catches on I think it’ll become more prevalent.

    I’ve had Vonage for over a year, by the way, and have only had one issue with a service outage that affected me at all. If you’re interested in Vonage, lemme know so I can refer you and get a couple months free in the process.

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