Did some searching here (and elsewhere), and found a little bit of information, but basically I'm looking to establish "local" phone service at my new place, and I'm thinking we want to stick with VoiP service (which we had in Montana). We were quite satisfied with our service through Bresnan (cable), but obviously here we're having to switch. Comcast probably isn't an option, since we're getting DSL through Qwest for the next six months or so (their non-intro price is high, and I'm not sure it's even available to non-Comcast internet subscribers).
Basically I'm looking for as many options to compare as I can. Supposedly Qwest offers residential VoiP, but apparently their number is only available during normal business hours. $19.99, though their website suggests that deal ended back on 5/25 (so why is it still up?)...I almost get the impression that this is a division that just got straight-up shut down but they forgot to pull the website and voicemail account.
There's Vonage, but the reviews I've seen seem to range from "pretty okay" or "just fine" to "ZOMG AVOID." I'm skittish there because it's a year contract if I want the free adapter and decent rate ($24.99), and thus if it sucks we're hosed.
There's inTalk by Nextiva, which seems to get solid reviews (that may or may not be astroturf) and offers decent rates...$19.99 per month or $16.99 if paid annually. On the monthly, you buy your own phone adapter ($50 or so? seems like it), they claim a "free" adapter if you go yearly but I don't know if that's something you own or something you give back. Again, pulling the trigger on a year of pre-paid phone makes me hesitate, in case it blows. But $50+ for the adapter and then $20 a month for the line seems high, and if they're decent the yearly seems like the way to go. Do most of these companies work with the same adapters? Like, if I buy the Linksys PAP2T
adapter they're selling ($55) will I be able to use this with another service if these guys suck? Is this shit just all standard?
Then there's Phone.com, which runs $19.99 per month (plus $29.99 setup), sends you the Linksys PAP2T, and as long as you remain for 11 months you (apparently) get to keep the adapter (otherwise you have to send it back). From what I can tell, that's with no contract. But again, I have no idea if their service sucks massive amounts of donkey cock.
These are just the ones that seem to be okay deals, and don't have a bunch of actively bad reviews. I'm open to suggestions.
I would just go with a regular damn landline, but we've gotten so used to never having to worry about LD service...and Qwests unlimited LD plans are fucking expensive in comparison.
Anyway, I'm in Bremerton (360 area code).
Features I care about:
- E911 service, though we also have our cellphones
- Unlimited calling, including long distance
- Caller ID, though every last one seems to have this
- Voice mail, see above
- No long-term contract, if possible, in case it's shitty
Features I do not care about:
- Call forwarding
- Having my name show up on other people's caller ID (apparently common with these services)
- Nominal set-up fees ($30 or so)
Also, can I be reasonably confident that if I setup a Linksys WRT54GL with DD-WRT's "VoiP" (or maybe it's "Telephony") version, I can get reasonably reliable voice conversations regardless of other interweb usage? With Bresnan we had a telephony modem that handled all this (and had an integrated battery backup), but it seems pretty straightforward.
On a side note, how's Comcast's service? There's a strong possibility that I'll be outside DSL-land when we move in six months or so, which is also part of why I want to avoid contracts...at that time, would just bundling through Comcast be the best way to go? If you actually want
cable/internet/phone it seems like it comes in at a halfway reasonable price, though still a bit high. But if the service is at least good, I can deal.
If anybody is wondering why I went Qwest (we've had bad experiences with them in the past), it's because they could hook me up two weeks earlier and with no contract, and cheaper (monthly) to boot...no brainer. I can always switch.
EDIT: A little more focused googling suggests that yes, most VOIP services use the same standard (SIP? whatever that Linksys does) and devices should
be interoperable. Vonage seems to be the only player that doesn't, at least the only player without their own internet service.