OT: Alternatives to landline and VOIP telephones?

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On 9/13/2014 5:32 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Service not available here. Choice between Comcast cable and Verizon FIOS and have both connections in my house. I see neighbors switch back and forth getting cheap introductory packages and switching when it expires to go to other introductory package.
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On Sat, 13 Sep 2014 18:32:00 -0500, Mark Lloyd

After Charley Comcast TV was down for almost a week, the internet was down 10 days. What really whizzed me off the most was my monthly ReplayTV was a doorstop until I could get the internet back
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We use Tracfones and every member of our family ended up with a different underlying carrier. None of us can get a decent cell signal, and no one who visits our house can get a signal either. Ironically, we're only a half mile from the cell tower on top of our hill.
One of these days I might try the booster route, but it hasn't been a big priority for me.
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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Kurt,

I signed up many years ago, so I wasn't sure what the current rules were. Apparently they passed a new law in 2007 to eliminate the five year expiration. Cool, I learned something new! :)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Do_Not_Call_Registry#Do-Not- Call_Improvement_Act_of_2007
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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Unfortunately, unless you're prepared to go completely off grid, you'll always be vulnerable to whatever cables bring services to your home. Even cell towers can go down in major disasters.
I could personally do without a phone for days or weeks without any major inconvenience (short of a medical emergency). I could always drive to town and use a pay phone (if I could find one) if I needed to contact family or something.
I dropped cable TV and now use an Antenna. So, I could still get the TV news if I needed to stay updated on disaster recovery. Of course, I would need power or a battery operated TV. :) Or fall back to old fashioned radio for news.
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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On Sat, 13 Sep 2014 23:56:23 +0000 (UTC), HerHusband

They seem to have zero interest in enforcing this law.
You can fill out complaints but nothing comes of it.
The idea that these calls are untraceable is ludicrous. Every one of them wants you to send money somewhere or give money to someone, follow the money.
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We switched to VOIP many years ago because our land line was so expensive. We were paying over $100 a month for bare bones service, no caller ID, only local calls (couldn't call family just 20 miles away), etc. I switched to VOIP for only $15 at the time and got a full range of extras. Of course, this was only possible because I was already paying for cable internet.

My bill continues to climb every year, despite me dropping more and more services. Unfortunately, Comcast cable is the only option we have for broadband internet. DSL doesn't come out this far, the land topography blocks wireless, and the forest blocks satellite.
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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On 9/13/2014 8:12 PM, HerHusband wrote:

We have both Comcast and FIOS access and I've got a next door neighbor and one across the street that switch back and forth. Wife does not want me doing that but I have told FIOS that if I can have their initial low cost 2 year offer for life, I will take it. Fat chance.
You can also try multiple calls to Comcast to try to get the bill lowered. We plead as seniors on fixed income. Guy tells me he has his grandson call for him and if not satisfied, keeps calling talking to different people to get the bill lowered.
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Look at the plans and phone from Republic Wireless. You mainly use wifi for the phone,but when out of range you go to the cell tower. Unlimiated phone and text plus wifi internet.
The plan is advertised at $ 10, but there is about $ 2 of tax added on. You do have to buy one of their smart phones. I have beenusing it for several months and it works very well. also if you do need the internet and not in a wifi area, you can swithch plans on the fly.
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Realize that unless the telco is really close to your home, eventually, probably not that far in the future the copper cables connecting you and your neighbors to the telco CO will die of old age and/or be stolen by copper thieves. Then the telco will install a Remote Terminal at the end of your street which connects to the CO on fiber.
Those RTs have battery backup that might be good for 8 hours if the batteries have been maintained, usually less. The telco can tow a generator out to the RT to power it if the power is out a long time, but they don't have as many generators as they have RTs so don't count on your old fashioned land line working in an extended power outage.
Cell sites on the other hand have permanently installed backup generators with decent fuel supplies, so only the very worst storms with a lot of blocked roads are likely to cause a cell site outage. Your cell phone can be charged form your car or even from a small solar panel if necessary so your cell phone may well be more reliable than your land line.
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On Saturday, September 13, 2014 10:19:31 PM UTC-4, Pete C. wrote:

The phone company may not even do that. After Sandy here in NJ, Verizon decided not to restore copper wire service at all in some communities. And I can understand it, because it's not worth installing new wire for a dying service.
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wrote in message

I don't think most cell sites have permanently installed generators. They have batteries, and a big plug for when a generator is wheeled up. There may be a subset of cell sites that have generators, but those are probably more remote.
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Pico Rico wrote:

I've never seen a RT with a permanent generator, just an inlet plug. I've never seen a standalone cell site without a permanent generator. Some cell sites located on other structures don't have a clearly visible generator, but most of their gear isn't visible either. The main point is the days where the land line was always reliable are rapidly coming to an end.
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On Sat, 13 Sep 2014 23:38:20 -0400, "83LowRider"

if they think you're leaving.
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On Sat, 13 Sep 2014 22:05:16 -0700, "Guv Bob"

If you're talking about a Go-Phone, and the 100 is for minutes, you're close but not quite right. If you buy in 100 dollar incremnt, the minutes don't expire for a year, but you can use them up before then.
OTOH, if you don't use them up, they roll over, IF you buy more minutes. If you don't, they disappear. You can only roll over about 250 dollars worth also, so if you never use the phone, in three years they'll start taking away all the minutes over 250 dollars worht.
Of course they are not really minutes. They have 3 plans. The first two I forget but it might be minutes. The last one charges nothing on the days you don't use the cell phone (not for making, receiving calls or checking your voice mail or texting or anything) , but on days you do, it's $2, but you can talk as much as you want and make or receive as many calls as you want until midnight, I think it must be, when it will cost you another $2. I'm not sure about texting.
So for 100 dollars, you can only use the car 50 days of the year. However for me that's plenty. I use it when I'm travelling and on such days I often have to make a lot of calls. But if you want to use the phone 51 days in less than a year, the 100 dollars doesn't last a year.

So you can really get your original number back on your land line after putting it somewhere else? The fear that won't work stops from making any changes.

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>> I'm thinking about getting an AT&T prepaid phone. Buy $100 and it's good for a year, > > If you're talking about a Go-Phone, and the 100 is for minutes, you're > close but not quite right. If you buy in 100 dollar incremnt, the > minutes don't expire for a year, but you can use them up before then. > > OTOH, if you don't use them up, they roll over, IF you buy more minutes. > If you don't, they disappear. You can only roll over about 250 > dollars worth also, so if you never use the phone, in three years > they'll start taking away all the minutes over 250 dollars worht. > > Of course they are not really minutes. They have 3 plans. The first two > I forget but it might be minutes. The last one charges nothing on the > days you don't use the cell phone (not for making, receiving calls or > checking your voice mail or texting or anything) , but on days you do, > it's $2, but you can talk as much as you want and make or receive as > many calls as you want until midnight, I think it must be, when it will > cost you another $2. I'm not sure about texting. > > So for 100 dollars, you can only use the car 50 days of the year. > However for me that's plenty. I use it when I'm travelling and on > such days I often have to make a lot of calls. But if you want to use > the phone 51 days in less than a year, the 100 dollars doesn't last a > year. > >
(Sorry if this is a duplicate, email claims not to have sent it earlier, although it did send one a few minutes earlier).
Not related to my original questions, but since this came up...
I had that AT&T cell plan for several years. At the end when I decided to get a smart phone on a friend's plan. There was money left on the account and I decided rather than let it fall back into AT&T's account, I'd try to do something constructive with it. I found several charities where I could donate money that was debited from my prepaid account. Eg, I could text a code to the Red Cross and each time it debited $10 from the account. I'm not posting the #s here because if someone else did, I wouldn't believe them anyhow, but then I'm cynical. If you look on the Red Cross main page, there is a link to donating by text. (Yes, I'm sure the charities don't get all of the $10, but they still get more than they would if the $ in the account reverted to the carrier).
Anyhow, just mentioning it in case anyone else finds themselves in the position of leaving money in a prepaid account.
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On 09/14/2014 08:12 PM, Lee B wrote:

I used to have a Tracfone, and (IIRC) their user "agreement" had a paragraph prohibiting "short codes".
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wrote:
For an AT&T Go-Phone

If you buy more time before the 365 days, I think it is, but it's not 366 even in a leap year, have passed since you bought the last 100 dollars worth. 25 dollars worth expire in 90 days, not 91 or 92, which 3 months would be. 50 dollars expire in 180 days iirc, NOT 6 months.

Well, you can turn on the phone and change your settings or look for a phone number, but you can't make a connection to any other location including the AT&T offices or you are charged $2. And be careful, because if you got a phone call and there's a message on your voice mail (and maybe if you got a text?) the phone will on its own call immediiately so you can hear your voicemail and it's hard to hang up in time to avoide the daily $2, especially if you didn't see it coming. They charge the $2 even to call an 800 number or even 911, I'm pretty sure. Of course if it's really an emergency, it should be worth $2.
After that until midnight it's free, except to call foreign countries except Canada, I think. Maybe it's not foreign enough.
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wrote:

Good to know. Thanks.

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On Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:40:45 -0700, "Guv Bob"

They are always pretty ambagious with speed numbers, particularly on cable. There are lots of variables. The best they do is "up to x" If you really want to see the fancy footwork, ask them about some guarantee on reliability. For me, that was the killer with Comcast. They sucked and if you managed to get one stinking packet through on any given day your internet was "working" that day for billing purposes. It was very hard to actually get a refund ... as if that made up for looking at "server can not be found" all day.
The guy you talked to was just a salesman anyway, probably in a 3d world boiler room and he gets paid on what he can sell. They really want to credit check you before they spend any real time on you. No sense in "selling" a person who can't buy. (for any number of reasons)
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