Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Goodbye Vonage

We have canceled our Vonage service. This time it wasn't due to any fault of Vonage, it was due to the inherent unreliability of our Comcast broadband service. Oddly enough, Vonage has allowed us to keep the home gateway - just in case we want to come back in the future. This from the company that charges $99 to your account automatically whenever you have to return a box and get a new one.

Comcast changed something and our signal dropped, resulting in a 500kbps speed and frequent interruptions of service. The result was choppy and occasionally dropped calls and many times when the service was completely unavailable. Many service trips could not resolve the problem.

We've switched to BellSouth DSL, which requires a phone line. And, since we now have a fixed phone line to the house, Vonage didn't make sense economically. For our long distance, we'll use calling cards or something.

Plus, BellSouth offers some very nice returning customer prizes (no charge for the nickel long distance plan for a year, $100 cash back, free MP3 player, foot massages).

I have been looking at this little gadget that allows a home phone to switch over to Skype for long distance but use the regular PSTN for local calls (and long distance, if your broadband is down). If the numbers crunch right, it might be our next experiment.

All of this really points out the sorry state of broadband in the US. I live in a nice area with plenty of revenue potential and I still get lousy broadband - and pay through the nose for it. It makes me quite jealous when reading articles about fiber deployments in Asia, Europe, ... and Utah.

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