[SATLUG] Requesting recommendations for phone and DSL service

Frank Huddleston fhuddles at gmail.com
Sun Aug 11 13:22:12 CDT 2013


I use Google Voice for my phone service. I use the ObiHai device
http://www.obihai.com/)  for my home phone: it's an OBI100, which I
think costs about $40. I use Grande for internet, so the stand-alone
DSL is not an issue. I have the slowest, lowest-priced internet
service Grande offers, and it works. It's about $30/month.
My cell phone is just a free flip-phone, and I get my service from Pure Talk:
http://www.puretalkusa.com/
It's $10 a month. I have this phone as a Google Voice phone also, so I
can use the same number for both my home and cell phones.
  I also have a Callcentric account for 911 access: it works as an
alternate line off the OBI device.
That costs about $1.50/month. Callcentric has plans that do a
cost-per-minute pricing:
http://www.callcentric.com/
Although I never use the callcentric line, I like having an
alternative, just in case Google ever turns evil. Of course, by then
it will probably be too late ;)
So that makes a regular monthly cost of $30 + $10 + $1.50 = $41.50.

   You can use a fancy smart phone with this and there are apps that
will use the GV and/or Callcentric services for calls. So I guess you
don't really need cell phone service if you can get wireless
connectivity. That has occurred to me, but it seems about the same in
cost: mobile wireless or cell phone service.

  I pretty much followed the steps in a web article about how to ditch
your land line and use Google Voice, given here:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/government/google-voice-a-step-by-step-primer-on-ditching-your-land-line-while-keeping-your-number/10455

(you might have to go to ZDNet and search for this)

Some downsides:
- My calls vary in quality: sometimes there's a lot of noise and
cut-outs, or the line suddenly goes dead. I'm never completely sure
it's on my side of the connection, but it probably is a lot of the
time. There's a feature in GV (Google Voice) that allows you to report
problems.
- There's really no support if you've got problems: there's a OBI
forum and I think some kind of GV help or forums, but it's not like
you can call anyone.
- You've got to set up that OBI device. There is explicit help for
this, so even if you totally don't understand what you're entering,
you can do it. But when things go wrong, you look at it and wonder if
it's the cute little OBI device that's sick.
- If you have an internet outage, you have no home phone. You have to
use your cell phone to call tech support, and burn expensive cell
phone minutes.

I hope this helps.
Regards,

Frank Huddleston


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