Comcast Digital Voice

Comcast called yesterday offering their phone service essentially for free for a year and after that it’s still cheaper than our local phone service. We have TV and internet with them and “free” means that our total will stay about the same for a year. It is kind of tempting considering that our local phone costs about $50 per month.

I’ve read mixed reviews online so … I don’t know if anyone has anything new to add but I’d also like to hear about the installation process. I should have asked these when they called but I wasn’t really considering it then.

What do they actually install? Do they have a box which plugs into their coax and provides a standard RJ11 phone jack? The comcast.com site says we can keep our own phones. Does that mean they normally get into the phone wiring in the house and disconnect the entry point from the phone company and connect it to their equipment? We’re in a rental so we or the landlord probably don’t want that done but I’d be happy if they could simply provide a phone jack where we could plug in a base for cordless phones and forget about the house wiring.

Does their box need power? ie, does no power mean no phone?

Thanks

We have Comcast for the phone. No power does mean no phone for us. Also, no internet usually means no phone.

This is really, really irritating–but the land line isn’t mine, and I use my cell, so it’s not a dealbreaker for me.

They will replace your modem with one that has two phone jacks. You can either plug your phone directly into the modem (that’s what we do) or you can connect a phone line from the modem to a phone jack. If you do the latter, the phone signal will be fed to all of the other phone jacks in the house so you can plug a phone in anywhere. As far as I know, they don’t disconnect the phone company’s wires, as the box where the wires connect to the house wiring is locked.

The modem they gave us has a battery backup, so your phone will still work for some time if the power goes out. It may or may not work when your internet connection is out (it depends on the cause of the outage).

One other thing to note is that, at least in our area, you can’t buy the modem or supply your own. You have to rent it from Comcast. I think we pay $5 per month to rent the modem.

I keep thinking of stuff to add.

We find that the quality of the phone using Comcast is much better than when we had phone service through the phone company. That may be due to the quality of the phone wiring in our house, however. We’ve got a bunch of jacks split off the run to other jacks and lots of old phone wire running dozens of feet on the outside of the house. Having the phone connected directly to the modem cuts all of that old phone wiring out of the picture.

If you make international calls, look into the Carefree Minutes international calling plans.

Just like your phone bill, your cable bill will now have all of those little charges, like the Universal Connectivity Charge, that add up to several dollars every month so your total bill may be a bit higher than what they said it would be.

My workplace has Comcast business class voice and Internet, and I’m part of the sysadmin team that deals with Comcast when things don’t work. I do not recommend it if reliability is important to you. It works great when the line is up. However, the line is down fairly often. Dealing with Comcast customer service is always an extremely frustrating experience.

Comcast is also planning on switching customers to digital only service which also means that every TV hooked up to the cable feed will require a cable box to work. And who rents out the cable boxes? :rolleyes:

We switched from Vonage. So far I’ve found the service fine, with much less outages. We had to change our phone number, but that’s not a biggie for us.

I had Comcast Digital Voice before I moved last year. I didn’t have any problems with it. As described by others, basically you have a modem with battery backup which hooks up to your computer and your phone line. All your regular phone jacks work like they used to and if the power goes out you still have phone service (due to the battery backup).

The only difference I found was that there seemed to be a fraction of a second hesitation when I pick up the handset to place a call, and some of the CallerID stuff seemed a bit different. But it worked fine and was really cheap.

I’m with Waffle Decider. Comcast was always out for us.

And, yes, customer service is an oxymoron at Comcast. No one knows what the heck is going on at Comcast. I can’t wait to see how they’ll break NBC Universal. Movies will probably have outages.

We also had a special situation in our home – using a TTY and a relay service – and they never figured out how to bill for this (and it’s supposed to be FREE). They really didn’t understand what they were getting into when they started offering phone service.

We switched to Verizon, for Fios, TV and phone. I can’t say enough nice things about Verizon. (No, I do not work for them.) I also have their wireless service. So basically I fork over a giant chunk of money to them every month (5 cell phones with unlimited texting). And I’ve never been happier to do it.

Thanks all. We’ll probably give it a go.

Surely you wouldn’t want both systems connected to the house wiring at the same time, electrically fighting each other. I think the phone company would object to that. It’s kind of a less dramatic version of someone hooking up a generator to their house electrical wiring without turning the main power switch off.

The phone line entry box is not usually locked as far as I know so it would be easy to disconnect the external phone line there. Maybe that’s what they do.