Should I switch to digital phone service for my home?

I’ve been thinking about switching to digital phone service for my home. I’m concerned because sometimes (very rarely) my cable service goes out. On the other hand, it seems like I could save some bucks, as I have two differetn lines. And this company (Joii Phone) in particular seems to have a really nice, very customizable service.

Anyone deal with them? How about the issue of digital versus the tried and true?

I would not rely on it for my only telephone, but I have AT&T digital phone service and it works quite well, except when the internet goes down.

If the internet is down, or the power goes out, so does your phone. At least have a cellphone to back you up.

Oops. I meant to post this in GQ, which seems like a more apprpriate forum. Could a Mod please move it there? Thanks.

And thanks, Cheesesteak. That is the problem I’m having.

I suspect that it will wind up in IMHO, but it can stop in GQ for a bit.

Whatever seems most appropriate. I’m just looking for info and answers.


I have it from Comcast, and so far I’ve not had a problem. Although when I pick up the phone it sometimes takes a second or two for it to kick in. But I’m saving a lot of money. I was concerned at first because our electric power goes out quite a lot, but the modem has a backup battery and the phone still works when the electricity is out. Overall, the performance is no better than a regular phone, but the money savings is worth it.

I live in Colombia, South America and have a Vonage VoiP phone with phone number in Miami, FL. It is great! We love it. We can call anywhere in the USA, Canada and certain numbers in Europe for the cost of one cheap monthly payment. If you are worried about power outages you can just connect it to a UPS and it will usually cover the outage for up to 30 minutes depending on the UPS that you have.

There are two arguments for switching to digital phone service, in my opinion. One is that it eliminates the cost associated with long distance calls. For some folks that’s trivial, for others it’s substantial. The second reason is that many providers offer a discount if you get the digital phone service as part of a package. In my case, we switched from our service from the local phone company to the local cable company, and the net monthly cost dropped significantly. We actually upgraded our cable package when we added the phone service and still pay less per month.

The latter advantage would not apply to an independent VOIP provider like vonage. Some of those services also have other drawbacks, like 911 or other emergency services being unavailable.

In general, I believe the quality of the VOIP signal can be less than with traditonal phone lines (due to bandwidth and other issues). This makes it less than ideal for sending faxes, for example.

I suppose it makes sense if you have cable - but I know someone who was without everything for nearly a week when the cable got cut.

We had digital phone service for a while independent of cable. (We use a dish). We dropped it when we found that you can’t get DSL with it, and that cable internet without cable TV is very expensive. so that’s an odd caveat you need to look out for. As for costs, local phone service was actually no more expensive when we switched back, and we use our cellphones for most long distance anyway.

If you currently or plan to make a lot of long distance calls then its very worth it as they’re all flat rate service (no long distance fees to the lower 48 states).

I switched when I moved. I had Verizon telephone & DSL internet and it worked pretty much flawlessly (I had separate DirecTV satellite). I switched to Time Warner RoadRunner Triple-Play (phone, internet, and cable TV) not because it was cheaper (it isn’t really) but mostly because I hated the fact that almost half my Verizon phone bill went to state fees, taxes and surcharges. Plus Verizon itemized and charged extra for everything (CallerID, call waiting, call waiting w/CallerID etc all cost extra). And I did make the occasional +3 hour call cross country which would always cost me $20.

Reliability wise however, Verizon was better. In the six years I had Verizon I think the DSL went down maybe twice (and one of those was due to 9/11) and the telephone not even once. Roadrunner has gone down more than a few times. Not enough to make me switch back, but enough to be annoying…

After it took Bell Canada a week to replace the broken cable from the pole to house, I switched to the local cable company (Videotron). We already had TV cable, so we switched the phone and DSL service. It saved about $25 per month and the Internet service has been much better. Once Bell’s name server was down–I could get to any site whose IP address I happened to know, but not to any other. When I called the help line and asked if they were having trouble with the name server, the “technician” asked me what was a name server. The next day it was working again.

They claim that the backup battery in the phone modem is good for 8 hours of use. Certainly, the phone was working during a power failure, but I didn’t use it for eight hours. They say that they are required to give continuous 9-1-1 service. Obviously Bell does not feel they are so required. Had they at least offerred me a loaner cell phone during that week I probably would not have switched (they are also in the cell phone business, so their cost would have been negligeable). Incidentally I do not get free long distance service. They charge $3 a month for 100 minutes US and Canada and $10 for 1000. I will get Skype one of these days.