Thursday 8 March 2007

Buyer Beware: Cabled Based Phone Service - Is it Worth it?

We just had our land line hooked up this morning.

It seems that the previous owner had the local cable company's phone system as the technician needed to come in the house to hook up the phone company's wires again.

As I understand it, cabled based phone service relies on the cable modem functioning correctly and being constantly powered.

No power = no phone.
No power = no cell or wireless phone once their batteries die.
No Internet connection = no phone.

On behalf of clients whose cable Internet connection was down, the cable company's representative would say something along the lines of, "We are doing all that we can to get your service up and running as soon as possible sir."

That answer doesn't work when I need to call 911 and my cable Internet/Phone service is down.

That answer doesn't work when the power is out and I need to communicate with the outside world.

Our land line provider may not be the best or cheapest in town, but at least the phone system is still functional in the event of an emergency.

So, the situation begs the question: Is it worth it to save a few dollars on long distance and risk not being able to use the Cable Phone?

For me, with a young family, the answer is clear.

Safety Tip: Keep an old land line hard wired phone around for emergencies. Battery operated phones will die in the event of an extended power outage. The hard wired phone can be plugged in and it just works. This goes for both the office and the home.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

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