Thursday, May 04, 2006

Moving to VOIP (the beginning)

I have decided to move 2 of my 3 phones lines to VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and to get a faster internet connection. I thought I'd blog about the process of moving the lines and getting new internet service.

First, I have been an ATT/Southwestern Bell/Ameritech/SBC/ATT customer all of my adult life (30 years), plus another 10 before I turned 18. 40 total years with SBC or some version of them.

I currently live in Wisconsin, and have used SBC for my voice since moving here in 1998, and DSL service since it's inception here in 2001. I get the slowest speed DSL service, as I am 11,000 feet from the nearest central office ( CO -- that brick building in your neighborhood with no windows with the phone company logo on it). This 11k foot distance has SBC all atwitter. I have called SBC 3 times and requested a speed upgrade on my DSL, but each time they tell me they cannot increase the speed, as I am more than 6,000 feet from the CO. I've told them that they will lose me as a customer if they cannot provide faster speeds. I've basically been told to pound sand (a telephone technical term meaning 'see ya').

So I've been considering moving to a cable modem. My hesitation to move to cable is -- well, it's Time Warner. I have used them for cable TV here in the past, and their customer service leaves a LOT to be desired. This poor service in the past has me hesitant to move to them as my ISP (Internet Service Provider). I just don't trust the jerks to give me good service.

AHAH! TDS Telecom (a Madison, WI-based telecom firm) offers DSL in my neighborhood. They lease the line from SBC, but they use a different set of equipment to send me the DSL (this piece of equipment is called a D-SLAM, or DSL Access Modem). TDS claims that they can give me up to 4MB per second speed (ok, that's tops -- let's figure between 2 and 3MB/S). It's a little more expensive, but, packaged with the telephone line, I'll come out ahead by $20 per month. This package requires DSL and a POTS line (Plain Ole Telephone Service = copper wire). If I then move my other two lines to VOIP, I'll end up with a total bill of about $150/month. I'm paying SBC/ATT/Mouse (get it?) $250/month, so I'll end up saving about a hundred bucks a month. Works for me.

This is all background for the actual blogging about the move process. More to follow.

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