Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Skype Only Home

Seven years ago when we bought and remodeled a home in the Berkeley hills we had to strip every wire connecting our structure to the world -- power, telephone, and cable. We had to pay the power company and the phone company to come by and do the disconnect, but not Comcast. When I asked the Comcast technician how much it would cost for the disconnect he said, "oh, disconnecting is free -- we soak you when you are ready to reconnect!" And with a smile he was off.

I smiled too at the time because we don't have or want television in our home and we were perfectly happy getting our Internet connection from the phone company. So I had no intention of every calling Comcast again. But a few weekends ago a truck coming up our street hit our telephone line and ripped it out of the house. After calling AT&T and finding out that it would be a few days before they could send a crew out to reconnect we decided to call Comcast and ask how fast they could come out. Both companies said they would send technicians in three days (the Comcast truck would come the day after AT&T came) so we decided to go ahead and have them both come out and connect.

And boy are we glad! AT&T still hasn't sent a crew to reconnect our house!! So for the past few weeks we have been using Comcast for our Internet connection and we've been using Skype for our phone. We just bought a WiFi Skype phone and it is terrific. This week we called AT&T and cancelled our account.

Yes we know about the 911 issue. But if AT&T can't (or won't) connect our house, what are we supposed to do? And anyway I think I'd rather have Skype getting our money than AT&T. It was quite eye opening to see how much cheaper it is once you also consider free voice mail, free caller ID, cheaper International calls... nope, we don't miss AT&T at all.


David Spark said...

Ted, did you think about going with any other service than Skype? Like maybe Vonage? Have you created a US based Skype number so you can get incoming calls from general PSTN phones?

I've always thought about taking the leap and dumping my landline phone, but it still is superior to my mobile phone. I have the Comcast triple play and I am happy with it. Cable is MUCH faster than DSL when I was with AT&T.

I use Skype for all calls out of North America. Wondering how much of a hit I would take if I completely dumped the landline phone. Please make updates on the experience and let us know how it goes.

Ted said...

Yes we have an incoming PSTN line on Skype so you can call us at home, and voice mail and caller ID, etc. It works great! Have had Vonage in the past and I don't like them. The other nice thing about Skype with me overseas so much is that I just call Skype-to-skype for free no matter where I am to our home phone.

Jim Hirshfield said...

You can use your cell phone for 911, right?

Now that cable comes into the house, how long til the girls figure out how to plug a TV into it?

Ted said...

Jim: The girls are happy watching their TV programs on their laptops -- which is great. I much prefer a medium in which you chose what to watch next rather than sit in front of a tube waiting for the next thing to be showered on you.