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Service Bundling creates problems

by Bill Osler / May 7, 2010 9:30 AM PDT

A lot of people can save money when they bundle phone, cable and Internet service. That's a good thing. Unfortunately that means all service comes through a single conduit. When the Internet goes out and the TV goes out ... will the phone still work?

Maybe not.

My Telco/ISP/IP Video provider has a piece of dying hardware in my neighborhood. Maybe the unseasonable warm temperatures got to it. I don't know. At any rate a chunk of my neighborhood went down. The cable won't work. The Internet speeds are much worse than dialup if a page will load at all (most won't) and the phone calls sound about like the old live radio messages from the Gemini or Apollo spacecraft. Barely intelligible.

Personally I still have WWW access via my cellular modem but most folks don't have that luxury. My cell phone sort of works if I stand close enough to a window (I'm actually surprised the cell modem works as well as it does since the phone signal is pretty flaky).

So how do most folks get tech support when it's bundled and the whole bundle goes south?

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Don't you remember back in the olden days
by Steven Haninger / May 7, 2010 9:40 AM PDT

when your land line (that's all there was) died you called for service from a neighbors phone?...or drove to a pay phone if the whole street was dead?

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Been there, done that ...
by Bill Osler / May 7, 2010 12:01 PM PDT

Back before I had a cell phone the neighbor's house was struck by lightning. I walked down the block in the rain and discovered the whole neighborhood lost phone service in the lightning strike.

I got back to the neighbor's house, thoroughly soaked, to report 'no luck' about the time he realized that he DID have a cell phone. Fortunately, it worked.

This evening our whole neighborhood was out. I don't remember the last time I saw a working pay phone. I could probably had made a call from a store down the road but thankfully it wasn't necessary.

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use cellphone
by James Denison / May 7, 2010 11:32 AM PDT

to call for fios or cable service. That's what we do. I have Verizon triple play right now.

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That's IF there is cell service ...
by Bill Osler / May 7, 2010 11:57 AM PDT
In reply to: use cellphone

I was lucky. The landline was just barely usable. The cell signal where I live is awful, almost unusable. And that's on a good day.

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My current personal question to that is
by Roger NC / May 7, 2010 10:04 PM PDT
In reply to: use cellphone

if you have cell service, or rather good cell service, in your house, why pay for the other phone service?

I keep asking myself the same thing. So far, the only reason I've got is so I don't have to give my cell phone number to work and anyone I do business with (cable company, mail ordering, doctor's, etc).

But I keep asking myself, do I really need to pay for landline and cell phone?

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Voice quality
by Steven Haninger / May 7, 2010 10:43 PM PDT

While there have been improvements, I still find that a good land based phone sounds far better than any cell phone that I know. This may be more important for business use than informal conversation. Perhaps it's purely a psychological thing but it seems that someone using a land line is saying "hey, I've got time to sit down and give you my full attention" but with a cell phone it's "hey, I'm squeezing you in while I'm walking around and multitasking".

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My cellphone
by James Denison / May 7, 2010 10:48 PM PDT

Is a tracfone. I pay $99 plus tax per year for it. That's all the minutes and service time I use. Bonus minutes and Double Minutes gets me about 1200 minutes and one year service time for that. I only use it when out on road. I turn it on then, otherwise it stays off to save battery power. So, although it's available for any emergency, in van or at home, it's rarely used much except on a trip. My landline has the same phone number for the past 23 years. It's set for 2 rings then the answer phone picks up. If a message is being left by someone I know, then I pick up, otherwise I listen to the message and don't answer most times. A phone is a nice thing to have, but don't let it become your master. If you find you're speaking to someone in front of you, whom you cut off to answer a phone, then you have become it's slave, and insult the person who is there. If I am speaking to one of my children, they are NOT allowed to answer the cellphone unless I tell them to go ahead. I'm there, the person on the phone is interrupting and can leave a message or send a text or wait for a call back. I have no great love for phones, they are a necessary utility at times.

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Why pay ... so you can get Internet?
by Bill Osler / May 8, 2010 5:48 AM PDT

I don't know about your service, but I'm not sure I could get reliable Internet if I didn't use my Telco's service and I think I have to have a landline to do that.

Of course it's moot for me. For Verizon (the only carrier with any meaningful coverage in my neighborhood) the only way I can sometimes get a decent cell signal is to step outside of my house. Even that is pretty iffy. It's one of the few down sides to living outside of the big city. Despite the rural location I actually have fairly reliable phone service, good broadband and adequate cable. I don't get ANY signal from ATT so I can't get an iPhone but that's no big deal.

Even at work I can't use the cell phone inside the office, though signal is pretty good outside. The lack of indoor signal is mostly a good thing because it means patients can't use their cell phones during their appointments. That's one less distraction. The screaming toddlers and crying babies they often bring along provide more than enough distractions for a lot of the patients. Why do patients bring unruly children along when they come for a physical? One of life's little mysteries.

One of my patients described the interior of my office as a Faraday Cage. That's not quite accurate (we can get some strong radio stations) but it's close enough.

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Opps, my bad
by Roger NC / May 8, 2010 12:05 PM PDT

Sorry Bill, forgot probably more are on telco DSL lines than are on cable. So far, cable seems to be the best IP around here.

I should have mentioned I use cable and not telco DSL or satellite for tv and internet when I posted that.

Actually, the strange thing is, overall I have less trouble with the internet side than the TV side here.

Anyway, there isn't a lot of good signal around here for anyone but US Cellular. At least, not that I've heard anyone say. And they're not great for data phones I don't think. I don't use a phone for anything but a phone. When my wife was getting car oil changed, she was talking to the lady at the US Cellular service desk, or more accurately, the lady was trying to sell her a new plan and new phone. The sales/service person called our phones dinosaurs. They don't even take pictures if you can believe that. But they work, and I'm not locked into a contract.

I'll sign another contract when one of these phones quit, and probably not before then. Good side is, we get excellent reception in the house and I get about as fair as I can expect in an industrial setting at work.


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