Friday, November 23, 2007
Many people are getting tired of having to pay the prices that the traditional telephone companies are charging these days for even the most basic of services. This has led a lot of people to give up their land based phone lines altogether in favor of just relying on their mobile phones or making calls over the Internet by taking advantage of some VoIP service or another. That's fine for anyone who has a mobile phone and live alone or someone who's fairly computer savvy and doesn't mind the possibility of not having 911 options. But most of us still need to have a land line at home, so how do we fight the phone companies?
The answer lies in a surprising place: you cable TV company. These days cable TV companies in general, and Comcast in particular, are offering phone services that are significantly better than those that are offered by the traditional phone companies! Naturally, a phone line is a phone line and you can only get so much quality out of a phone line in terms of sound, but Comcast and its peers are offering far better deals than the traditional phone companies for equivalent services.
For the cost of a basic calling plan from a traditional phone company, it's now possible to get a full featured calling plan from Comcast. The basic calling plan from the traditional phone company is just a phone line. This means no extra call management tools like Call Waiting, Caller ID, Call Forwarding, or Voice Mail. It means having to either use a phone card for long distance or pay the absolute maximum rate on long distance calls. It also means having to pay way too much for all of the aforementioned options.
A calling plan from a company like Comcast is an interesting study in contrasts to the basic calling plan from a traditional phone company. For roughly the same cost as the traditional phone company's basic plan, Comcast will give you Caller ID, Call Forwarding, Voice Mail, and Call Waiting. Perhaps even more importantly, you'll get the ultimate long distance play: all of the calls that you make to numbers in the United States, as well as Canada, will be covered under the cost of your plan. That means that you can call as often as you want and talk as long as you want, and as long that your calls are within North America, you won't have to pay a cent more than your normal flat rate.
The call management features that Comcast includes in its basic calling plan provides a lot of different options for controlling who you talk to and who you don't talk to. Call ID is probably the best for this because it will provide information about whoever it calling you. This information will generally include the name and phone number of the person calling. That way, if you don't recognize the name, the number, or either, you can simply not pick up the phone. Having Voice Mail is a great compliment to Caller ID, because you can just let the Voice Mail system take messages from anyone calling who you're unsure about. This is just a small example of the added convenience and security that such call management features can offer.
With the deals that Comcast offers on its phone service, you can see how a cable TV company really can provide a viable alternative to the phone company.