Local or International – Save Money & Dump Atlantic Broadband Phone Service

February 27, 2012

Williams Island’s cable television and Internet provider, Atlantic Broadband, is also always trying to get you to use their phone service. The bait is the price – $19.95/month – but that is only for the first three months. After that, the price climbs to $34.95 to $49.95 per month – and international calling is charged by the minute. Recently, Atlantic Broadband sent you a mailer with a card in it that on one side tells you that they are raising prices for their phone service, too.

I have run into many people in our building that have “switched” to Atlantic Broadband phone service, and I decided to tell you that there is a less expensive, equal (or better) quality) alternative to Atlantic Broadband.

We use Vonage, and it is a service I have used in our apartment here in Florida for the last six years, and in our home in New Jersey for the past four years and have never had any problems. (We actually have three lines, one of which is a dedicated FAX line – more on that later).The following is from their web site — if I have your interest, read on:

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One of the things I like most is that you get all features at no extra cost (call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, voicemail – even voice mail messages that can be sent to your e-mail or cell phone – etc.) and at a much lower price. You can get unlimited calling, or lower the cost with plans that have 750 or 300 minutes per month. (Remember- those are OUTGOING minutes; incoming calls are unlimited; we have used the 750 plan and never gone over in six years).

The plain old telephone service (“POTS”) we used to know is slowly being replaced by a technology known as voice over Internet protocol, or VOIP.  Because it does not require the copper wires and massive switching stations, VOIP is considerably cheaper to operate, and because it uses the Internet “pipeline” it is faster and has more capacity.

Basically, your telephone calls are sent over the Internet instead of the telephone lines. And it doesn’t matter whether you are calling (or being called by) a regular POTS telephone, a cell phone, or another VOIP.

Please do not confuse this with the gadgets advertised on TV that tell you it costs only $20 a year with a device that plugs into your computer. Do they work? Yes. The problem is how they work. These “cheaper” devices do not have the hardware and software to prevent interference or conflicts between your VOIP service and your Internet service. And some require it to be hooked into your computer.

Atlantic Broadband’s Internet service uses a router to separate the cable signals from the internet signals. Most people rent them from Atlantic Broadband ($72/year); you can actually buy them for the same price, and they last 3-5 years.

One of the biggest advantages of VOIP is that you are not tied to any particular location – sort of. With Atlantic Broadband, they give you a new VOIP capable router (to rent from them) that also controls your Internet, so you can only use your service in your home or apartment where you have your Atlantic Broadband Internet router. Vonage uses an independent device – it does not require a computer – and plugs into any Internet connection wherever you go. So if you live in NYC and have Time Warner cable/Internet, you can plug your Vonage device into it and get all your telephone calls (and make them, too).

I know this is a lot to digest, so if you would like to talk about it a little more, drop me a line!

 

Arthur Shanker

Apt. #505