Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Keeping our Phone Numbers, but Lowering Bills: Moving Musing #4

New technology proliferated in our old home, clumsily grafted onto older systems. That is how we wound up with 3 land lines, 2 cell phones, a fax, hardwired internet, and cable. Seemed like there had to be a way to cut down on all those duplicative services and bills. We didn't care about the land lines themselves, but did care about the phone numbers, since we each use them for business and didn't want to be getting each other's calls or notifying a gazillion people about new numbers. Moving required us to pay attention and redesign our communications systems.

We were able to add a second digital phone line onto to our Comcast, so we get one bill for cable, internet, and phone. The second line is about $15 a month, includes long distance, and I was able to hook up my antique phone/fax/answering machine to it. Works great. This was about half the price of our dedicated landline and long distance service. We were able to port the old phone number, so the change was seamless. Comcast doesn't let you add a third line without bumping you up to Business and doubling the price. (Don't get me started on Comcast!)
Enter Ooma. Ooma is not a movie star, but rather a technology which mysteriously connects your internet to your landline phone wiring and provides you with VOIP (voice over internet protocol) phone service. If you prefer old receiver phones to cells, this technology is for you. It took about an hour of an electrician's time to set it up, and did require a few calls with guys in India to work out kinks, but it's working perfectly. The system costs around $199, plus a $40 charge to port your phone number. Here's the magic: after you pay those charges, you essentially own your phone number and never pay a monthly bill again. Pays for itself in about 6 months.


Gayle Herbert Robinson said...

That sounds great, but I'm curious what was electrician's cost to set it up? Great Blog!

Anonymous said...

They claim Oooma gives better sound quality than Skype. Do you concur?