VoIP - Sometimes Not An Easy Choice

by: FullService Broadband Provider

Previously I wrote that VoIP was a good choice. If naked DSL or DSL without phone service is not an option for you, then VoIP can still be a good choice for your second or even third phone line. It sure comes in handy for your teenage children not to mention a home office. I recently sold service to a gentleman who wanted VoIP specifically for the ability to have a virtual number. His daughter recently went off to college in another state. He purchased VoIP service and signed up for a virtual number. He got a virtual number in the same area code that his daughter was in. This allows his daughter to call him at local charges vs. the long distance charges she would normally have to pay. Kudos’ to him for making his decision. Just another great benefit VoIP has to offer.

This weekend I was speaking with a friend of mine who recently purchased a home computer. He knew about my business and wanted to know his options for internet access. He also knows that I'm not just a big fan of VoIP but that I myself use it. His primary objective was internet access, secondary objective was VoIP. Here's where the choices, for him, weren't so straightforward.

First off, his current phone provider is the local cable company. He doesn't use cable TV, rather he uses satellite TV. This current scenario meets his needs. He's a huge sports fan and not about to give up his satellite TV because of the sports packages. Do you know anyone else in this type of situation? I told him that 'normal' DSL is out of the question. Our local RBOC won't allow DSL access without phone service. What about naked DSL? Yes, my company has recently signed up a couple providers offering naked DSL, but the price is a bit higher. About the same as cable internet access would cost when you don't have cable TV service. In both cases, naked DSL and cable access, the monthly fee was more than he's willing to pay.

Well then, that was our dilemma. His existing setup won’t allow for either DSL or Cable without him spending more than he wants per month. A switch to cable TV service with cable broadband access won't work for him either. He just doesn't want to give up the satellite TV sports package. So what to do?

His options, as it were, are limited. I asked about his phone habits. How many local and long distance minutes do him and his family use? His child is fairly young and his wife’s family lives in the area, so long distance minutes don't come into the picture. That leaves local calling. I have a bundled service I could offer him, but guess what, YEP, the RBOC 'will' allow a competitor to offer local service BUT the RBOC will 'not' allow that competitor to offer DSL.

He was trying to avoid the local RBOC, which is why he switched to cable phone service a few years back. Now, although he does have choices, the only thing to meet his budget is to cancel cable phone service and go back with the RBOC. Once phone service is active, then I can get him DSL access. DSL access from the local RBOC’s is really dropping in price so he can get his first 6 months at a very reasonable price. Even after that 6-month period, the rate is reasonable as well. This solves his primary objective to get high-speed internet access but doesn't solve his secondary objective to get VoIP. He has no use for a second phone line so that's not an option.

Since the FCC has mandated that RBOC's need to offer naked DSL in roughly 3 years time, that's actually going to work for him. After that 3-year timeframe his young child will be in high school. He'll have more choices in just a few years. So, for this case, he doesn't get everything he wants at the budget he can afford. Rather he solves his primary objective of internet access for now and will go for VoIP once the prices of naked DSL come down.

Although this is doable, it's really a shame. It may be rare and it was the first time I've personally run across this type of situation. Phone from cable, TV from satellite works great for him, but because the phone companies and cable companies don't play well, he looses. I will show him how to make his long distance calls from his computer, but for VoIP as a primary phone service, he’ll need to wait. Sometimes the decision to use VoIP is not such an easy choice. (For now)