When I moved into my current office a while back, it came with shared Internet and no phone. So, I got myself a Vonage account and, with that and my cellphone, I thought I’d be OK. Wrong.
The problem is that the Internet connection isn’t that reliable. The throughput is good, the latency is good, it just for some reason checks out briefly a few times a day. This doesn’t make Vonage happy if there’s a call in progress. Since my main telephone usage is big long conference calls, I was suffering real pain. I switched those to my cellphone, but my monthly bill veered ino brutal and stayed there.
So I gave up and called up the local telco and ordered what we used to call POTS—Plain Old Telephone Service. It’s like $30/month.
They said it’d be installed on a certain Monday but I didn’t hear anything and I assumed they’d get around to it. A couple of weeks later, I got a bill. So I called and complained and they said “but we switched the circuit on at head office, you should be fine.” But I didn’t see any jacks in the room, so I had them send a guy, they warned me there’d be a charge.
My office is on a main street called Main Street in a building that is old and wasn’t much to speak of when it was new. It’s over a clothing boutique and a café. The telco guy showed up on schedule and spent a couple hours tracing antique cabling around dusty crawlspaces right over the bakery’s main oven. I felt really sorry for him but he maintained his good cheer.
Eventually he declared victory and said “That installation charge? Forget it, I think I just fixed up eight severe safety-code violations.”
So now I have an old-fashioned land-line. Wow! The voices are so clear, and there’s only static when I’m talking to someone on a cellphone or Vonage or Skype or something, and it never goes down.
I had the cutest little postmodern cordless Panasonic phone plugged into Vonage, but its battery life was unsatisfactory, so I went to Office Depot and bought this big streamlined plastic phone allegedly made by someone called “AT&T”, I wonder what that could stand for? And the handset is connectd by this thing called a “wire”, remember those?
It’s got a superb speakerphone, and works great with my Plantronics headset, and great big keys that you just can’t miss, and my stress level around teleconferences has gone to zero.
Telephonically, I’m in 1985, and it feels just fine.