Taking the Plunge with VoIP

The local cable company made an offer that outweighs the risk.


I finally flipped the switch. After years of toying with phone calls over the Internet, I've cut off Ma Bell and now get my service from the new kid on the block. The cable company. All right, not the newest kid in the neighborhood, but new to phone service.

I'm no early adopter here. Millions have already made the switch.

But my home phone is my office phone, so I've held back despite my enthusiasm for what's called VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol. I've tried VoIP from startups like Vonage and Packet8, and the service was good, even if the quality was occasionally suspect. Calls would drop, not often but more often than with traditional Ma Bell service. Or I'd hear static or echoes.

More than anything, though, I worried about getting my phone number caught in a startup's failure. I've a colleague who lost control of his number for some days after Sun Rocket went belly up.

The local cable company ain't going anywhere soon, even though it's the struggling Charter Communications. But at $30 or $40 a month, cable has wanted too much to make the switch worth it. And Charter finally made an offer too cheap to resist: $15 a month for voice service with all the bells and domestic long distance. That's compared with the $45 a month I've paid AT&T.

Besides, I recently convinced my sister and dad in Florida to try cable phone service. Time for me to do the same.

I'll let you know my experience. Meanwhile, let us know yours in the comments below.