VOIPing it with Comcast
Last Thursday, the installers arrived and we’re now customers of Comcast Digital Voice service. Basically the service runs over your existing cable system for phone service. At first I was skeptical, hearing the many stories about features that were missing from VOIP services (e.g. E-911 service). Despite the fact that three of our neighbors are RNs, and the Eastside Fire Chief lives two doors down, there’s a certain peace of mind that comes with this. The good news is that this doesn’t appear to be an issue anymore and with nationwide long-distance, the cost is nearly the same as our local POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) provider for just local calls. Here’s a quick rundown of the good and bad in my opinion.
- Good (not great) voice quality. The average person probably wouldn’t notice any difference.
- E911 service including address reporting
- Battery Backup (in case the power goes out)
- Voice mail support for phone and Web (secured). You can even download as excel spreadsheets all incoming, missed, and outgoing calls.
- Security system integration
- No service contract
- No apparent drop in download speeds (for upload see below)
- One bill for cable and phone
What could be better/Suggestions
- E911 doesn’t work during extended outages over several hours; resiliency is a concern often noted regarding network congestion etc.
- My upload speed appears to have gone from close to 384 to 284, unsure if it’s related.
- Takes up to 10 days before new customers will start seeing incoming/outgoing calls on the Web system.
- Visual notification when voicemail is waiting & Caller ID. Some sort of auxiliary display would be nice (Sideshow anyone?)
- Windows Live Messenger bot. I want an agent that notifies me when a call comes in.
- Online personal phone book
- Phone integration (something like this new Philips Windows Live Messenger-enabled phone)
I’ll report back after a few weeks of living with the service.