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.