Monday, August 25, 2008

Now I Know Why Home Phone Service Is Dying

I would say it nickel-and-dimes the customer to death, but it actually ten-dollar-bills us.


After decades of being in the dark ages, I decided to buy a cordless phone and order caller ID. The last cordless I had was such a disaster that I threw it away after less than a month of use. But since most people I know successfully use cordless phones, and because I was weary of not knowing who is calling (and therefore I would just not answer), and because my daughter is probably weary of having to ring 20 times before I will answer, I bought the phone yesterday and set out to order caller ID today.

It cost ten dollars. Ten dollars! Caller ID comes free with cell phones. For another 52 cents, I could "bundle" call waiting ID and so I did, but now it occurs to me that I don't have call waiting on my home phone. I'm so used to having it on my cell phone that I take it for granted -- something that comes with the service. Geez. I guess I need to go back in and change my order again.

I feel so used.

I'd give up the land line, but I want to limit the number of people to whom I give the cell number. As in, no business contacts. As in, not facilitate junk calls to my cell phone.

But this, this is a heck of a price to pay for "convenience." One hundred twenty dollars per year.

The worst part is that I hardly ever use either phone.


kkryno said...

Just one more finger in our pocket.
Whatever it takes to wrestles another dollar by using new and creative ways to steal us blind. Like charging troops for their gear that they have to have. I wonder what bean-counter came up with that little gem.

AMorris said...

Ahhh, this takes me back to the '96 telecommunications act....(hint: it wasn't signed with a cigar)

They (all the Bell splinters) started getting tax breaks that were supposed to be going for infrastructure development, but it was really added to the new "fees and taxes" on your bill and was/is going toward golden parachutes. Sure, there were some new fiber rollouts in the late 90s, but that was because everyone in the newly deregulated industry was making money. Now land line service is a drain because they have to pay folks to maintain it.

If you're running land line stuff, there's lines to be maintained and fixed. All of those pedestals (little 2' tall square green towers along the street) are out there in the neighborhoods just waiting to get backed over by an SUV.

If you're running cell towers, the only time you're interrupted or have to fix anything is when some wanker cuts a fiber or DS3 line to the tower with a backhoe. So, they make their money on cellular and all of the worthless addons, then try to absorb as much of their losses as they can in the land line/long distance services.

Bitty said...

amorris, you've impressed me and depressed me all at once.

Funniest line I've heard all week (ok, so it is Monday): "All of those pedestals (little 2' tall square green towers along the street) are out there in the neighborhoods just waiting to get backed over by an SUV."

Snort, snort, snort!!!

It sounds like it would make sense infrastructure-wise for all the telecoms to go 100% wireless. I'm sure you'll set me straight if I'm wrong about that.

I'm seriously rethinking this land line thing.

kkryno said...

You know; everytime it rains heavily or we have a slight thaw, we have alot of trouble with our internet. I don't know if this is helpful for you where you live, but it's a pattern I've been noticing, since I have not much else going on. :)

AMorris said...

B, I'm glad that you got a chuckle out of it, but I hope you aren't too depressed. I don't think that they can pull the landlines since they've been paid for for a long time and are basically public infrastructure now. I think that they'd probably love to go wireless, but they're stuck.

K, you've either got water in the overhead lines, or the lines that run by the street. I don't know how they can fix that either.

When I worked for Golden Parachute Esrey and those nameless "pin-drop" bastards, there was a service that ran high frequency digital stuff out to the houses. Well, it was great stuff with up to 8meg of download speed, but it ran on old neighborhood wires and when it rained, it would sometimes shut down our service. It was a problem then because it shut down e911 services too. Ohhh...that hits folks in the pocketbooks.