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Rogers Home Phone now in Milton

If you’re anything like me, you hate the fact that you have to live with Bell Canada for local phone service.  Several years ago, Sprint Canada launched one of the only competitive local phone services in Ontario but it was only available in select markets.  Those who could get access to the competitive service liked it, those who could not just begrudgingly paid out the local phone service bill every month to Bell.
Then came along VoIP, which is already shaking up the market enough that local phone service is suddenly becoming competitive again which is good news for consumers.  The information that’s been for the most part kept from people who I know is that VoIP service just isn’t quite on par yet with the traditional service that you’re accustomed to.  Sure it’s cheaper, but comes at a cost that is too high for me:

  1. The quality isn’t always there, and moreso than traditional landline service VoIP calls are succeptible to interference and traffic out on the wild, wild internet.  It’s gotten much better in the last two years and I have zero quality complaints about my home office line provided by Vonage.  But beware, it’s not always great.
  2. 911 service doesn’t always work as you’d expect it to.  Now again, this has improved a ton in the last few years but until someone can prove to me that 911 will work 100% of the time and in the worst of conditions, it’s not good enough for my family.  The babysitter must be able to pick up any phone in the house, dial 911, and have an ambulance arrive within 3 minutes (the ambulance garage is just a couple blocks away).
  3. Doesn’t always work in a power outage.  There are lots of failure points between your phone and the ultimate destination, and many internet networks were not designed to provide 100% uptime like the phone networks were.  For VoIP to work well, you need to have lots of battery backup in your home, the cable company needs to have battery backup out on the major street posts and in their headends, and battery backup where they plug in to the traditional phone network.  That’s not always there.
  4. Uptime mentality amongst the technicians isn’t always there.  I personally think that my cable company is one of the best in North America, but still the cable goes out too often (one outage every three months is too much in my world).  When I call in to see what’s up, it’s usually “we’re performing maintenance in your area” or something like that.  In the old world where you were only missing out on daytime soaps that was acceptable, but now that it’s your phone service that is unacceptable.
  5. Regardless of how much VoIP companies try to improve on their own, I quite simply won’t have faith in their systems unless they fall under the same strict guidelines as the Bell Canada landline services from the CRTC which mandates very strict uptime, quick repair tunraround, and massive fines if those targets are missed.  Once again I’ll state that my cable company Cogeco is the most likely to provide a fantastic VoIP service and they have started offering one in this area that does everything I’ve asked for.  But, until they can prove to me that they’ve ditched their old ways of “cable’s out for the afternoon, deal with it” I’m not buying.

So let’s return back to where this rant started; the Bell Canada versus Sprint Canada competition that started out many years ago before anyone even knew what a voip was.  Sprint Canada continued to very slowly build out its copper network, and was last year acquired by Rogers Communications.  Just today I got a flyer in the mail announcing that Rogers Home Phone service is now available in my area.  Interesting…  I called in to verify that this was indeed the copper-based sprint canada service and not some new voip offering and they confirmed for me that yes, this is the traditional landline service I’ve been waiting for with all the CRTC regulated goodness that comes with it.  Quick price check, and it would appear that the pricing is similar for the basic service but there is a fantastic promotion going on right now that’ll get me unlimited North American long distance free for a year.  That immediately makes this service about $20 a month less – sign me up!

Categories: Front Page
  1. Nick
    August 14, 2006 at 7:59 pm

    Let me know how it works out — i’ve been contemplating it, but didn’t want the unreliability of voip or cable phone service. I want my 24/7 5(9s) kind of uptime.

  2. Nick
    September 9, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    So…. I buckled and got it… however, it’s a closed network voip system. Perhaps for you it’s copper, but for me it’s not. Although the staff to whom I talked didn’t know that, it took actually talking to the technician (who was very good) to have him say almost immediately “of course it’s voip”.

    So far, it’s very good – no quality issues. Battery back up, we’ll have to see how good that is for SLAs.

    My notes on the experience

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