[PLUG-TALK] TelCo bills

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Tue Apr 30 18:18:58 PDT 2019

"Rich" == Rich Shepard <rshepard at appl-ecosys.com> writes:
> Rich> My landline/internet service is provided by Frontier Comm. and the
> Rich> bills increase every month. The customer service rep checked my
> Rich> statements from last September and said the only increases are in
> Rich> the various fees and taxes added by everyone from municipalities
> Rich> to the federal government.

I've been using ooma.com VOIP for 16 months now.  I pay
around $100 per year for two line service (we only use
one so far) with free long distance and good phonespam
filtering.  Some federal fees, another $50/year or so.
No state fees - we are "in the cloud".

We switched from Frontier after we moved my wife's 
Comcast Business line from her office in NW Portland to
our home in Beaverton.  Her fax line moved with the
cable modem; we haven't tried using the fax on Ooma yet,
but other users on Ooma's forums have had no problems.

Besides low cost, the main thing we get out of Ooma is
fine-grained spam call control; every incoming number
that isn't whitelisted goes to our Ooma voice mailbox.
We whitelist the numbers we want to ring next time,
about 200 so far.


The major remaining annoyance is federal rules; in order
for corporations to outsource their phone pool to India,
the feds allow them to fake their caller I.D. so that
naive customers believe that Bhavana in Bangalore is an
American, Betty in Boston.  The real Betty in Boston is
unemployed, angry, and votes for presidents I dislike.

The phone spammers use the same "feature" to assign any
Caller ID that they want.  They often assign a fake number
with the same prefix as mine.  Which means that other
customers in 503-520-xxxx sometimes randomly get spam
with my caller ID, and leave angry messages on our
Ooma voice mailbox.

When the spammers fraudulently use my 971-570-xxxx cell
number (without whitelist filtering), and I forget to
turn off the cell phone ringer, I get angry calls from
other 971-570-xxx customers in the middle of the night.

If Ooma ever offers a concierge route-through-to-cell
service with whitelisting, I'll switch our cell numbers
over to that as well.  Not being able to filter phonespam
was a big reason for leaving Frontier; the other was their
"boil the frog slowly" pricing model and the one hour wait
for customer service.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com

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