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Direct dial long distance [Telecom]

Howdy:

I hope this post is appropriate for this group. If not, would
appreciate your redirecting me.

I'm helping out my 80-something mom in Massachusetts (Arlington --
suburban Boston) with her phone service. Actually, my aim is to get a
DSL line installed in her condo, send her a netbook, and have someone
there set it up so that we can Skype each other. She's never used a
computer and I don't expect her to use Skype for ordinary long-
distance calls -- only on the specific occasions that she and I
connect.

I'm searching for the least expensive options for her land line phone
service, long distance and Internet service. Verizon appears to be the
main man in her area. They have a number of package deal combinations,
but I'd like to see whether it makes sense to "un-bundle" the various
services she needs.

Here's my question:  in the past, when I lived in the DC area, Verizon
(and formerly Bell Atlantic) allowed you to select your long distance
provider, and to have that company carry all of your long distance
calls automatically when you dialed a long distance number from your
home phone. The carrier's portion of the bill appeared on your monthly
statement. For example, I could choose to have AT&T as my long
distance provider, and pay their rates rather than Verizon's. I sent
one check to Verizon, and they in turn paid AT&T for their charges.

For a long time now I've been using dial-around services for my long
distance (actually, I'm now using a MagicJack with acceptable
results), but for my mom, it's a bit too much to have her dial an
access number. In searching for rate comparisons for long distance
providers, I've not found very much. AT&T listed a rate of $2.99/month
plus 10 cents/min.
(http://www.shop.att.com/offer.jsp?
service=ld&offer=shop_or_nw_direct&portal=shopatt)

Does anyone know:  (a) is it still possible to have separate long-
distance and local/regional carriers as before  (b) what companies
provide such service  (c) is there a place where the fees/rates are
published so I can compare them?

thanks
Al
Fairfield, Iowa, USA

0
gzmwest (1)
11/30/2009 7:48:56 PM
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On Nov 30, 2:48�pm, gzm <gzmw...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> I'm helping out my 80-something mom in Massachusetts (Arlington --
> suburban Boston) with her phone service. Actually, my aim is to get
> a DSL line installed in her condo, send her a netbook, and have
> someone there set it up so that we can Skype each other. She's never
> used a computer and I don't expect her to use Skype for ordinary
> long- distance calls -- only on the specific occasions that she and
> I connect.

First, each region has its own telephone rates and offerings, even by
national companies.

Second, my own experience in teaching computer use to a person that
age who has never used a computer is hard.  It's not easy getting
someone used to 'typewriter mode' to think in terms of 'computer
mode'.  (Of course, each person is different, plenty of elderly people
are heavy users.)

Where I am, Verizon (our landline carrier) offers a national long
distance package with local service.  With that, your mother can call
you as much as she wants and talk as long as she wants; as well as any
other of her friends and family anywhere in the country at anytime.
You get one bill and no worries.  Our family found that an attractive
option.  Note that that includes all local and regional calling as
well.  I don't know what the cost would be for her.

I suggest this over a computer because getting DSL, buying a notebook,
installing it, etc., will be costly and might not even work out that
well.

Hope this helps.

0
hancock4
12/3/2009 3:35:02 AM
On Mon, 30 Nov 2009 14:48:56 -0500, gzm <gzmwest@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Howdy:
>
> I hope this post is appropriate for this group. If not, would
> appreciate your redirecting me.
>
> I'm helping out my 80-something mom in Massachusetts (Arlington --
> suburban Boston) with her phone service. Actually, my aim is to get a
> DSL line installed in her condo, send her a netbook, and have someone
> there set it up so that we can Skype each other. She's never used a
> computer and I don't expect her to use Skype for ordinary long-
> distance calls -- only on the specific occasions that she and I
> connect.
>
> I'm searching for the least expensive options for her land line phone
> service, long distance and Internet service. Verizon appears to be the
> main man in her area. They have a number of package deal combinations,
> but I'd like to see whether it makes sense to "un-bundle" the various
> services she needs.

I agree that dialing access numbers for dial-around services
is a pain, so why not just give your mom a magicJack? Is the
idea of her having the netbook on 24/7 the deal-breaker?
Skype, though, would require that, too, no?

Why not use a "subsistence" land line with "basic" DSL, if
that's available -- or even just "dry" DSL? That magicJack
and an old 500 desk-set should be just great together ... .

Cheers, -- tlvp
--
Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP

0
tlvp
12/3/2009 3:44:48 AM
On 12/2/2009 7:44 PM, tlvp wrote:
> On Mon, 30 Nov 2009 14:48:56 -0500, gzm <gzmwest@yahoo.com> wrote:
> 
>> [...]
>> I'm helping out my 80-something mom in Massachusetts (Arlington --
>> suburban Boston) with her phone service. Actually, my aim is to get a
>> DSL line installed in her condo, send her a netbook, and have someone
>> there set it up so that we can Skype each other. She's never used a
>> computer and I don't expect her to use Skype for ordinary long-
>> distance calls -- only on the specific occasions that she and I
>> connect.
>>
>> I'm searching for the least expensive options for her land line phone
>> service, long distance and Internet service. Verizon appears to be the
>> main man in her area. They have a number of package deal combinations,
>> but I'd like to see whether it makes sense to "un-bundle" the various
>> services she needs.
> 
> I agree that dialing access numbers for dial-around services
> is a pain, so why not just give your mom a magicJack? Is the
> idea of her having the netbook on 24/7 the deal-breaker?
> Skype, though, would require that, too, no?
> 
> Why not use a "subsistence" land line with "basic" DSL, if
> that's available -- or even just "dry" DSL? That magicJack
> and an old 500 desk-set should be just great together ... .

Perhaps much, much better, less confusing, and cheaper: Ooma.

http://www.ooma.com/

Apparently available from Costco, too. Just the one-time cost with
free calls forever as we were discussing here this past Summer.

0
Thad
12/3/2009 4:49:26 AM
hancock4@bbs.cpcn.com wrote:

>Second, my own experience in teaching computer use to a person that
>age who has never used a computer is hard.  It's not easy getting
>someone used to 'typewriter mode' to think in terms of 'computer
>mode'.  (Of course, each person is different, plenty of elderly people
>are heavy users.)

I think this is why those services that plug a standard phone into a router 
are becoming popular.  Seems like someone would have come up with a 
"picturephone" of a similar fashion by now.  I wonder if they have...

0
sfdavidkaye2
12/3/2009 1:24:05 PM
On Wed, 02 Dec 2009 23:49:26 -0500, Thad Floryan <thad@thadlabs.com> wrote:

> On 12/2/2009 7:44 PM, tlvp wrote:
>> On Mon, 30 Nov 2009 14:48:56 -0500, gzm <gzmwest@yahoo.com> wrote:
>>
>>> [...]
>>> I'm helping out my 80-something mom in Massachusetts (Arlington --
>>> suburban Boston) with her phone service. Actually, my aim is to get a
>>> DSL line installed in her condo, send her a netbook, and have someone
>>> there set it up so that we can Skype each other. She's never used a
>>> computer and I don't expect her to use Skype for ordinary long-
>>> distance calls -- only on the specific occasions that she and I
>>> connect.
>>>
>>> I'm searching for the least expensive options for her land line phone
>>> service, long distance and Internet service. Verizon appears to be the
>>> main man in her area. They have a number of package deal combinations,
>>> but I'd like to see whether it makes sense to "un-bundle" the various
>>> services she needs.
>>
>> I agree that dialing access numbers for dial-around services
>> is a pain, so why not just give your mom a magicJack? Is the
>> idea of her having the netbook on 24/7 the deal-breaker?
>> Skype, though, would require that, too, no?
>>
>> Why not use a "subsistence" land line with "basic" DSL, if
>> that's available -- or even just "dry" DSL? That magicJack
>> and an old 500 desk-set should be just great together ... .
>
> Perhaps much, much better, less confusing, and cheaper: Ooma.
>
> http://www.ooma.com/
>
> Apparently available from Costco, too. Just the one-time cost with
> free calls forever as we were discussing here this past Summer.

Whoops! Forgot about that. Perhaps wiped out by my having combined a
"that-week-only" 10%-off coupon with a $30.- ink-jet-recycling reward
voucher to get a $40.- MagicJack for 6 bucks (plus tax) at Staples a
couple of months ago, as a cheap experiment at a year's worth of
unlimited +1 country calls from anywhere.

Actually, MagicJack doesn't work all that well over lowest-speed aDSL,
like mine -- I get (variably) 35-65 KB/sec on my nominal 768 Kb
service, and MagicJack stutters, in both directions (probably worse
for my listeners than for me).

Might work perceptibly better over a higher speed connection, but... .  
I doubt Ooma's equipment would change that picture much. Or?

Cheers, -- tlvp
--
Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP

0
tlvp
12/5/2009 9:19:55 AM
Mon, 30 Nov 2009 11:48:56 -0800 (PST) gzm <gzmwest@yahoo.com> wrote:

[little snip]

> I'm searching for the least expensive options for her land line phone
> service, long distance and Internet service. Verizon appears to be
> the main man in her area. They have a number of package deal
> combinations, but I'd like to see whether it makes sense to
> "un-bundle" the various services she needs.

This solution isn't entirely "direct dial", but it sort of is.  If you
use the services of One Suite <http://www.onesuite.com> you can make
calls to the US, Canada and most of Europe for 2.5 cents/minute.
Procedure is you dial a local number.  It answers and you simply dial
the end number.  It's "PINless" so you don't have to enter account
codes.  It's a "prepaid" service so you can buy calls in blocks of
$10, $20 or more.


      

0
Joseph
12/5/2009 7:00:57 PM
On Sat, 05 Dec 2009 14:00:57 -0500, Joseph Singer <joeofseattle@yahoo.com>
wrote:

> Mon, 30 Nov 2009 11:48:56 -0800 (PST) gzm <gzmwest@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> [not so little snip]
>
> ... If you use the services of One Suite <http://www.onesuite.com>
> you can make calls to the US, Canada and most of Europe for 2.5
> cents/minute.  Procedure is you dial a local number.  It answers and
> you simply dial the end number.  It's "PINless" so you don't have to
> enter account codes.  It's a "prepaid" service so you can buy calls
> in blocks of $10, $20 or more.

Thanks, Joseph, for this pointer to an interesting competitor to
the IDT dial-around service I use for international calling and
international access, and to the MagicJack.

Alas, no matter how hard I search on their web site, I find no mention
of their outbound tariffs to Poland, or roaming tariffs from Poland.

Could it be that Poland is not one of the countries they serve?
Or have I just been looking in all the wrong places?

TIA, and cheers, -- tlvp
--
Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP

0
tlvp
12/5/2009 10:33:17 PM
>> ... If you use the services of One Suite <http://www.onesuite.com>

> Thanks, Joseph, for this pointer to an interesting competitor to
> the IDT dial-around service I use for international calling and
> international access, and to the MagicJack.
>
> Alas, no matter how hard I search on their web site, I find no mention
> of their outbound tariffs to Poland, or roaming tariffs from Poland.

Odd, I clicked the RATES tab on the home page, picked Poland from the
Destination Country list, and in a few moments it told me that the
local origination dial-around and VoIP rates are both 4.5cpm to
land-lines, 29cpm to mobile.  That's pretty good for local origination
dial-around, good but not great for VoIP.  800 origination dial-around
is 9.5 and 34cpm, OK for 800 origination but you can do better.

R's,
John

0
John
12/6/2009 1:55:36 AM
> Actually, MagicJack doesn't work all that well over lowest-speed
> aDSL, like mine -- I get (variably) 35-65 KB/sec on my nominal 768
> Kb service, and MagicJack stutters, in both directions (probably
> worse for my listeners than for me).

I'd like to understand these problems better.

As I've posted before, I now use VOIP for a number of functions within
my network.  I am happy with the performance.

I have DSL which was recently upgraded from 768k/128k to 1M/384k.
I've tested several external VOIP connections including IPKall,
IPcomms, and sipgate DID; Gizmo via Google Voice; and a localish VOIP
dialout.  I've tried using my public IP addresses via a tunnel and
also running directly through the DSL's NAT box with IAX.  In all
cases I sometimes get incoming dropouts which I think correspond to
the stutters you mention.

My end points show a lot of silence fill which suggests packet loss or
perhaps reordering outside the jitter buffer limit.  (The IAX
connection was completely unusable until I forced Asterisk's local
jitter buffer on.  That made things comparable to the other
connections.)  I went so far as to write programs to simulate the
packet size and rate of a typical VOIP session and look for dropped or
re-ordered packets.  I found nothing, again regardless of whether I
went through a tunnel or direct.

One possibility is that the problems are topologically farther away
than where I ran my test programs (and definitely not related to my
DSL connection), but this seems odd.  A more sinister explanation
would be that the ISP is recognizing the RTP traffic and dropping some
packets.  I'm thinking of having my test program do a more complete
simulation rather than just making the packets the right size.

There are public web sites that offer to test VOIP capability but they
seem more interested in the upstream direction where I don't appear to
have a problem.

Thoughts?

				Dan Lanciani
				ddl@danlan.*com

0
Dan
12/6/2009 6:39:04 AM
On Sat, 05 Dec 2009 20:55:36 -0500, John Levine <johnl@iecc.com> wrote:

>>> ... If you use the services of One Suite <http://www.onesuite.com>
>
>> Thanks, Joseph, for this pointer to an interesting competitor to
>> the IDT dial-around service I use for international calling and
>> international access, and to the MagicJack.
>>
>> Alas, no matter how hard I search on their web site, I find no mention
>> of their outbound tariffs to Poland, or roaming tariffs from Poland.
>
> Odd, I clicked the RATES tab on the home page, picked Poland from the
> Destination Country list, and in a few moments it told me that the
> local origination dial-around and VoIP rates are both 4.5cpm to
> land-lines, 29cpm to mobile.  That's pretty good for local origination
> dial-around, good but not great for VoIP.  800 origination dial-around
> is 9.5 and 34cpm, OK for 800 origination but you can do better.
>
> R's,
> John

Harrumpph! Browser shenanigans again. I did as you suggested, in Opera
v. 10, opening the OneSuite site cited in the quote, and clicking the
RATES tab, and there was no drop-down list of destination countries to
be seen. But:

Tried the same thing in IE7, and .. lo and behold .. a drop-down list,
where Opera showed just blank space. (Rates outbound to Poland just as
you quoted.)

But, even with IE7, there's no Poland in the "Originating Country"
list :-{ .

Oh, well ... . [I really have to back my Opera install back down to
v. 9.64 if I can: v. 10 just seems to have problems with sites (like
hotmail.com or the Google gMail site) that v. 9.64 handled with no
issues at all.]

Thanks, John, and cheers, -- tlvp
--
Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP

0
tlvp
12/7/2009 8:39:05 AM
Reply: