When was the last time that your home phone got serious, regular, use?
That was the question I found myself asking when BT announced recently that they were upping their prices again. This got me to thinking about what we were actually paying for and I quickly came to the conclusion that we weren’t getting very good value for money.
The problem (for BT) is that there are so many other ways we can be reached these days whether it is email, text message, Skype, Facebook or even Snapchat. Very, very few choose to phone us and those that do either do so on our mobiles or are “marketing” calls that I could do without. All this led me to consider the alternatives.
One possibility was to go VOIP only and hook up our home phone to Skype. For this we tried a FREETALK Connect-me box which acts as a bridge between your home phone and Skype. It also allows you to switch between the two with a series of shortcodes. For this to work you need a good broadband service and with BT’s Infinity that wasn’t a problem. What was an issue was the echo on the line when making some calls rendering the service pretty useless. Also there was still a cost involved in this as we would have needed to have paid for a Skype calling package which while cheaper than BT I thought that there might be other, cheaper, solutions.
The answer is, of course, to go mobile. Everyone in our house has at least one mobile and can be reached wherever they are, which can be a blessing and a curse of course. The only problem with going mobile was that there is pretty much no mobile signal in our house, which was a bit of an impediment! Never fear, Three to the rescue, who sent us one of these.
This magic box (well the one shown at the top of the page) is a signal booster which channels your mobile phone via your broadband connection, so again you need a pretty good connection, and it works pretty well given that we now have signal when we didn’t before.
The final piece in the jigsaw was to get rid of the home phone altogether. One oddity of most broadband contracts is that you have to have a phone line and pay for such, even if you don’t use it. This was a £15 a month cost I was trying to rid myself of. Fortunately our area is cabled up and so we have moved over to that which doesn’t require a phone line and associated charges.
Everything is now in place and it looks like we will save over £200 a year with the added bonus that I will no longer to take calls from “Windows Technical Support” about a virus on my PC which is actually a Mac!