While Verizon's FiOS service once paved the trail for quality, the last few years have seen the company and service pave new trails when it comes to price hikes and the addition of a wide variety of new fees
. The latest, according to users in both our forums
and over at the official Verizon support forums
, is a "FDV Administrative Charge" that has recently shown up on Verizon FiOS customer bills. The cost, applied to the voice portion of the bill, isn't government mandated and "helps defray account servicing costs associated with providing voice services." Such fees allow companies to raise rates while keeping advertised rates the same.
by JNhome 08:35AM Thursday Jul 25 2013 The following is part of our effort to solicit front page content from the Broadband Reports community. If you've got something you'd like to write about, please contact us. story continues..
I have a plethora of phone numbers. For my job I use a Google Voice virtual phone number on my business cards. The number forwards to my business cell phone – or any other phone I wish. I have also been experimenting with Comcast’s virtual phone service, Xfinity Voice 2go.
In what is the most comprehensive challenge yet to the government's massive domestic spying apparatus, a wide coalition of groups ranging from the Electronic Frontier Foundation to the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles have filed suit against the NSA. Fueled by new leaks courtesy of Edward Snowden, the lawsuit challenges the government's massive collection of phone data, arguing that such collection violates the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments of the US Constitution. story continues..
HughesNet has announced
that the company is now offering their satellite broadband customers the ability to bundle in voice services. The company's website
doesn't get specific on pricing, only stating that plans start out at around $20 per month. "HughesNet Voice customers enjoy high Quality of Service (QoS) calling as a result of new technology Hughes developed in its latest HughesNet Gen4 service delivery system, which establishes dedicated bandwidth for voice traffic, eliminating interference with data running over their satellite Internet connection," insists the company. While the company's new Gen-4 broadband service has been well hyped, many customers state HughesNet has struggled to deliver promised performance
with the new service.
A significant outage is impacting Time Warner Cable Digital Voice customers from North Carolina to California, according to user posts in our Time Warner Cable forum
. According to the company, 911 voice calls are still being completed, but all other services do not work.
Comcast told one DC-area grandmother that she could no longer be a Comcast Internet Voice subscriber after she cast an immense amount of votes for an "American Idol" contestant. According to local DC Fox affiliate Fox 5
, Comcast sent the notification after the woman called the "American Idol" hotline "several hundred times in an hour." The 72-year-old woman was confused by the termination letter because Comcast advertises its Digital Voice service as unlimited, a word that generally means the exact opposite in telecommunications markets. After the letter was publicized, Comcast claimed the termination notice was sent in error but reiterated their right to warn or terminate excessive voice users.
A new update for the Facebook Messaging app for iOS devices
now allows users to place voice calls to people in their friend list without using plan minutes (though you'll of course still consume cellular data). The company has been testing the functionality in Canada since early this month, and is now deploying the feature to U.S. users starting today. It's services like this one that will inevitably erode wireless carrier SMS and voice revenues, which is why AT&T and Verizon recently switched to shared data plans
(read: they jacked up the price of data). Non cellular devices can use it too; any iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 4.3 or higher can now be used to make calls to Facebook friends.
A new security vulnerability has been found in Skype that allows anyone to change your password and take control of your Skype account. First posted to a Russian Internet forum several months ago, The Next Web
says they've tested the five step hack and have confirmed that it works.
The Wall Street Journal
has realized that ISPs jack up the cost of standalone Internet so users are less likely to ditch bundled television or phone services. This is something most of you have known for years of course, with many carriers charging more for just broadband than they often do for promotional bundles.
Users in our VoIP Provider forum
indicate that Callcentric
has been suffering from severe connectivity issues since the beginning of this month. Users in the forum first started reporting issues on October 3, and the company began investigating issues on October 4
According to a post over at the Skype blog
, the company has started injecting advertisements into video conversations for users who do not have Skype Credit or subscriptions when they're making 1:1 Skype-to-Skype audio calls using Skype for Windows. According to the company's marketing speak, the change will allow people to "have meaningful conversations about brands in a highly engaging environment."
Again, it looks like the ads will only hit those without Skype credit, and users can opt out of the behavioral-angle of the ads here
. The marketing pitch for this new effort is so cheesy it reads like it's almost satire, and is worth sharing for its awfulness:
While on a 1:1 audio call, users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences. So, you should think of Conversation Ads as a way for Skype to generate fun interactivity between your circle of friends and family and the brands you care about. Ultimately, we believe this will help make Skype a more engaging and useful place to have your conversations each and every day.
Excited yet about having new "brand experiences"?
by ryan711 02:26PM Thursday Jun 07 2012
Okay, okay, landlines (even in the form of VoIP) have fallen out of style, but for those that do rely on them, such as business owners, they can’t imagine life without them. Whatever your reason for wanting to maintain a phone other than your cell phone, finding the right service provider for your needs can be quite a daunting task. story continues..
As we noted yesterday
, Verizon has decided to wind the clock back to 2005 and will no longer sell DSL services to new users without a landline. Worse perhaps, users on existing standalone DSL lines will be forced to add voice service (whether they wanted it or not) if they make changes to their existing service.
Comcast this week announced
free text messaging and a voicemail-to-text transcription service for their Xfinity Internet Voice customers nationwide. The service, which our forum users noted was trial launched in several markets last year, allows users to use the Xfinity Mobile app to send and receive text messages for free using their home phone number. The transcription service allows users to receive an e-mailed transcription of a voicemail message, and/or an e-mailed file attachment of the audio voicemail. Comcast, the nation's third largest phone company, is looking to add functionality to their voice product as VoIP growth slows. As we noted last week
, cable voice service may start to see losses as customers look for ways to save money under the weight of bi-annual TV price increases.
The Associated Press
points to new Ovum research estimates that wireless companies lost nearly $14 billion last year in SMS/MMS revenue as consumers migrated to applications like iMessage, which allow users to send messages over cell phone data networks. That of course allows users to bypass the fees for text message services that cost carriers virtually nothing to provide, yet somehow magically keep getting more and more expensive
Back in November CenturyLink sent many customers notices saying they were shutting down Qwest's VoIP service in a few months, after acquiring Qwest last year for $22.4 billion
. Users were of course nudged away from the less-expensive VoIP service and toward CenturyLink's pricier legacy phone service and all the usual fees that entails. However, not all customers say they got the notice. Windows-focused writer Ed Bott says CenturyLink never sent him a notice
that his Qwest VoIP service would be going dark, and that he needs to pay twice as much for POTs service with half the feature, and now risks losing his old number. Progress courtesy of mergers and acquisitions?
We just got done noting how the carrier SMS cash cow is slowing dying
, with the decline impacting foreign earlier adoption countries first and then impacting America's giant carriers starting over the next few years. Another industry mainstay going the way of the dodo courtesy of wireless broadband and smartphones is the idea of the voice minute.
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