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acensor

join:2000-05-05
Ashland, OR

1 edit

[Telephone] Use Charter phone & KEEP one tradtional phone line?

Have my house wired in walls properly for two phone lines. Currently with local POTS copper wire service with Century-Link (used to be Qwest).
They charge me an arm and a leg, but are super reliable.

Been tempted to go with Charter Triple play. Could save big bucks. Want to have charter on line-1 house wiring and regular phone company on line2. (Having a basic service on on traditional copper wire with no features costs same as a second Charter line, but runs when the power is down or if Charter has some rare major system problem).

5 years ago I set up a work order to do that but when the Charter tech got here he said he could not put the charter line into the same house wiring as my existing other line service. That I'd have to use charter's phone line-wiring on a cordless base with handsets.... that he couldn't put it into my line-1 wall wiring while Qwest had their POTS phone line wired into my line-2 wall wiring.

Made no sense to me. But I had to cancel and send him away.
(Took major jumping through hoops to get my phone number ported back to my local phone company).
So I was left with a bad taste on that attempt.

Today spoke to two separate Charter reps who both seemed knowledgable, and both assured me they could indeed do what I wanted and had done so many times. Only had to have the work order specify that and say "single port" or something like that.

My question is has anyone here done that (had Charter phone on one line, other provider on other, and both wired into the house wall jacks) or can speak knowledgably on that topic?

Would love to do it, but nervous about having it bollixed again.

Other question: Charter's little built-in battery backup which they sell for $40 they claim 8 hour standby and 5 hours talk. Seems like a lot for that little battery... maybe exagerrated claim? Seems like I'd be a lot better off buying for $60 a much higher capacity UPS. Any thoughts?

For that matter, any, good, bad, or interesting reports on experiences with Charter phone, worth hearing.

FWIW: I'm in the Medford Oregon area.

All replies appreciated.
--
Alex C.



lineofsight

join:2003-01-03
East Saint Louis, IL

Re: [Telephone] Use Charter phone & KEEP one tradtional phone li

Look at straighttalk wireless for a home service. $15 plus tax. Runs on Verizon.



cablegeek01

join:2003-05-13
USA
kudos:1
reply to acensor

You can do it, but you have to be very careful not to cross wire it. If every jack is correctly wired (ie red and green to the blue/white pair, and yellow/black to the orange/white pair), you could keep the primary line on one provider, and connect the secondary line to another provider.
I doubt most installers would touch it though, since a backwards wired jack, and a faulty 2 line phone could easily cross the two networks and cause problems. you would also have to make sure that the MTA that the cable company used was only connected to line 1, and not line 1 and 2 (the primary jack on most MTAs is a four wire circuit that can carry two lines.).
Your best bet would be to have Charter install it to a single phone, and then run some cat5 to the demarcation point where you can tie it in yourself.



AMDUSER
Premium
join:2003-05-28
Earth,
kudos:1
reply to lineofsight

OT: Thanks for the info.. I may have to look into this.
I get 4 bars of signal at my house for Verizon.. it would only take about a moment to connect to my house phone wiring.



compuguybna

join:2009-06-17
Nashville, TN
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·HughesNet Satell..
·ooma
·Virgin Mobile Br..
·Charter
reply to lineofsight

Don't forget the 99.88 device cost...

said by lineofsight:

Look at straighttalk wireless for a home service. $15 plus tax. Runs on Verizon.


ve52001

join:2004-05-11
Duncanville, TX
reply to AMDUSER

I have Ooma and love it. I have their basic phone service, which still includes free long distance in the US and Canada and caller id, voicemail. It cost about 150 for the box if you catch it on sale. I pay 3.73 a month for taxes and that's it. You just have to have high speed internet for it to work. Of course the tax amount will vary by location , but still a good deal I think.



lineofsight

join:2003-01-03
East Saint Louis, IL
Reviews:
·PHONE POWER
reply to acensor

The reason I suggested the wireless unit was because the OP seems to be interested in redundancy and reliability, otherwise he wouldn't be looking to keep POTS.
Yes, there is a $100 up front cost, but compared to cable phone service, this device cost will be recouped in a year or so, and the device has residual value.
As far as wiring, red/green for line #1, yellow/black for line 2.
Disconnect the modular jack in the demarcation box and you can back feed the phones throughout the house.



compuguybna

join:2009-06-17
Nashville, TN
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·HughesNet Satell..
·ooma
·Virgin Mobile Br..
·Charter
reply to ve52001

i had ooma for 1 year. Taxes rose to $5.72 here.... It went out a month after the warranty expired. Too expensive to buy another.
A few issues in the beginning, but it works good with Charter...even with a 10mpbs service.

said by ve52001:

I have Ooma and love it. I have their basic phone service, which still includes free long distance in the US and Canada and caller id, voicemail. It cost about 150 for the box if you catch it on sale. I pay 3.73 a month for taxes and that's it. You just have to have high speed internet for it to work. Of course the tax amount will vary by location , but still a good deal I think.


acensor

join:2000-05-05
Ashland, OR
reply to lineofsight

Thanks for the responses. I'm not sure what Omma is.

Yeah for a second line (so I'm not completely dependent on Charter's land line always being up) I did (and do) consider using a service based on cell phone reception. Sprint has one that has no upfront cost, is $20/month, unlimited US calling, etc.
Not quiet as good as keeping a basic POTS line, as it too would need a battery backup to run when power is down, and unless I could plug it into the wall wiring alongside Charter being on line-1 in the wall would have to use it only with cordless base and handset (which again would need battery backup.

Still hoping to find report from what Charter rep SAYS exists:
Customers running Charter phone on one house-wired line and local copper POTS line on other house-wired line, installed by Charter.

Alex



CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink

said by acensor:

I'm not sure what Omma is.

Ooma will actually integrate seamlessly in with a POTS land line.
The system is setup where all 911 calls will be routed via POTS and I believe local calls (they suggest you keep the bare basic POTS with unlimited local calls and any features you may desire). It will make all other calls (long distance, international, etc.) over the Ooma service. If your ISP or there service is down it will still route calls over the POTS line.

»www.ooma.com/how-ooma-works

»www.ooma.com/company/faqs

gfry22
Premium
join:2007-07-26
Lakeville, MN

I second the ooma, as it has worked well for us. Drop the vonnage, drop charter, drop all those who charge mega tax on your phone bill.


zach3
Zach
Premium
join:2000-05-04
Saint Louis, MO
reply to acensor

Acensor,

I had been a loyal AT&T customer for over 45 years and finally managed to get hosed around enough that I switched from U-verse after a year of usage to Charter's Triple Play.

My out of pocket savings is over $100/mo and so far the service is fine. The Phone service seems like it has better voice quality that the old AT&T Pots line so that is an additional benifit.

My backup is my Cell phone which I dropped from AT&T plain old dumb cell phone which was costing me $50/mo to using the same phone with a new simm card from Consumer Cellular for $15/mo. By the way the voice quality is better with Consumer Cellular also!!

Amazing what one learns when you are willing to break a trend and try something new...

As far as "ooma" I had never heard about them until they were mentioned in this post but will keep them in mind after I get a year or two behind me with Charter and their price starts going up.

Back to the Charter Phone service; at this point with a little over 2 months service all most 3 I am completely satisfied and hope I will continue to be for the next 45 years!!!

My 2 cents worth of comments for your review.

Zach


acensor

join:2000-05-05
Ashland, OR
reply to CoolMan

Thanks cool am.

I read Ooma's FAQs but (a) am pretty sure most folks run it without aPOTS line (tha's the main use..to dump the local phone company') and (b) saw nothing about integrating it seamlessly (or painfully) WITH a POTS line. Or about feeding it into the home wall jacj wiring, with or without a coexisting POTS line.

Have you actually done either of those stunts or know of anyone who has?
--
Alex C.


tscotty
Premium
join:2005-07-04
Saint Charles, MO
Reviews:
·Charter

Alex,

I installed ooma last December when my contract was up and my charter phone went from 19.99 to 51. I ported my existing phone number over to ooma and haven't looked back. I just unplugged my Arris cable modem from the house line and plugged in the ooma box and everything worked. I still use the same phones with ooma as I did with charter as it powers the whole house wiring. My ooma bill is about $14 per month because I chose to get the premium feature package which gives you a second line. Without the premium it would be about $4 for local taxes.


acensor

join:2000-05-05
Ashland, OR

Could you explain how you get a second line (or phone number) with Premium? And do you feed that second line into your house wall wiring and access it as one does at the wall jacks when you're paying for two lines from the POTS phone company? (Which is ideally want I want to do)

Do I take it your Arris cable modem is just your conventional cable modem you were using with Charter (or whomever is your ISP?)

I'm getting real interested in Ooma based on what you guys have told me, plus an email or two to Ooma tech support.

What I might do is what you did: Take advantage of Charter for the promo year and then switch to Ooma.

One of my only, probably minor, issues remaining with Ooma is I have maxed out and actually really use all four Ethernet ports on my Motorola gateway (combination router/modem) box. (two desktop computers, one Ethernet printer) one powerline networking module to route Ethernet to upstairs.) Would have to use a Ethernet hub to get two of my present uses to double up on one port on the router to free up one for Ooma's box, or get Ooma's box to double up with, say, the printer (which rarely has any load on it.)

Alex



lineofsight

join:2003-01-03
East Saint Louis, IL
Reviews:
·PHONE POWER

The Ooma has two Ethernet ports. You have a combo router modem.
Therefore, the internet port on the Ooma Telo device gets plugged to a open port on the Motorola router/modem box.
That took one of your ports that you currently have something connected to.
The cheapest solution is to plug one of the other devices on your LAN to the Ethernet port on the Ooma Telo. Let's say you connect the powerline unit to the Ooma's Ethernet jack. Whatever you have on the upstairs end of the powerline link will have internet access. But it will be on a different IP address range, since the Ooma is a router and it looks like that cannot be disabled.
If you had a separate modem from the router instead of the combined unit, you could have plugged the Ooma unit into the modem, then plugged your router into the Ooma, leaving all 4 of your devices on your LAN on the same IP address range.
Your other choice is to buy a cheap 4 port Ethernet switch. Plug it into the Motorola combo unit, then plug your extra devices into the switch. If you are worried about the bandwidth through the switch into the Motorola unit, plug the Ooma Telo to the switch as it doesn't really use that much bandwidth.

»www.ooma.com/sites/default/files···2011.pdf


acensor

join:2000-05-05
Ashland, OR

Thanks!

With the Ooma box having two so-to-speak "pass through" ports that gives several likely viable options.


mdavej

join:2004-06-09
united state
reply to acensor

While Ooma works great and is very cheap, it still doesn't fit your requirement for reliable phone service if Charter internet is down. You really need something like the Straight Talk thing mentioned earlier. I've had one for a couple of years now (Verizon version) and it's been 100% reliable. I got my parents one as well, since they have cable outages now and then.


acensor

join:2000-05-05
Ashland, OR

I would run one Ooma line and one POTS line to address the reliability question. The StraightTalk, if I understand, is cell-phone connection out of a receiver they supply -- much like Sprint Connect and both are $20/month (and in Sprint's case at least requires two year contract.

I can get a POTS line for $20 per month. Unlike the Sprint Connect (and, again, if I understand right) StraighTalk, it not only does not depend on the ISP/internet being up but unlike them ALSO works when all power to the home is down.

Alex



compuguybna

join:2009-06-17
Nashville, TN
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·HughesNet Satell..
·ooma
·Virgin Mobile Br..
·Charter
reply to mdavej

Correct, OOMA or Vonage are useless when the internet is down.
I have Charter phone that uses an EMTA, and I'm sure its the same.

The recent "Home Phone Connect" systems provided by Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and now StraightTalk (verizon), work off a cell phone tower, so unless there is a tower issue, you should have phone service.

I tried OOMA over Vonage. OOMA was ok, but works in quirky configurations for QOS. Some configurations say to put the OOMA in the middle of the pc and router, and others say put the OOMA behind the router. Behind the router was where I had it, i had no QOS issues except for the "robotic voice echo" which they fixed in a firmware update.

With both the OOMA, and the StraightTalk Home Phone, you have to eat the upfront cost of the device.

Vonage gives you the device for a 1 year agreement, and they recently had a 9.99 Basic plan (but again, no internet, no phone)

I've had Charter phone for about 5 months now, and its always been reliable and available.
(Internet had only gone down 2 times in 2.4 years).

said by mdavej:

While Ooma works great and is very cheap, it still doesn't fit your requirement for reliable phone service if Charter internet is down. You really need something like the Straight Talk thing mentioned earlier. I've had one for a couple of years now (Verizon version) and it's been 100% reliable. I got my parents one as well, since they have cable outages now and then.



lineofsight

join:2003-01-03
East Saint Louis, IL
Reviews:
·PHONE POWER

1 recommendation

reply to acensor

How often is cable internet out? For me, it has probably a 99% uptime. Not quite POTS reliability, but pretty good.
I don't use charter for the phone. I use Phonepower (VOIP service). This is more reliable that the HSI service. Almost every outage is due to HSI, not the VOIP provider.
Nice thing about Phonepower (and probably other similar providers) is the network failover call forward to another number.
Plus the voicemail comes in an email.
I have my VOIP service fail over to my cell phone. How often is the cell service out?
I feel that one way or another, I will know a call came.
So if the OP uses a internet based phone line, plus a cell based phone line, the reliability would be very close to POTS.
And for the savings, I think the 0.05% of the time a call might me missed due to simultaneous outages isn't worth the extra expense of POTS service. And even then, the call still makes it to a voicemail system.


mdavej

join:2004-06-09
united state
reply to acensor

My internet is probably 99% reliable like yours (only a few hours downtime per year, usually due to bad weather), plus I have a cell phone backup. So VOIP is fine for me.

But my parents, on the other hand, probably lose internet at least once a month, sometimes for days at a time (very rural area and have a terrible cable company). And they have no cell phone backup to use when it does go out. So they couldn't even call the cable company to report a problem.

They need their one and only line to be 100% reliable, especially at their age. So I still have to recommend against VOIP in a situation like that. Unless a couple of cell towers get knocked out at the same time (which I can't see ever happening), the Verizon / Straight Talk Home Phone device is 100% reliable. Even if the power is out, the battery lasts for days.


acensor

join:2000-05-05
Ashland, OR
reply to compuguybna

said by compuguybna:

The recent "Home Phone Connect" systems provided by Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and now StraightTalk (verizon), work off a cell phone tower, so unless there is a tower issue, you should have phone service.

said by mdavej:

Thank for the nuanced take on these alternatives AND your report on your experience with Charter phone. Both useful.

Apologies if I'm repeating myself, but one thought about the Home Phone Connect option.
Yeah, it should be very reliable, expecialy as an alternative/backup phone connection. But if power is down the box transceiver box that the cell-phone provider provides is powered on the AC 120volt line and if the power is down (unless it your you have a battery backup on their box it, too, would be down even though all the cellphone towers would probably be up.

Alex
--
Alex C.

mdavej

join:2004-06-09
united state
reply to acensor

It includes a rechargeable battery that lasts about 48 hrs, so it doesn't go down in a power outage.


acensor

join:2000-05-05
Ashland, OR
reply to compuguybna

Thanks, compuguybna, for your overview of the options from the perspective of someone who's tried several.
Most useful!

Just a comment FWIW:
"Home Phone Connect" from a cellphone provider would come with a transceiver that plus into the AC-socket IIRR.
If the AC 120volt power is down even though all the cell phone towers are up and running, you're phone service is down (unless you or the transceiver provider set up a battery backup).
Not so with traditional POTS line.
--
Alex C.


acensor

join:2000-05-05
Ashland, OR

Shoot..... I see my last two messages are essentially duplicates.
Sorry guys. It had looked to me like the earlier one's were not posted, so I duplicated my attempt.
--
Alex C.



lineofsight

join:2003-01-03
East Saint Louis, IL
reply to acensor

During a power outage, the cell towers are on battery backup.
So is the Telco central office. (or generator)



cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26
reply to acensor

I tried Ooma once for a bit. Didn't like it all. Not only did their support not know where the best place to connect it to, in front, in middle or behind router, the unit didn't act like it did either.

Went with Vonage and have had it for about 3+ years now. Am on the $9.99 for life plan and love it! Only draw back to that plan is no international calling. Don't know a soul overseas anyway, so no biggie!!
Have it setup BEHIND router, which is where ANY VOiP adapter should be anyway, ans QOS is awesome!!

Have cell phone for backup, even though I don't get that great of a signal in my house with it.

Couldn't fathom using a POTS line again!
--
The Firefox alternative.
»www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/


acensor

join:2000-05-05
Ashland, OR
reply to lineofsight

said by lineofsight:

During a power outage, the cell towers are on battery backup.
So is the Telco central office. (or generator)

t

Yup. Knew that. During Sandy many cellphone towers exceeded their backup battery life. But for that matter the POTS Telco central offices were probably down in some places too. Of course you can't protect against EVERYthing... and if hit by something like Sandy, loss of your phone service might be he LEAST of your worries. ;-(

Point is, nice to have at least two very different lines of communication..... or maybe three ... for all the "what ifs."
Yeah, Interent can go down, so can cell-phone, and probably last the POTS line..... but chance of all three going down at the same time are WAY less than any one going down.

Guess if I were a hard core survivalist type I'd get a ham radio and/or a sattelite phone too if I could afford. Just got to draw a line somewhere on cost and complexity you're willing to incurr for "what if."

Alex
--
Alex C.

rd1144

join:2009-02-26
Denver, NC
reply to acensor

Get a Obi Device and google voice. Way Cheaper than Ooma!

»www.obihai.com/googlevoice.html

Obi100 = $39.99 on Amazon.com
Google Voice = Free again for 2013
911 service through CallCentric = $1.50/month, configured for second line on Obi100
Port existing Landline to T-mobile pre-paid = $10 for 30 min plan and SIM
Port T-mobile pre-paid to Google Voice = $20