Archive for March, 2007

Cable phone dis-service

Monday, March 26th, 2007

A friend keeps asking me whether I think the Comcast triple play (video, phone, internet) is a good deal, although I keep saying I would never use it. And not just because I think it’s over-priced.

My primary reason has been 911 service. Though they nominally provide 911, the cable companies are notorious for unreliability — I mean how many times does the cable go out? And unlike the phone company, which provides backup generators to power the telephone system, cable operators have no such infrastructure.

I’ve just had a chance to confirm my impressions, though fortunately not in an emergency. We’re staying at a friend’s house with Comcast triple play. Last night there was no dial tone for hours at a time, and inbound calls would ring once and drop.

Today I tried to make an 800 call, but got a message saying “The 800 number you called cannot be completed from your area.” How about that? The “operator” just sent me to Comcast customer “service”, where they required me to tell them the phone number I was calling from “for security purposes”. Well, I guess if their network is so leaky that they can’t be sure that a phone physically connected to their cables is one of their own, that’s a good idea. But it hardly inspires confidence that they can run an IP network, never mind VOIP.

So that’s why I continue to use POTS at home and in our office, connected to our Asterisk server via a Digium POTS card.