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Cheap home phone service: switch to VoIP

Tech Alert: Medium

Want to save money on your home phone service? Then switch to a “Voice over IP” (VoIP) telephone service. VoIP uses your Internet connection to connect your telephone calls to the normal telephone network.

We switched to a VoIP carrier and are saving money with the new service. The VoIP service provider we selected charges $2.49/mo. for the telephone line including 911 service. The telephone calling plan we chose is a “pay as you go” (PAYG) service that costs about 1¢ to 1.5¢/min. for incoming and outgoing calls. There was also a one-time “porting” fee of $25 to transfer our telephone number to the VoIP provider. See my upcoming post about VoIP telephone service savings.

One important limitation to keep in mind is reliability for 911 services. Most VoIP carriers support 911 but the service is only as reliable as your Internet connection, your home’s inside network and electrical power. You can use your cell phone as a backup to call 911 but the 911 operators won’t be able to pinpoint your location as accurately. See VoIP carrier “Enhanced 911″ (E911) service description for more info.

What do you need?

  1. An Internet connection that can handle 100 kbps in and out for the voice connection.
  2. An “analog terminal adapter” (ATA) that connects between your Internet router and your home telephones. A popular adapter is the LinkSys PAP2T-NA, which costs about $54 at this writing (see PAP2T-NA at Buy.com for more info).
  3. An account at your VoIP service provider. Two VoIP carriers that I use and recommend are voip.ms and CallCentric.

How to install?

  1. Create an account for a VoIP provider. Both voip.ms and CallCentric allow you to set up a free account to learn your way around their web site before making a final VoIP provider selection.
  2. Follow the Frugal Nerd instructions at VoIP Setup to install your telephone adapter and VoIP phone service.

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