Phone, Net and TV Service Options

We’re hoping to move into our new place in the next few weeks and I need to get services set up before we get in there.

Local/Long Distance Phone Service

Since I’m working from home, having a landline is important now (we didn’t have one for a year in California). I have to be able to FAX and use my speakerphone. :) Here are some options I’ve looked into.

  • Qwest

    I’m annoyed with Qwest (and MSN) for misrepresenting their DSL and their phone service is expensive, so I’d like to use a different provider. However I found that Qwest has a nice package: max $20 for long distance (less if you don’t use it all) which makes the local and long distance total $45.

  • AT&T

    I called AT&T, but when I got in their IVR system they asked for the phone number I was calling about before I could get to a person. Um, hello – I called the number for setting up new service, I don’t have a phone number yet! I couldn’t believe it, that was a complete dead end, the IVR hung up on me. Cross them off the list…

  • Vonage

    Matt uses Vonage and had good things to say in general. The only problem I see is that it isn’t clear if I can get the existing phone wiring in the house to use this line. According to their docs, I need to check for ‘live PSTN voltage’ on the line.

TV/Cable

We’ve never paid more than $12/month for TV (basic reception service) and I really don’t want to pay much for a service I’m not going to use that much of. That said, I want to watch Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. :) Basically, I want the major networks plus ESPN. Also complicating matters is the fact HDTV is looming on the horizon, but I’ve decided to ignore that for now.

  • Comcast

    The packages are not particularly compelling and the pricing is too high. The upside is I don’t have to have an ugly dish attached to my house. Also, I’d get a slight break on their cable internet service. I was actually hoping to go with this, maybe I’ll call and see if they have any unadvertised deals.

  • DirecTV

    Frankly, they are too expensive with pricing starting at $40; and I’m not even sure where I’d end up with a few extras – y’know, little things like local channels.

  • DishNetwork

    I actually called Dish and was ready to pull the trigger. They have a promo right now where I could get local channels, basic cable and a few extra sports channels for $30/month. Add $10/month for a second receiver for the future basement workout area (total of 3 TV hookups, we don’t even have 3 TVs yet) and a DVR and it’s a pretty decent package for $40/month. Then the catch, I *have* to have a phone line or they charge me an extra $5/month. Bastards.

Internet Service

I’ve used both DSL and cable modem in the past few years and the cable modem has been much better. My current Qwest/MSN DSL is really bad. Plus, DSL requires a phone line. Here are some of the options I’m looking at:

  • Comcast

    I used their cable modem service in California and liked it. They have a discount on cable TV service as well if I get both.

  • Qwest

    This is an interesting option: Qwest DSL w/o an ISP for $28/month, that’s really cheap. I really don’t need as ISP since I have my own server and use FastMail for SMTP.

    Also, it turns out I could get Earthlink branded service through Qwest. That would be ok, I like Earthlink.

  • DishNetwork

    They offer Earthlink DSL with a package deal – $5 monthly discount for 2 years. I’d need a phone line for the DishNetwork TV service anyway.

  • Earthlink

    They couldn’t tell me if DSL is available in my area, I guess I need to call Qwest to find that out. They did say Cable was not available for me – which is odd. On the Comcast site it says it is available and Comcast is listed on the Earthlink site. Getting Earthlink DSL service directly would cost more than if I went through Dish for it.

Combinations

There were two options that seemed to make the most sense, then I found the third which may be a winner:

  1. Comcast Cable ($45) + Comcast Internet ($55) + Vonage ($35) = $135 plus taxes. This priced out pretty high, the basic cable TV and cable modem are both higher than the respective dish and DSL prices. No phone line required for this though. This only works if I can hook the Vonage up to the phone wiring in the rest of the house.
  2. DishNetwork TV ($40) + Earthlink DSL ($45 w/ DishNetwork discount) + Qwest local phone service ($25) + Regional Vonage ($25) = $135. Again this is expensive, but I also get a separate phone line for the business which is nice. The DishNetwork package includes some extra sports channels, a DVR and 3 TV hookups.
  3. DishNetwork TV ($40) + Qwest DSL w/o ISP ($28) + Qwest Local & Long Distance Phone ($45) = $113. This may be a winner. My beef is much more with the MSN folks than it is with the Qwest folks. It also makes the billing less complicated; a minor win. I don’t get the extra phone line for my business which is kind of a bummer but I can live without it.

So what about you? How have you decided to receive your :scare: essential :/scare: services?