With the recent boom in communications technology, consumers now have more options when it comes to phone services. Most people use their phones to conduct many important aspects of daily life. Checking in with doctors, keeping in touch with distant family members, and calling for needed repairs are all generally done over the phone. With many people still struggling to pull themselves out of the Great Recession, prices and quality of service are more important than ever. Here are some things to consider when comparing voice services with traditional land lines.
How Voice Services Work
Regular old phone service relies on dedicated lines. That means that phone lines serve only one purpose, and can't be used for anything else. As you can imagine, that takes up a lot of space and uses many, many miles of copper wires.
Voice services, also called VoIP, or voice over internet protocol, don't need a dedicated line. Instead, they use your existing broadband internet connection to send voice data. In a world that is increasingly online, that can offer several advantages.
You might not be old enough to remember a time when the phone rang and you had no idea who was on the other end of the line, but such a time did exist. Caller ID forever changed the way people ignore calls from annoying relatives. Phone companies still usually charge extra fees for caller ID services, but they are usually included in VoIP service.
Call waiting is another convenient feature that is included in VoIP. Imagine being on the phone with annoying Aunt Myrtle and missing a call offering you your dream job. That doesn't happen any more with call waiting, and with VoIP service, you don't have to pay extra for it, either.
If you have a land line and Aunt Myrtle from Canada is the talkative sort, you might end up paying an arm and a leg for the call inviting her to the family reunion. Many land line plans charge extra for long distance, and that goes double for international calls. Because VoIP services don't use traditional phone lines, and because the Internet is available just about everywhere, long distance calls don't cost the service provider any more than any other call, so they pass those savings on to you. That means those interminable calls with Myrtle won't cost you any extra.
If you only ever need to make local phone calls, and you don't want Internet service, the cheapest phone plan for you might just be a basic land line. The vast majority of American households have Internet access, though, and adding a VoIP line on to that service is often a fraction of the cost of a phone plan with the same features. In fact, having only internet service without a voice service is sometimes more expensive because of bundling programs. You might actually be saving a significant amount of money if you add a VoIP line.
The Internet is increasingly necessary for everything from applying for jobs to managing finances and even home security. Not to mention families with school aged children find the Internet indispensable for school projects and research. Why not make your Internet service pull double duty?
There are a few disadvantages to voice services. Losing power means losing phone service unless you have a backup plan, and 911 calls are not always traceable from a VoIP phone. Overall, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages for many people, and the nation is increasingly moving away from land lines in favor of cost-effective, all-inclusive phone plans through their internet service.