If everyone were like me then standalone VoIP would have killed the RBOCs by now. I have used Packet8 plus a cell phone full time since 2004, I cut my landline at that time and have never missed it. Verizon and I no longer speak, and I like it that way. In terms of reliability my solution annihilates the RBOCs. Wait, in terms of reliability?
Well yes. All of this is because I travel a lot. I plug my packet8 phone into broadband connections all over the place, but especially in China. If you have ever spent much time on landline connections between China and the USA over the last 20 years, you know that what might have five 9s of reliability within the USA might have one when crossing the Pacific Ocean and entering the domain of China Telecom. But not for VoIP, I've held hundreds of transpacific conference calls on my packet8 line with far fewer issues than I would have had otherwise. In addition, I can use the same number for anything from anywhere, both incoming and outgoing which makes me easy to reach for friends, family, colleagues, etc. Packet8 has raised my price several times, added extra fees, whatever - I just smile, I'd pay double what I do to keep it.
Alas, as Ike has been detailing over at Telecosm in a series of posts on Vonage and Packet8, the standalone VoIP platform that has made my life easy to manage is basically dead commercially. Packet8 seems to have found a pocket of survivability in the small business arena, but I don't use it - yet anyway. I used to keep a spreadsheet of voip companies and their subscriber growth, hoping to figure out where all the money would be made. It had services from Net2Phone, Sunrocket, Deltathree, Vonage, Earthlink, United Online, AOL, Broadvoice, VoiceWing, and a half dozen others whose names have already been lost to my memory. Most just faded away (or are still doing so), though Sunrocket managed to go out with a bang and Vonage even still exists in its crippled form. All the money is being made by the cable companies, and they don't provide a service that appeals to my needs.
So I seriously hope that Packet8 does keep on chugging, though I can switch to Skype if I need to I suppose. For now anyway.
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