Friday, February 9, 2007

Essential Equipment: Communication Edition

One of the key factors for remaining transparently available to my East Coast colleagues is a local telephone number, and my VoIP phone service has proven to be a good fit. When we began plotting my move out west, my boss and I considered a cell phone, but the potential problems -- What if my new house is in one of those terrible pits of poor cell service? What if I'm like the kid we had doing tech support and I run up hundreds of dollars in calls to Russian girls that I met in New York City Russian night clubs? What if I drop it in the toilet? -- made it seem kind of unappetizing.

Enter Vonage. We looked at a few services, and Vonage had the advantage of good reviews, substantial funding, and just generally seeming like a reasonably large company with decent customer support. I've liked the service fine.

I have had excellent customer support experiences -- granted their front line customer support is obviously off-shore, but when I had a complex problem and demonstrated my competence (I am a semi-pro geek, after all) they quickly referred me to top tier support. And when the top level guy wasn't sure of the answer, he honestly told me that he'd research it and call me back the next night, which he did. And, miracle of miracles, the solution he gave me worked first time.

The call quality is decent. I drop a call out of the blue probably once a week at the least, and I've beefed before about the sometimes echo-laden effect that my callers get, but overall it's good.

And now Wired has done a review that agrees that Vonage is really the best VoIP. Just scroll past all the Playstation and winter coat stuff, it's down there in the middle of that page.

If Wired says it's good, I feel like less of a sap for liking a company that features giant lobsters in their commercials.

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