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Re: local call forwarding service?

 
 
Kyler Laird
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      10-27-2004
[I've added comp.dcom.voice-over-ip to this thread. I expect this to
be of interest to others who want to use VoIP but do not have DID
service in their area. The methods I describe should provide full-
capability incoming VoIP anywhere.]

After a couple days of Verizon screwups (full of conversations of them
telling me things couldn't possibly be the way that they were), I have
had call forwarding working for awhile. It's a good first step toward
migrating toward voice over IP in an area without good DID service.

This is a summary of what I accomplished in this step.

I had "fixed call forwarding no-answer/busy" on the line ($1.00) along
with a few features I never used (as part of a special promotional
package). The call forwarding went to my JFAX/J2/jConnect account at
a toll-free number. I removed all of these features.

I added regular call forwarding ($2.50) to the line. I programmed it
(using *72) to go to my (LiveVoIP) VoIP toll-free number. That line
goes to a colocated Asterisk server. Incoming calls ring our mobile
phones and a phone at the house which is connected to a Sipura
SPA-2000. CallerID information about the caller appears on the VoIP
call.

This phase provides me with unlimited (single call) local calling, all
the features I could get from my local telco (CallerID, distinctive
ring, ...) and a world of capabililites I couldn't get locally for a
price that's not far from what I was paying.

Besides the Verizon call forwarding charge, I'm paying $10.99 to
LiveVoIP for the toll-free number. That includes 400 (carryover)
minutes. Extra minutes are $0.020/minute. I don't expect to use
nearly that many minutes to replace my current home phone calls.

Had I not added VoIP into the mix, I'd want at least CallerID ($8.50,
I think) and call forwarding on this line. Instead, I just pay for
call forwarding. That's a savings of $8.50 that I can use toward
justifying the $10.99 VoIP charge. Note that if I wanted to restrict
that line to non-commercial usage I could have gotten LiveVoIP's
$4.99 toll-free service (200 minutes, $0.029/minute).

I'm feeling *much* better about my phone service now that it's going
through LiveVoIP. When calls came through my POTS line, it took a
long time for the calls to be recognized (if Asterisk waited for the
second ring in order to get CallerID) and to detect when ringing
stopped (which meant the house phones would keep ringing even if the
caller hung up). Even answered calls didn't have good supervision,
so Asterisk would hold the line long after the caller hung up. That
was frustrating. Now everything is much tighter. And, of course, I
can more cleanly do stuff like provide my own voice mail (while
handling multiple simultaneous calls).

The next step will be to switch my line to "remote call forwarding".
($38.95 activation fee.) That will reduce my Verizon bill another
$10. The disadvantage will be that I will no longer be able to make
local calls (although 911 might still be available).

My wife and I often use our mobile phones anyway but at
$0.020/minute for outbound calls (LiveVoIP/Gafachi) I would have to
use 500 *additional* minutes of local calling before this solution
would cost more than my current service. With all of the calls to
our home number going to our mobile phones, I'm sure we will have
more local calls than before but I do not expect more than 900 (400
included + 500 additional) minutes. Because LiveVoIP provides
"carryover minutes", even a large spike in usage shouldn't be a big
problem.

In a month or so LiveVoIP expects to have DID service here. At
that point I'll be able to forward to a local number and eventually
I can just port my number to them and eliminate Verizon completely.
(I realize that some of these changes make little sense for the
short times that I'm using them but it's the only way I know to get
the real story on how this stuff works.)

--kyler
 
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