The February 2005 issue of Consumer Reports magazine contains an article titled INTERNET PHONING Should you try it?
It doesn’t appear to be online yet. Overall, their bottom line is If you spend more than $60 a month for local and long-distance, VoIP may save you money.
They have a sidebar on the 911 issue called Why VoIP won’t always work in emergencies and they suggest keeping a landline for 911: “We think you should figure an additional expense with VoIP: $20 or so per month to keep landline service for emergency calls. We don’t think you should use VoIP as your only phone service, because it has no reliable way to connect to 911.”
They tested AT&T Call Vantage, Optimum Voice (a NY regional provider), Time Warner Cable, Verizon VoiceWing, and Vonage. The highlights of their test results were:
- Voice quality may be uneven
- Incoming calls may not get through
- Installing hardware yourself may be frustrating
- You may lose convenience and flexibility
I would not call their testing much more than anecdotal. They had ten testers, in four cities, test five services, using a mix of Cable and DSL broadband. Based on their tests, they conclude:
- VoIP isn’t yet the equal of landline
- Don’t rely on VoIP alone (keep a landline too)
- Cable works better than DSL for VoIP
The majority of their testers said they won’t keep VoIP because “the inconvenience outweighed the prospect of lower bills.”