Monday, 28 November 2011

Who needs a landline?

Our landline died a couple of weeks ago, or more accurately, our analogue voice service did.

The ADSL service kept on working so we're not really sure when the analogue service died - I just happened to be sitting having breakfast one day and noticed that the phone base station said 'check landline'. So I did, and sure enough it was buggered with no dial tone.

Did the usual - unplugged everything, plugged in an old corded phone I keep in case of bushfires and the power going out, and definitely nothing. Plugged everything back in, logged into the phone company website and logged a fault.

After three separate visits, various phone calls, an occasion when they sent me an SMS saying the fault was fixed when it wasn't, they decided the fault must be on our side of the installation - possibly downstream of the ADSL filter/splitter that they installed to try and fix our ADSL dropouts.

All of this has taken about ten days so far. Some of it down to the phone company's inefficiency and miscommunication, and some of it down to procrastination on our part.

All this time we have had no analogue voice service. Have we noticed? No. We have our mobiles, we have a Skype account that lets us call landlines in Australia for free and landlines overseas for pennies.
We even have a cloud based fax service for dealing with those places (mostly overseas hotels and travel agencies) that need to to have credit card information faxed to them. Basically, while we're dependent on the ADSL service, the analogue service really doesn't matter any more,

Tellingly, at one point the phone company helpfully redirected our landline number to our Skype dial in number (this is a number that lets you call my Skype account as if it was a standard landline). tellingly we were not overwhelmed with voicemails - in fact we had exactly zero calls.

The only noticeable impact of not having a working landline is all the calls I've racked up dealing with the phone company - who to be fair have offered us a month's free line rental, which will probably offset the cost of these extra calls somewhat.

If it wasn't for the thought that we might have a creeping problem with our internal phone wiring, I'd be tempted to ignore the issue and leave the service permanently down.

However what it has proved is that the analogue service is basically irrelevant and we could happily move to a naked DSL only service. In fact the only reas we havn't is the attenuation and drop outs our ADSL service is prone to in the early evening due to it being basically overloaded ...

[update 01/12/2011]

We finally have a working landline - has only taken 17 days and 4 the last of whom we hired to check the cabling.

A Greek guy - described the efforts of the previous three as 'They bloody idiots' and fixed the problem in about 40 minutes after tracing it to a duff connector installed god knows how long ago and by whom, but which looked suspiciously like a Telstra style splice unit ...

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