Bend Broadband Offering Phone Service, But Is It Worth It?
As I mentioned before Bend Broadband does sponsor this blog. They have an ad right up there on the top right of this page (which is now linked to the service I'm going to talk about). Part of my agreement with putting up their ads was that I reserve the right to post commentary about their services and products, and this is going to be one of those times.
BendBroadband has introduced a new home phone service. Starting at $40/month (assuming you already have cable TV and high-speed internet with them, otherwise the price goes up), you get unlimited local and long distance phone calls in the lower 48 states, caller ID, voice mail, and a whole slew of additional features.
But $40? Yes, it's a pile of great features, and since it's the cable company they can probably give traffic priority to your voice calls and there's always the convenience of having it everything on one bill (which is Qwest's big pitch). But it just doesn't seem worth it to me unless you make a lot of long-distance calls (which I don't) and even then you can get services like Vonage that are quite a bit cheaper and provide just as many features. Talking to the folks at BendBroadband, they're considering a "lite" option for folks who don't need long distance access, but it'll still probably be too expensive for me. I spend a grand total (including all stupid fees) of $25/month on my phone service from Qwest. I don't need any of that fancy additional services crap -- I just want a phone that will work all the time at a cheap rate. Heck, even if you wanted all those features that BendBroadband provides, there are other local phone companies like BendTel that provide all those services over your regular phone line -- no special equipment required -- at a very decent price.
So for now, this will be a service of theirs I'm going to avoid, mostly because of the cost, but if anybody else has any input or has tried it (they're currently rolling out in the Redmond/Terrebone area with Bend coming next month), let me know! I told them I'd be a beta tester if they wanted a review, but haven't heard back on that one yet (not holding my breath).