Are you considering bundling?

May 26, 2010 4:16:30 PM PDT
A nationwide outage with AT&T's digital home phone service has some wondering about the idea of ditching their land line telephone. The company offers digital voice in the bundle, but is it the best idea? If you decide to ditch your land line and get a bundle offer that includes phone, Internet and TV service, you may not realize that the way your phone works will probably change and it can have a huge impact when the system goes down.

Joe Koch says his problems started when he decided to get his existing AT&T phone, Internet and TV service bundled into one bill.

"Write one check a month for my land line, computer, cell phone, U-verse and all that," he said.

That was three weeks ago. Since then, when someone calls Koch's fax line, the home phone rings, but the fax machine still gets the transmission. And when someone calls Koch's home phone, it rings only one time.

When Koch answers, he hears a second phone line that gives off a busy signal.

And then there are the TV and Internet issues.

"My computer has gone out. My TV has frozen many times," said Koch. "I had to call them."

Koch says technicians have come out eight times in three weeks and things still are not working right. So Koch has decided to unbundle.

"I need to switch it back to regular land lines like I was before," he said.

AT&T says it is looking into the problems at Koch's home and will have him fully unbundled by Friday.

Another issue with bundling centers around what happens with a person's home phone service. Some bundles switch customers from a traditional land line to a voice data service. It seems a lot like a land line, but technology experts say there are differences.

"If your house loses electricity, your phone lines will still work, but if you are all on VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and you lose power, the equipment that controls the data connection, the VOIP connection, that goes down, it is not going to keep going," said Jay Lee, host of Technology Bytes.

This week AT&T had a large scale outage in its U-Verse voice system due to an equipment issue, but the company says service has been restored and AT&T is working to minimize the chances of this happening again.

Bundle offers seem like a great way to save money. But remember, if you don't already have a contract with one company, you may have to switch things around to get bundled. Some on the web are complaining that the cost of their bundles keeps going up, so it is definitely something that needs to be thoroughly looked into before switching.


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