OK, so I’m canceling my Vonage subscription today. I wish my parents could cancel THEIR VoIP service and get some reliable phone lines. And if what I’m seeing about Skype is any indication, I won’t be the only one going back to landlines and mobile phones.

Don’t get me wrong–I see all the advantages of VoIP service and I know millions have it and love it. I figured I would, too. But frankly, it’s just too daggone much work for what’s become a baseline service in this country.

Not that I use the house phone all that much. I realized that my mobile had become my primary line about nine months ago, when I picked up my landline phone and couldn’t get a dial tone. It had been out for two days–someone had hit the neighborhood box and my connection had been severed by the shifting metal cover–but I hadn’t noticed.

Once I called (on my mobile), the phone company came out and fixed it. Within an hour. Decided to replace the system a bit early, given the damage and so–surprise–I got FIOS in the bargain.

A client showed me all the great features of his Vonage phone–voicemail comes to your e-mail inbox, you get all these different conference and transfer features–and I eventually signed up. My intent was to eventually drop my landline entirely.

A few months later I have made zero outgoing calls and received five, all wrong numbers. Vonage can’t figure out the problem, and they’ve lost interest in trying.

I’m sure that there are a LOT of advantages to having VoIP. It’s certainly cheaper. But should I really have to work this hard JUST TO USE THE PHONE?

My parents have VoIP, too. In fact, they’ve had two different VoIP services. Both give crummy sound quality. Sometimes the phone cuts off in mid-conversation. With the first vendor (Comcast) they got all kinds of interference on the line, including radio and cell phone conversations with people they’d never met. Weird noises. Crazy echos.

The phone router sits next to the Internet router, and they both use Ethernet. It’s dark under Dad’s desk–get the wrong router when you’re plugging something in, and there goes your phone service. Mom’s mobile is in my speed dial as a backup for WHEN, not if, their VoIP goes out.

Interestingly, where they are they don’t have a choice–new subdivision, it’s all VoIP, from what they tell me. In my opinion, a bad choice.

Now Skype has been out about 36 hours. (
Newsflash: Skype just announced that it’s back up.
) I’m willing to bet it’s because their software doesn’t scale and….it’s a bloody phone. Basic service. We cut ’em some slack because they’re mostly free but still…

So, as far as I’m concerned, VoIP is a great backup phone service. It won’t be my primary service until they get the bugs worked out a bit more.