I’ve been using Vonage VOIP from home. Service is adequate, especially with my cell phone as a backup, and the price is absurdly low. Vonage charges $25/mo for unlimited domestic calling, including Puerto Rico and Canada and now extended to Britain, Ireland France, Italy, Spain, and Germany.
But it wasn’t just the money: there was great emotional satisfaction in giving the finger to the loathsome SBC. I’m still carrying a grudge from the Baby Bells’ false promises of improved service in return for deregulation. (Not that I’m a fan of the cable monopolies, but “phoneys” just about describes the telcos.)
Well, now there’s an even better reason to switch to Vonage or another VOIP option: to punish your landline provider (unless you’re a Qwest customer) for turning all of your phone records over to the NSA without a court order or Act of Congress and in apparent violation of law. It’s not a question of feeling personally vulnerable; universal access to who called whom when is something the government of a free society ought not to have, and especially something the executive branch ought not to be able to seize with corporate connivance but without any oversight from the other two branches.
Moreover, if big companies learned that betraying their customers’ privacy had a negative impact on the bottom line, they’d do less of it. You should fire your telco for the same reason that the English (according to Voltaire) found it wise to hang an admiral from time to time: Pour encourager les autres.
Footnote Obviously, there’s no decent justification for the telcos’ craven (or perhaps mercenary) behavior in this case; if there were, Richard Falkenrath wouldn’t have to resort to stupid sophistries in defense of the program.