The monthly cost of the Gigaclear service is higher than the cost of our present broadband at first glance, but it unlocks to the door to services that require fast broadband.
Probably the most exciting of these when it comes to saving money is VOIP – Voice over Internet Phonecalls (it actually stands for ‘Voice Over Internet Protocol’ but let’s not confuse ourselves with formalities ).
What is VOIP?
Voice over Internet is the telephony system used by many commercial organisations and is becoming increasingly popular in the domestic environment – principally for those with faster Broadband. It uses the Internet to make and receive calls, rather than the telephone backbone owned by BT.
VOIP is really just another word for Digital Telephony and that’s not new. If you’ve spoken to anyone on the telephone within the last 40 years or used a mobile phone in the last 20 years then you’ve been using digital telephony. See? We said it wasn’t new!
How will it save me money?
As you’ll already be paying the monthly fee for broadband through Gigaclear, all you need to use VOIP is an appropriate provider. In a similar way that BT offer telephony services to your home, there are many providers who offer VOIP services to high speed broadband users.
BT not only charges you for the calls you make, but they also charge you line rental, which is now £15.99 per month and going up to £16.99 from December 2014. This is still true even if you use a different provider for telephony, such as TalkTalk or Sky – they still use BT’s network and line rental is payable. VOIP providers don’t charge line rental – just a small monthly fee that allows you to make anything from 1000 minutes to unlimited calls to UK landlines per month as well as many other package options.
A company called Vonage is recommended by Gigaclear and they charge just £7 a month for their unlimited UK call service; and calls to mobiles and other countries are considerably cheaper than BT and other providers. If you have friends or family abroad, unlimited UK calls and unlimited International calls to 70 countries costs £11 per month. They even have a ’30 day Money Back Guarantee’ so if you don’t like it for any reason you can get a full refund.
There are many other VOIP providers so please do shop around for the best deal.
So I can stop using BT and save money?
Yes! As the Gigaclear service uses a custom built high speed fibre optic network, it doesn’t use BT’s existing cabling, so your Internet and VOIP service come without the cost of line rental from BT. You could of course still keep your BT service, as their cabling and Gigaclear’s will run in parallel, but when you could get a telephone service, calls and features for so much less per month, why would you?
Have a look at your last BT (or other provider) bill and see what you’re really paying. Add to it the cost of your current, slow broadband to get the total monthly cost. Gigaclear and Vonage VOIP would be £44 a month – is it really that much more than you’re paying now for a sub-standard broadband service?
You can even transfer your existing phone number in most circumstances.
Many villagers have done this calculation and surprisingly a lot of them will actually save money each month!
Simple set up
Yes, it is easy. These are the steps:
|Step 1||Step 2||Step 3|
|Connect your Vonage Box to your Gigaclear Router||Plug your phone into your Vonage Box||Pick up the phone and ring someone|
Vonage have a page here giving more details.
Questions about Internet Telephony/Vonage.
In a word, No.
VOIP requires your telephone to be plugged into your Vonage Box rather than the usual telephone socket so you might consider the location of these. Of course, being a networked device, the Vonage box doesn’t have to be positioned next to your Gigaclear router; you can put it whereever you like.
Alternatively you could buy a new VOIP telephone, which would plug directly into the router and use SIP services over the Internet but that’s a bit beyond this FAQ.
No you don’t.
There is a common misconception that making VOIP calls requires a computer connected to the Internet. That’s true if you want to make a video call using a service like Skype, but for normal voice calls you’d use your telephone as you have done in the past. The only difference is that the phone is connected to your Vonage box rather than the traditional BT wall socket.
In most cases the answer is Yes.
If you use BT you can release your number and attach it to your VOIP service. If you use TalkTalk it can still be done, but the process is a little more complicated.
We suggest you talk to your chosen VOIP provider (remember Vonage isn’t the only one around) and ask them.
Other people or businesses that call you don’t need to use VOIP themselves – your number will still work just like before no matter how they get their telephony.
Yes. Your VOIP service works just like your old one, so you can call any number anywhere in the world, whether they use VOIP, mobile or landline.
Yes. As we’ve used Vonage in our examples above, here is a list of the services included in their £7 a month package – http://www.vonage.co.uk/inclusive-call-features/.
Other VOIP providers will have different feature lists (although the core range tends to be the same). Shop around and see what you fancy.
In a word – No unless you take steps to ensure it will.
This isn’t a new situation. Many people have portable telephones in the house already and these will not work if the power is off. There is the same issue with VoIP – if there is no power to the ‘base station’ it won’t work.
If you are worried about power outages, you can purchase a small personal UPS battery backup system for your router and phone from around £45 or use a mobile phone.
Yes – with Vodafone’s “Sure Signal” product which boosts the signal through a box costing around £50.
Vodafone states: “Get a great signal – with Sure Signal. We know you want to do more on your mobile phone or 3G device, so we’ve made Vodafone Sure Signal even better. It gives you a great mobile signal in every corner of your home or office. And Sure Signal even works in basement flats or buildings with thick walls. Install Sure Signal easily. Just connect Sure Signal to a fixed-line home or office broadband. You can register up to 32 numbers – from 3G phones to mobile internet dongles. Share the benefits of Sure Signal. After you’ve installed Sure Signal, up to four people can use it at once. So one of you might be checking out your favourite sites while others are updating Facebook or sharing videos on YouTube.”
Other mobile phone providers have similar systems. The Sure Signal is like having your own antenna booster in your own home! And, if you are traveling, take the Sure Signal with you, connect into another wireless router and, after initialisation, off you go!
If you’re using Vonage for your normal telephony, you can register your smart phones with the service and make calls with your mobile over the Gigaclear fibre via the routers WIFI.
If you’re using Vonage and you’ve transferred your local number to them then the answer appears to be no you don’t. You’ll still be able to dial 470XXX and ring someone else in the village.
Other VOIP providers might vary (although it’s not rocket science and any VOIP provider should be able to do this).
Yes. You can have as many as you like.
If you want a second line for business or any other reason, simply plug in another Vonage box to your router.
More complex business packages with phones spread over multiple locations and all the features of a PBX are also available.
See the Vonage Business website for more information.