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Talk Is Cheap by James E Gaskin

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Before You Sign Up

If you’re sold on the idea of going with a broadband phone provider, you’re almost ready to take the plunge. The next few sections will get you the rest of the way there.

What You Need

What are the equipment and service requirements you need to provide in order to sign up for a broadband phone service? Not many, because the service provider will send you the correct router or telephone adapter for your situation.

Your requirements are:

  • Broadband service with at least 90 kbps upstream speed per active phone to be used concurrently. (Your broadband provider can tell you your upstream speed, but the slowest broadband service provides 128 kbps upstream and does fine with a single conversation.)

  • A computer for system configuration and modifications.

  • A valid credit card to cover the monthly service fee.

  • A shipping address (not a P.O. Box) to receive the equipment from the service provider.

  • An analog phone to connect to the router or telephone adapter.

Notice that even these requirements aren’t that onerous or binding. The slowest broadband service available today, entry-level DSL, provides at least 128 kbps upstream bandwidth. That will support one broadband phone call with excellent voice quality, although heavy Internet activity at the same time may cause some degradation.

Could you sign up a child who’s living at college and have your credit card billed? Certainly. Can you use any old telephone to make broadband phone calls? Absolutely.

There’s one more requirement: the desire ...

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