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How do I Compare Broadband Phone Services?

    • 1). Create a list of the broadband phone service providers in your area, including the various features and cost of service of each provider. List the providers on the left side of a sheet of paper, leaving room on the right for 10 columns to note the various features offered by each provider. You can go online and search for "broadband phone service providers" to come up with area providers, or you can search your local directory for telephone companies that offer this type of service.

    • 2). On the first column on the right, write "Area codes" to designate the column heading. Find out if the companies you listed offer area codes in the area that you wish to show as your telephone's location or base. Put a check mark beside each company that offer this feature.

    • 3). On the second column, write "Free inbound calls" as the heading, and put a check mark beside each provider that will offer free inbound calls. Most providers offer free inbound calls, but some will charge a small fee for incoming calls.

    • 4). On the third column, write "Lowest monthly rate" as the heading. Find out what is the lowest monthly rate each provider will charge. There may be different rates under different plans, but you will need to know how much is the lowest monthly rate available.

    • 5). On the fourth column, write down "Pay-by-minute option." Find out if the provider allows an option to pay based on the number of minutes actually used instead of paying based on the regular monthly rate. This can save you even more money if you seldom use the phone and you pay only for actual minutes used.

    • 6). On the fifth column, write down "Free trial period." Put a check mark beside each provider that offers a free trial period. Using this option can allow you to withdraw from a regretful package if you find out the provider does not offer the type of features that will fit your needs.

    • 7). On the sixth column, write down "Activation fee" and list how much, if any, would be needed to activate the phone service. Some providers offer low rates but might charge a higher activation fee.

    • 8). On the seventh column, write down "Adapters." Certain hardware will be needed to connect your phone to the Internet without the need for a computer. Some providers will offer packages that will give the adapters at a discounted rate, while others will not.

    • 9). On column eight, write down "Call waiting," and find out if the service is free or how much the extra service will cost. Do the same for columns nine and ten, marking them as "Caller ID" and "Call forwarding."

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      Your final criteria for deciding which providers to try should depend on the most cost-effective package you can arrive at after comparing your needs against the services and fees offered by each provider. Consider the upfront cost needed to set up and run the system plus the cost you will pay each month. Compare the features in the package. Of course, a trial run to check the quality and reliability of the service is always a must for a prudent subscriber.

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