September 11, 2006 9:16 AM PDT

EarthLink expands VoIP service

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EarthLink will announce Tuesday that it is expanding its line-powered Internet-based phone service to eight more cities throughout the United States.

Beginning this month, customers in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington, D.C., will be able sign up for Home Phone Service, EarthLink's voice over Internet Protocol phone service.

The service is competing in an already crowded market where cable operators, standalone VoIP providers such as Vonage and Skype, and Internet companies such as AOL, Yahoo and Google are all trying to get a piece of the telephony market.

Unlike other Internet telephony services, EarthLink's Home Phone Service converts the analog voice signal to a digital signal after the call leaves the consumer's home. This means no special "box" or equipment is needed in the home to run the service.

EarthLink's service is also available from all existing phone jacks in the home. And like traditional phone services, Home Phone Service will operate during a power outage, and it will support enhanced 911 calling.

Because the service is IP-based, customers will be able to take advantage of several enhanced features they wouldn't otherwise get with traditional phone services, such as call prioritization, click-to-dial, number blocking and Web-based voice mail.

The service is sold along with EarthLink's DSL service, which provides up to 8Mbps of bandwidth for downloads. Pricing for EarthLink DSL and Home Phone Service starts at $49.95 per month. The company is using Covad's DSL infrastructure to deliver the service.

EarthLink began offering this Internet telephony service in Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose in January. The company also said it has expanded the service within these cities.

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EarthLink Inc., phone service, VoIP, VoIP service, telephony


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this service is awful- it isn't worth the savings
Don't switch over. Earthlink tech support has no idea how to support this service. My line has been down for 2 months, without any help from earthlink support, and I can't cancel because I'm locked in a contract. Seriously, the tech support people either a. have never heard of this service or b. don't know how to fix it.
Posted by sfca1980 (1 comment )
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I have maybe 15 hours wasted listening to classical music this week while on hold for Earthlink Customer Support for usually 45 minutes each time before anyone even answers.... and the most recent call, with the Earthlink guy in Mumbai, India was 1 hour 42 minutes. He had me do an unbelievably complicated reprogramming of the Earthlink ATA phone adapter from my computer. Still no dial tone on the VoIP line, plus when people call the Verizon number that has been ported over to Earthlink, they get it ringing for ever but it does not ring through to here on the Earthlink ATA box.... so it sounds as though our home business has gone out of business. When I ordered this Earthlink VoIP thing, I was promised no more than 20 minutes downtime after Verizon ceased answering the line until it rang through Earthlink. It has been 4 days so far. Unless you are an IT technician who knows more than any of the ten or so Earthlink people I've spoken to this week, who are all in Mumbai, Bangalore and the Philippines, stay the heck away from this product. The people they have trying to sort things out from 6000 miles away are always polite and it isn't their fault if a). They don't have the training to know how to fix the problem and b). it takes around three quarters of an hour to get past the damned classical music to a live person and c). they say eventually they are escalating the call to a Level 2 technician.... but you get cut off while they make the transfer (that happened three separate times). I even tried calling the Earthlink HQ in Atlanta yesterday: they have built truly excellent defenses against just such a call. Too bad they didn't put that much thought into timely, properly trained Customer Service. Truly, this is a business disgrace. If you are thinking of moving over to the Earthlink VoIP, don't do it! And if you are an Earthlink senior Executive and want to discuss this appalling mess, email me on The worst of it is that a lot of people will blame the Filipino and Indian people whom they've employed for pennies to try to defend them from customers like me who would like to receive something even remotely as promised by the sales people.... the fault does not lie in Mumbai: it lives in Atlanta. PGWS.
Posted by ponkles (1 comment )
Link Flag
I guess I'm lucky
After reading these comments, I guess I should count myself lucky. I signed up for Earthlink VoIP about a year ago. It's true that my home phone was dead for a month before my Verizon number was successfully ported. But I do have service now. My only complaint is that the quality is not very good. There are frequently echoes on the line, and with some callers I hear a lot of digital noise. Judging from the way Earthlink is promoting their service, I'd say the odds of any quality improvement in the near future are pretty low.
Posted by diderik (1 comment )
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Earthlink DSL Home Phone Service
Has anyone had any good luck having Earthlink install their Home Phone Service, not Earthlink VOIP service? Looking for your comments.
Posted by mrtoken1 (1 comment )
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they are liars and thieves
here is my story - i hate being extorted and lied to more than anything, more than incompetence even:

They are going to start charging me a $5 per month "Network Access Charge". This is in spite of the fact that I just signed a 1-year contract with them 4 months ago in May 2007, with an early termination fee. This is worse than 'bait and switch' since they seem to think they can charge whatever they want while I am bound to them by contract. They should not be able to charge me any price increase for the duration of the contract, or at the very least they should let me out of the contract.

The first time I called in September the supervisor "Chris" said he would make it so I wouldn't be charged until the end of my contract, and gave me a confirmation #. After Earthlink charged me the $5 increase this week, I called to complain and cited the reference number to another supervisor, who said they could do nothing but refund one month's fee. I pointed out that Chris said that I wouldn't have to pay it until the contract expired, and he said he could not honor that commitment.
Originally I wanted just not to be charged the $5 monthly fee until my contract expired, but now since they lied to me and caused me a lot of stress, I just want out of the contract so I can get phone service through someone else.
Posted by jkollin (1 comment )
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earthlink voice not ready for prime time
Earthlink voice is not yet perfected, nor is customer service courteous or helpful. Since switching to earthlink voice in Sept 2007 I have had 5 trouble shooting tickets, either concerning echo, or outage. My phone is out today. Tech support is difficlut to reach, and do not know how to solve my problems. Today, I have no phone service at all. Tomorrow I am going to try to switch back to Bell South.
I have been a happy mindspring/earthlink customer since 1995. Now, I want out.
Posted by henrymrosenthal (1 comment )
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