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I have done a fairly extensive search on the interweb, and I have to say that it's awfully frustrating. I will be visiting the US for one month later in the summer, and I am looking for a pre-paid sim card that I can put in my (determined-to-be-compatible) iPhone 6 basically for data purposes only, using the 'personal hotspot' to tether my MacBook Pro.

Any suggestions or recommendations from someone who knows this area well would be greatly appreciated.
 


If you're planning to use much data, I think it will be painfully expensive. The U.S. is full of readily accessible WiFi when you're in a hotel, business, campground or host's home. For the times when you're remote, you can get a pre-paid SIM, but plan to only use it for basic email or low-bandwidth use.

A quick search for "prepaid SIM" turned up several companies. This one says it's "self-activating" which may ease some usage pain. I have no knowledge, experience or affiliation with them:

https://zipsim.us
 


I will be visiting the US for one month later in the summer, and I am looking for a pre-paid sim card that I can put in my (determined-to-be-compatible) iPhone 6 basically for data purposes only, using the 'personal hotspot' to tether my MacBook Pro.
I'm British and use the Three network here. Three mobile subscriptions have a roaming plan that includes the USA (3G only, due to frequency differentials, I assume) which permits the use of my data and call/text allowances when overseas (with some caveats)

I don't know if Henry L. is based this side of the pond or not, but I've always found this very useful.

 


In my city, which is a a popular tourist destination in the USA, every T-Mobile store promotes a special plan for foreign visitors. I've never had occasion to check out the details myself, but this appears to be a webpage that explains how it works:
T-Mobile said:
Tourist Plan
T-Mobile's Tourist Plan provides 21 days of service while you're visiting the US. It's especially ideal for business travelers who want unlimited text and data, a limited amount of minutes, and don't need any other features.
 


I will be visiting the US for one month later in the summer, and I am looking for a pre-paid sim card that I can put in my (determined-to-be-compatible) iPhone 6 basically for data purposes only, using the 'personal hotspot' to tether my MacBook Pro.

Any suggestions or recommendations from someone who knows this area well would be greatly appreciated.
I've used Roam Mobility in the past (though my use was to keep in touch with family, so the base data it came with was more than enough).
 


I'm British and use the Three network here. Three mobile subscriptions have a roaming plan that includes the USA (3G only, due to frequency differentials, I assume) which permits the use of my data and call/text allowances when overseas (with some caveats) I don't know if Henry L. is based this side of the pond or not, but I've always found this very useful.
http://www.three.co.uk/feel-at-home/
I agree with Tim Biller. I have been based in Europe a little over a year now. Last time when I was in the US, one of the SIM cards that I had (Vodafone Spain) roamed without any extra charges in the US. For the most part, I only needed data coverage, I simply used that SIM instead of buying a prepaid SIM in the US.

Of course, for the most part, whenever there was a free Wi-Fi, I used that.

Henry L doesn't quite specify where he is based, but he may consider looking into possibilities like that, as well. That may be just as easy as it can get.
 


... T-Mobile store promotes a special plan for foreign visitors.
Thanks, Ryan. This is actually one of the plans I discovered in the course of my own research; I thought it was terrible and was hoping that the cognoscenti might know of better deals. Regarding T-Mobile ... I could probably live with the 21 day limit (I expect to be in the States for 28 days) and $30 doesn't seem like a bad price -- until you realise what you get for that price: a mere 2GB of data. Last January in Australia I got a Lebara SIM on special offer for AUD15. It gave 15GB of data, to be used in 30 days. But maybe there's nothing that good in the US?
 


I thought it was terrible and was hoping that the cognoscenti might know of better deals.
I'd say things will depend on how you'll be using your laptop. For example, if you're mostly going to be working with emails and word processing documents, it's possible the 2GB of LTE and dropping down to (unlimited) 3G for the remainder might be good enough. Obviously, that's not going to be that great for stuff like streaming video or FaceTime. Then again, public Wi-Fi often is clogged, slow, and unresponsive as well. In any case, I am not a T-Mobile customer so I can't speak to the quality or value of their service and network.

Another factor to consider is if you do not go with one of the four major cellular carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint), you will most likely be using one of their networks with access provided by a reseller. Unfortunately, the Big Four very often deprioritize access and speeds for users who are not their direct customers.

If you're planning on relying on Wi-FI to any extent, you should look into getting a personal VPN if you don't already have VPN access. There are a lot of unsecure and/or dodgy Wi-Fi networks out there!!!
 


We travel back and forth between our home in Arizona and our work location in Bangkok Thailand. While in the USA, we use whatever is the current version of AT&T's "gophone" pre-pay plans. $40/month for unlimited text, talk and 5 GB of data. We use data mainly for Maps when we are driving to places we haven't been.
 


There are many cheap prepaid no-contract phone services that you can buy in drug stores and big-box stores like WalMart. Many of them offer SIM cards so you don't need to actually buy a phone. A few that come to mind (there are many others as well) include:
Most (if not all) of the major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint) also offer SIM-only prepaid plans these days. But you might not be able to find these in a convenience store. On the other hand, official carrier/reseller stores are easy to find in most metropolitan areas.

But note that, as others have pointed out, unlimited data is not cheap. If you want unlimited LTE, you're probably looking at about $50/mo. Less expensive plans will impose a cap (could be anywhere between 500M and 5G) with your data either getting cut off or rate-limited down to 2G or 3G speeds after the cap is reached. (I would consider a fall-back to 3G perfectly acceptable, but 2G would not be.) So you need to pay attention to what you're buying.
 


I added the emphasis.
Ars Technica said:
Verizon throttled fire department’s “unlimited” data during Calif. wildfire
Verizon Wireless' throttling of a fire department that uses its data services has been submitted as evidence in a lawsuit that seeks to reinstate federal net neutrality rules.

"County Fire has experienced throttling by its ISP, Verizon," Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote in a declaration. "This throttling has had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services. Verizon imposed these limitations despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding County Fire's ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services."
...
Because the throttling continued until the department was able to upgrade its subscription, "County Fire personnel were forced to use other agencies' Internet Service Providers and their own personal devices to provide the necessary connectivity and data transfer capability required by OES 5262," Bowden wrote.
...
Verizon's throttling was described in fire department emails beginning June 29 of this year, just weeks after the FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules took effect.
 


A followup to the Verizon throttling debacle.
Ars Technica said:
Fire dept. rejects Verizon’s “customer support mistake” excuse for throttling
... Santa Clara County disputed Verizon's characterization of the problem in a press release last night. "Verizon's throttling has everything to do with net neutrality—it shows that the ISPs will act in their economic interests, even at the expense of public safety," County Counsel James Williams said on behalf of the county and fire department.
... Verizon doesn't think its throttling of the fire department's unlimited plan should be part of the lawsuit that seeks to restore net neutrality.
 


I think that the telecoms pulled a fast one on the public. It is obvious Verizon doesn't seem to care about the dangers that firefighters and the public face in these California wild fires.
Shame on them!
 


Another followup to the Verizon throttling debacle. I added the emphasis.
Ars Technica said:
Verizon stops throttling more firefighters, plans unlimited data “with no caps”
Verizon Wireless today said it has temporarily stopped throttling the data of firefighters and other first responders on the West Coast and in Hawaii and will soon introduce a new unlimited plan "with no caps" and with priority access for first responders.
... "Further, in the event of another disaster, Verizon will lift restrictions on public safety customers, providing full network access."

Next week, Verizon said it will provide full details on "a new plan that will feature unlimited data, with no caps on mobile solutions and automatically includes priority access."

"We will make it easy to upgrade service at no additional cost," Verizon said.
 


If you have a real landline connection (with copper wire connections to the phone company), having one wired handset gives you a backup phone in case of power failure because traditional landlines have their own power supply. A second advantage is that it's much harder to misplace a wired phone than a wireless handset.
There was an article the other day that land lines are having something of a second look. Between rural areas and suburban and urban areas with cell phone dead spots, people are discovering that a land line just works, with sound quality often much better than a cell phone.

Being in a rural area we have both wireless handsets with a base station and one old telephone directly connected to the wired telephone service. The old telephone, powered by the telephone company, works when the power goes out.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
There was an article the other day that land lines are having something of a second look. Between rural areas and suburban and urban areas with cell phone dead spots, people are discovering that a land line just works, with sound quality often much better than a cell phone.
Cellphone audio quality has been dismal in all my experiences, across multiple carriers, in sharp contrast to landline audio quality (even with its very limited bandwidth). When FaceTime Audio or Skype have managed to retain a connection, they have also been far better in audio quality vs. cellphones. However, I was unable to reduce Verizon's exhorbitant charges for a landline to less than double what a Verizon Wireless plan costs, despite a concerted effort, and finally gave up the landline for economic reasons and because of continuous, offensive spamming and scamming (which is at least a little more manageable on the smartphone).
 


Cellphone audio quality has been dismal in all my experiences, across multiple carriers, in sharp contrast to landline audio quality (even with its very limited bandwidth).
I wrote a feature on poor cellular voice quality that appeared over four years ago in IEEE Spectrum
and the problems are still there. I think the biggest problem is that the phone companies simply don't care. Other big ones are that users often have no idea how bad they sound on the other end, and often make no effort to reduce background noise. (I recently was interviewed by someone using a cellphone who was taking notes on a very loud keyboard that drowned out her words.) I could go on.

I have Verizon FioS, and the first digital voice line (essentially a simulated landline) is essentially free with the bundle discount for data and voice, with the second another $10 or $15. It's clear they are trying to get rid of copper service because maintenance is expensive, but the digital voice gives most of the advantages of a landline other than service when the power is out.
 


In our area, a rural east coastal resort, Verizon has deliberately minimized its (copper-wire) landline service in recent years. Verizon refuses to service the wired connection to our home, directing us to its cellular "home phone" service. The utilities have successfully lobbied our state government to abandon previous requirements that phone companies offer landline connections to everyone (I tried to protest to the state, and was told the law had changed). The result is our "home" phone is a cellular connection (but distinct from our smartphone cell service) through "Verizon Wireless," the ubiquitous subsidiary which has separate regulatory and pricing environments from the "old" Verizon.

By the way, the same Verizon in our area refuses to extend its existing FIOS service even 1.5 miles from its last node to our neighborhood. Local legislators say they have been told by Verizon that further FIOS investment just isn't happening for us.
 


There was an article the other day that land lines are having something of a second look. Between rural areas and suburban and urban areas with cell phone dead spots, people are discovering that a land line just works, with sound quality often much better than a cell phone.

Being in a rural area we have both wireless handsets with a base station and one old telephone directly connected to the wired telephone service. The old telephone, powered by the telephone company, works when the power goes out.
I do miss landline quality quite a bit, but I ended up switching to get a control on the never-ending spam calls. That said, Verizon and others have been accused (quite fairly, as far as I can tell) of both letting landlines die, and of actively sabotaging them, so they can move people onto unregulated, nonunion services.

I don't know about other areas, incidentally, but the union New Jersey Bell (now Verizon) workers have always been exemplary — doing superb work with a good attitude. The problems seem to come from the former NYNEX (New York in particular) management. When I did live in New York, problems could never be resolved.

In any case, while I would like a landline, Verizon will never install one since we moved to FIOS some years back (and are now on Cablevision, I mean Optimum, I mean Altice). The landlines do work when the power is out, if you have a traditional phone (if your phone plugs in, chances are it doesn't work without power, but it might). They do seem to be more reliable by default. It's a shame that phone companies across the country are working to yank 'em out.
 


I still have landline service (POTS), from AT&T - the same (sort of) AT&T that provides an extremely poor cell signal over my densely populated urban neighborhood. I usually get No Signal or one "bar" and dropped calls even if outdoors in my yard.

Some reasons for keeping the landline are continuity of service during (rare) power outages, ability to call out and receive calls, given the spotty cellular signal, and that my monitored home alarm system uses landline to inform of breaches or problems. The alarm company's wireless solution is more expensive than maintaining the monthly landline charge.

The main disadvantage is the landline receiving at least a half-dozen calls a day from the usual bots (Rachel et al) and offshore criminals.

Regarding wireless audio quality, the providers should be forced to listen to "music on hold" at customer service lines, offered while my Important call burns up air time awaiting the Next Available Representative. I've often clicked off just because the garbled "music" was simply rage inducing!
 


My landline died shortly before Hurricane Sandy. Once the Sandy disaster had occurred, it fairly quickly became clear that the old landline wires would never be repaired. One of my neighbors, who had DSL, tried for months to get Verizon to fix her line, to no avail. Verizon is apparently not interested in wiring smaller, older buildings like ours (in NYC) for FIOS, either.

The large residential complex directly across the street has FIOS. Getting anyone but Time Warner, now Spectrum, to install broadband is not an option for a lot of New Yorkers; RCN does not seem to want to deal with connecting smaller buildings, either. My “landline” has been mostly superfluous for years. I keep it because: I prefer to have doctors, pharmacies, etc. call there to leave messages; it’s the only number that old acquaintances and friends from my office days, or from even further back, would still have; giving out that number cuts down on the amount of spam that would otherwise be coming to my cell phone; and I also have to confess to being a 212 hoarder. I’ve had the same number since 1976 (!) and haven’t been able to make myself give it up.
 


I still have landline service (POTS), from AT&T - the same (sort of) AT&T that provides an extremely poor cell signal over my densely populated urban neighborhood. I usually get No Signal or one "bar" and dropped calls even if outdoors in my yard.

Some reasons for keeping the landline are continuity of service during (rare) power outages, ability to call out and receive calls, given the spotty cellular signal, and that my monitored home alarm system uses landline to inform of breaches or problems. The alarm company's wireless solution is more expensive than maintaining the monthly landline charge.

The main disadvantage is the landline receiving at least a half-dozen calls a day from the usual bots (Rachel et al) and offshore criminals.

Regarding wireless audio quality, the providers should be forced to listen to "music on hold" at customer service lines, offered while my Important call burns up air time awaiting the Next Available Representative. I've often clicked off just because the garbled "music" was simply rage inducing!
Some landline services allow one to create a step to make the call go through. The step could be press 1 to make the call go through. That is an effective way of blocking robocalls which will also block pharmacy ‘your subscription is ready’ calls. Our telephone cooperative blocks spam calls on our land line at the central office.
 


Like Kathryn, and also in NYC, we felt that keeping our Verizon POTS was non-negotiable.
We have a speedy Spectrum (formerly TWC) internet connection (but turned off the cableTV part), so didn't want FIOS, which is available in our neighborhood. Unfortunately, as mentioned in other posts, Verizon is not repairing copper connections, and some of those into our building went south after one of the monthly Con Ed/Verizon/cable/what-have-you excavations in the street outside our building. (It seems that ConEd comes to fix something and pokes a hole in the water line; the city water-line people come and faff the cable line; the cable company comes in and dislodges Verizon's cabling; Verizon comes in and screws up the power, necessitating a visit from ConEd to start the ball rolling again.)

I called Verizon, who said I had to upgrade to FIOS; I kept asking for senior management, until I got a promise to fix it. The next day I found out a phone tech was in the basement, so went down to talk to him. He was in front of the opened punch-down block, basically scratching his head. Seems that there is a finite number of circuits available, and those that are no longer working will not be repaired. He had run out of unused working circuits to use (we share them with the next building north of us) for the number of us whose phones had stopped working, and he lamented that the company would not let him do his job, i.e., repair the non-working phone lines.

I ordered an iPhone SE, ported my landline number to it, and called Verizon to cancel my telephone service (I actually still had 3 lines from days before cellphones: one to roll over the main line and a fax line). That all went fine, but it took 4 months to get them to stop billing me for service I never received. Fortunately, our Panasonic KX-TG9541 has Link-to-Cell, so we can still use our cordless phones in the apartment.
 


I wrote a feature on poor cellular voice quality that appeared over four years ago in IEEE Spectrum
Jeff, fascinating and incredibly accurate article. I spent 24 years at Motorola, with my first project being the DynaTac 3000 (the original "brick" cell phone). As a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff and Director of Motorola Labs, we definitely designed for better voice quality than used in today's cellular systems. The multiple lossy coding and decoding of audio content is a heresy among audiophiles, as well as among competent system design engineers. On the other hand, cellular carriers only care about two things, earnings and reputation. The problem is, damage to one's reputation significantly lags earnings, thus missteps by companies often take many years to correct.

The lack of nearly perfect digital voice communications in 2019 is frankly astounding! You also got it correct that industrial design (device appearance) trumps both functionality and ergonomics. The joke is, an artist designs the "box," then both the mechanical and electrical engineers have to figure out how the cram the necessary components into the box, and make the resulting "product" function.

We can only hope that someone actually cares as much about voice quality as they do about the latest OLED displays....

I can actually say that sometimes I long for the days when Bell Telephone controlled the quality of components deployed in a communication system. This is not to say that deregulation was a mistake, it was not. However, the lack of control over quality aspects in today's communication systems is appalling. The good old POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) with the 3-kHz bandwidth seems too arcane today, but it was and still is a great technological achievement. Similarly, technologies like old time NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) broadcasts were abandoned in favor of ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) broadcasts for HDTV. Have you tried to receive an ATSC broadcast in a fringe coverage area? There is so concept of graceful signal degradation that yielded the snowy picture in NTSC systems. Rather, the properties of the digital error correction systems result in systems that operate in an all or nothing scenario for reception. Either your picture is "digital perfect" or there is no picture at all. Is this really an improvement?

Consider also that 5G cellular is currently rolling out. Expect the cell size to decrease significantly. Shannon's limit and physics cannot be overcome by slick marketing. As data rates increase, information-carrying signal bandwidth must increase, and figures of merit, like signal to noise, carrier to noise, Eb/No, etc., limit the true effective communication range and throughput. Although 5G cellular may be able to deliver gigabit data speeds, that will be on a best effort basis, without true quality of service. What you really want when communicating multimedia information is isochronous behavior, e.g., scheduled time-sensitive delivery of the information components necessary to reconstruct the original source material. 5G cellular has no concept of isochronous behavior, instead relying of brute force speed and its related information bandwidth.

Finally, to get back to the point of this thread, even with 5G cellular systems being portrayed as the next successor to sliced bread, it all comes back to backhaul. Many fiber and gigahertz microwave connections will be needed to support the 5G infrastructure. How does that relate to land lines? Almost all reliable backhaul is a land line, whether it's copper, as in legacy POTS systems (no, you would not use a POTS line for 5G backhaul), or fiber. Wireless will never replace physical connectivity for reliability reasons.

In my opinion, if all types of consumer or commercial legacy copper systems are replaced with xDSL, fiber, or wireless systems, the vendors must design these replacement systems up to the standards associated with the legacy critical infrastructure. Our law and society has developed such that a land line phone transitioned from a luxury to a necessity in terms of expectations or requirements in the case of a natural or man-made disaster, or other cases of emergency. Current cellular providers are in no way designing their systems to support anything other than broadly deployed consumer applications, and have little consideration for safety of life applications. Moreover, cellular operators don't have an incentive to improve their systems, including better voice quality, unless people complain, and vote with their $$$, moving to a competitor that will listen.

One last comment: Land lines are still highly regulated by both Federal and Local authorities. Be sure to let your local regulators know that your provider is refusing to rebuild legacy services or provide suitable equivalent substitutes. The regulators represent you, not the providers!
 


Some landline services allow one to create a step to make the call go through. The step could be press 1 to make the call go through. That is an effective way of blocking robocalls which will also block pharmacy ‘your subscription is ready’ calls.
This reminds me of something I did years ago back when I had a land line and a microcassette-based answering machine. That particular answering machine used two tapes - one for the outbound message and one for recorded calls.

It had one other feature - anyone pressing a digit while the outbound message was playing would immediately stop it and go straight to the beep, so I put a 90-minute tape in the machine and started my message with "press any key to leave a message" and then started talking. And talking. And talking. For 90 minutes.

I never had a human being complain about having to push a key (although a few listened to my message because they wanted to hear my ramblings). No robocall ever left a message. :-)
 


I wrote a feature on poor cellular voice quality that appeared over four years ago in IEEE Spectrum
and the problems are still there. I think the biggest problem is that the phone companies simply don't care. Other big ones are that users often have no idea how bad they sound on the other end, and often make no effort to reduce background noise. (I recently was interviewed by someone using a cellphone who was taking notes on a very loud keyboard that drowned out her words.) I could go on.
I have Verizon FioS, and the first digital voice line (essentially a simulated landline) is essentially free with the bundle discount for data and voice, with the second another $10 or $15. It's clear they are trying to get rid of copper service because maintenance is expensive, but the digital voice gives most of the advantages of a landline other than service when the power is out.
One thing that kept me from dumping the land line was voice quality, especially because I love using a wireless headset that keeps hands free and no handset slammed to my ear. Then I discovered the Blue Parrot bluetooth line, which you'll see truckers sporting at the truck stop. It works great! Noise cancellation is excellent. Voice quality on my cell line is the best on both ends. Be sure you get the model that charges via USB rather than the old one with a charger.
 


I have Verizon FioS, and the first digital voice line (essentially a simulated landline) is essentially free with the bundle discount for data and voice, with the second another $10 or $15. It's clear they are trying to get rid of copper service because maintenance is expensive, but the digital voice gives most of the advantages of a landline other than service when the power is out.
Where do you live? I'm in a MD suburb of Washington DC, and about five years ago dropped my FiOS landline, because only spam calls ever came over it (and cell service remained on even during the 2012 derecho event that left us without power for two days). To "upgrade" (downgrade for my purposes) by adding a single voice line would cost an additional $15 a month, and the charges are lower now than they were with the landline.

I do, however, have a fairly minimal cable TV package along with the 75/75 Mbps Internet service, so perhaps the landline is a free add to Internet-only service?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have Verizon FioS, and the first digital voice line (essentially a simulated landline) is essentially free with the bundle discount for data and voice, with the second another $10 or $15.
What are you paying for FiOS, though? In my calls to Verizon, they were completely unwilling to provide any kind of phone service for any kind of reasonable price, despite their completely false "$79.99/mo." advertising, which in reality was a minimum of something like $140/mo. In other words, I was completely unable to buy phone-only service of any kind for any reasonable price, but it would be tacked onto very expensive FiOS service with TV and other things that I had no use for.
 


Being in a rural area we have both wireless handsets with a base station and one old telephone directly connected to the wired telephone service. The old telephone, powered by the telephone company, works when the power goes out.
I have a home in a rural area of upstate NY. When I first built there, cell service was inconsistent. We had Verizon install a POTS line for emergency and home monitoring (I installed sensors that would use the phone to call me if certain conditions were met).

That's when I learned just how bad this "rural" phone service was. Service would fail every month. Sometimes it was out for weeks at a time until I learned about it. I would usually find out when I arrived there and had to call Verizon for service. They never ended up coming to the house - the problem was always at some location in town.

All the while, the cell towers were upgraded and now provide a reliable signal. (The local telephone company/cable provider also ran fiber option broadband using some grant money.) Cell phones even work during the occasional local power outage.

WIth a basically 100% uptime for cell phones vs a <1% uptime for landline, I had to concede that the landline served no useful purpose for my situation.
 


What are you paying for FiOS, though? In my calls to Verizon, they were completely unwilling to provide any kind of phone service for any kind of reasonable price, despite their completely false "$79.99/mo." advertising, which in reality was a minimum of something like $140/mo. In other words, I was completely unable to buy phone-only service of any kind for any reasonable price, but it would be tacked onto very expensive FiOS service with TV and other things that I had no use for.
The question wasn't directed to me, but I recently went round and round with Verizon on this issue.

On my upstate NY home, Verizon charged around $24.99/mo. That was POTS/copper service with the absolute minimum. I believe there may be regulations governing that.

Of course, in that area Verizon did/does not have any other services to offer.

Downstate NY, I am in a FIOS area. We have FIOS for internet/TV and just recently dropped the landline portion of the service. Between double-plays and triple-plays and double-super-secret discounts and weird bundles, I don't know if there is an actual "price" for landline phone service. At least not one that they will willingly divulge. The pricing system is a game of three-card monty. They are as bad as SiriusXM. Deleting the phone from my "package" either raised the monthly cost by $50-75 or decreased it by $30-50, depending on who I spoke to.

I believe there are some regulations in place that require them to provide a certain level of telephone service at a certain cost. Having the FiOS connection may get them around that.
 


(It seems that ConEd comes to fix something and pokes a hole in the water line; the city water-line people come and faff the cable line; the cable company comes in and dislodges Verizon's cabling; Verizon comes in and screws up the power, necessitating a visit from ConEd to start the ball rolling again.)
That is a splendid description of the situation. The only thing I would add is that this often happens right after the street has been repaved.

My neighborhood is close to the East River, so the Sandy flooding was significant. Our basements were flooded floor to ceiling; the water came within 3-4 inches of the top step of our stoop. Everything electrical in and around the buildings was severely damaged. The huge Con Ed plant nearby was out of commission. Given the amount of damage, I can’t fault Verizon for ignoring things like POTS lines for a while; they were repairing major problems under the street all over the neighborhood for many months.

But of course, it was also the perfect excuse to just abandon their POTS customers forever.
 


On my upstate NY home, Verizon charged around $24.99/mo. That was POTS/copper service with the absolute minimum. I believe there may be regulations governing that.
I believe that to be a good assumption. It is the same here in FL, $24.99, for basic POTS service. It is all the other service charges and fees, such as charges for having an unlisted number, which have been going up. But the base rate has remained constant.
 



What are you paying for FiOS, though? In my calls to Verizon, they were completely unwilling to provide any kind of phone service for any kind of reasonable price, despite their completely false "$79.99/mo." advertising, which in reality was a minimum of something like $140/mo. In other words, I was completely unable to buy phone-only service of any kind for any reasonable price, but it would be tacked onto very expensive FiOS service with TV and other things that I had no use for.
I live in Newton, MA, which has three competitive internet/cable companies, Verizon, RCN and Comcast, and I pay $112 a month plus change:
  1. $74.99 for the Internet and Phone bundle (no cable TV)
  2. $19.99 for "services and equipment" ($9.99 for the second FIOS digital voice line and $10 for a plan that lets me call overseas for up to 300 minutes without extra charge, which I use in my business)
  3. $17.42 (which varies a bit each month) for assorted taxes and fees.
I am sure the local competition has an impact.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I live in Newton, MA, which has three competitive internet/cable companies, Verizon, RCN and Comcast, and I pay $112 a month plus change...
FiOS business Internet costs $100/mo. here, while Verizon Wireless is $60/mo. for one line and Consumer Cellular is $74/mo. for two lines.
 


We used to have Verizon copper wire for our POTS connection here on Long Island. Over the course of a few years, the system continued to degrade as Verizon stopped repairing/supporting the copper wire system. Eventually, they moved us over to FIOS Voice at the same price we had been paying (currently running about $109/month including taxes and fees).

I asked them about what would happen in the event of a power outage, and they said not to worry because they installed a back-up battery that would last about 8 hours. Then Hurricane Sandy hit, and, sure enough, the back-up battery lasted about 8 hours. They had neglected to tell us that the battery would not last for 8 hours of actual usage, but only for 8 hours of wall-time as it continued to listen for incoming calls. So 8 hours into an 11 day power outage we were without a phone as both the back-up battery and local cell towers began to go down.

We still have that phone line, because my wife likes the "security" of a landline, but at least I don't have to worry about the back-up battery anymore, because we got a whole-house emergency generator.
 



I do not believe someone can get a new account with POTS service any longer down here. Mine is an old account.
There was some discussion a while back about phone companies trying to get regulatory approval to drop support for traditional landlines, but I don't know what has happened to that. I think it was part of a digital transition program that may have got lost in the regulatory chaos of the past couple of years.
 


There was some discussion a while back about phone companies trying to get regulatory approval to drop support for traditional landlines, but I don't know what has happened to that. I think it was part of a digital transition program that may have got lost in the regulatory chaos of the past couple of years.
While the final say is required by the FCC, there has been some movement at the state level in regards to modernization of this infrastructure and the phasing out of POTS access. Illinois is one such state which has already passed legislation.
 


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