Well, I finally did it! After being tied down by the AllTel phone company monopoly in Elyria, Ohio for the past 10 years, I started a plan to rid our household of their service.
Where I live, because of the zones that AllTel has set up, almost everything is considered long distance. I have a small family with "less than average" telephone useage (in my estimation) and a telephone bill that has been rarely below $80.00 per month. Unfortunately, in Elyria, there is only AllTel as the local phone company. Can't use some of the great deals I've seen out there for combined local and long distance service - for example, SBC provides my mother in Cleveland both local and unlimited long distance service for $39.99 per month.
I have been watching Vonage almost since they came out with their VOIP service. I can't tell you how many articles I've read, forums I've visited, etc. just to get the best information I could on the service. Now they offer 911 service, 7 digit dialing in your own area code, and a reduced monthly fee of $24.99 for unlimited and local calling. I get voicemail, caller ID, 3-way calling, call waiting, and other enhanced features - all included in the monthly fee.
The VOIP operates via a voice terminal that attaches to your broadband internet connection. A telephone is then attached to the voice terminal and voila! The installation was simple and took only a few minutes. I had a dial tone and was calling within 30 minutes of opening the box. I got a great deal at Radio Shack - they currently offer the Motorola voice terminal for $79.99 with a $50 mail-in rebate. I signed up at the store, paid for the initial month of service, and was on my way. Vonage is waiving the activation fee if you activate at Radio Shack when purchasing the voice terminal.
So far, we have had great service. We are using a wireless phone with wireless extensions, so there are phones in different rooms of the house - all connected to the Vonage service. We've trimmed down the AllTel service to bare basics until the end of their billing cycle, then will disconnect entirely from AllTel.