Cogeco Digital Phone Service

We had the CogecoDigital Home Phone service installed last week, and Ithought it worthwhile to document for searchers who might belooking for information on this service.

As we already subscribed to Cogeco’s high speed internet, the installer basically came in and disconnected the Bell copperpair from the internal twisted-pair network at the demarcation,replaced the cable modem in my office with a new, bulky,VoIP-equipped modem (bulky because it includes a small UPSbattery at keeps it running for 8 hours of power outage. Of courseI could extend duration longer via an external UPS, which I wasconsidering for the office anyways), and then ran a phone line fromit to a nearby phone jack, thereby providing phone service in thetraditional way on the other jacks in the home.

Installation was absolutely painless and quick, and the internetpart of the equation is better than ever (download rates come inat just under 900KB/second. I was super happy when it was150KB/s, then 300KB/s, then 600KB/s, then 750KB/s, and nowthis). 

The phone service is absolutely superb: There is “local” callingthroughout the continental North America, around the clock, at noaddtional charge, which is a huge feature, and the service includescaller display, voice mail, 3-way calling, and so on. Operationsare almost identical to Bell (e.g. the voicemail system has largelythe same controls), and voice quality is indistinguishable from anormal old phone line — the quality is perfect, and there is noapparent latency (I was expecting a cell-phone like latency –which leads to people not accustomed to cell phones talkingover each other — and was surprized that it doesn’t seem to haveit).

The technical information that I’ve seen is that Cogeco hasdedicated channels specifically for voice, using QoS technologiesto ensure that voice always gets priority, and there areno outages or hiccups because you’re downloading the new bundle ofWindows service packs.

I feel foolish that we’ve taken this long to sign up for thisservice. While I worked for Bell Canada for a while, and hugelyrespect many of the people who work there, I have no love lost forthem as a customer. Personally I find their billing practicesreprehensible (such as the continually change “First Rate” plan,the rewriting of prime-time, or the fact that they charge you asmuch as possible, but if you consider switching providers suddenlynew discounted rates will appear. I have great distaste for thatsort of “as much as the customer will bear” type of billing). We’vebeen very satisfied Cogeco customers for almost five years now, andnow they’ve grown from our internet, television (including digitaland movie networks), to also being our phone provider.

Amazing how much service is being shipped down that coaxialcable. I remember the arguments years back, debating ADSL versuscable, when the naysayers were convinced that soon enough everycable modem user would suffer under tremendous overuse on the”shared” medium. I’m still a very happy customer.

[Given that people usually only bother posting negative reviewsand impressions, I’ll add the following statement: I received noconsideration by Cogeco for posting this positive entry, and I’mnot biased towards them in any way — I don’t own Cogeco stock, andI’m not friends or family with any of their employees oragents]