Verizon is, for lack of a better term, “your father’s Oldsmobile.” Around for decades in various incarnations and identities, Verizon is the good old reliable standby. The traditional service, simply plug a phone into the nearest jack and voila: we have contact.

Comcast  photo
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Comcast Digital Voice, on the other hand, is part of the new school. Using next generation technology, Comcast Digital Voice allows the customer to bypass many of the usual aspects of phone service, including toll calling and other fees. Due to the fact that the service is administered through the Internet, it potentially allows Comcast to offer more features for less.

The keyword is potentially. Unfortunately, Comcast Digital Voice is not nearly the price break it should be, especially when you considered that Comcast offers their own high-speed Internet service product. Unlike some of their broadband phone competition, they can keep everything “in house,” which would theoretically allow for some discounts. To be fair, Comcast does offer some introductory specials for Comcast Digital Voice, but they always come with a time limit, at which point the service then jumps back up to its usual $39.95, which is the same price that Verizon charges for their free long distance phone service. Granted, Comcast Digital Voice has more features than Verizon offers at that same price, but Verizon has an edge in service that more than makes up for any additional cost.

As far as the product was concerned, Verizon was always fairly reliable. One would always know what to expect. By contrast, Comcast Digital Voice was discouragingly inconsistent. Often, calls were either dropped or flat out missed completely. And at times when the connection actually help up, sometimes we had to deal with a loud crackling sound, as if you could hear something being electrocuted. A particularly frustrating experience was often exacerbated by the inferior service Comcast offered.

Now, to be fair, at the time Comcast Digital Voice was a new service for both them and us. More than a few times I was asked to be patient as they continued to try working out whatever issues and problems popped up. The first couple times, I was willing to be nice. However, when the same issue keeps coming up and coming up repeatedly within the span of a few months, patience can easily be exhausted. What made matters worse is that any tech they sent out seemed either unsure of the issue or would provide simply a band-aid solution for that particular problem, which never really resolved anything. Of course, it was only a matter of time before whatever issue I had contacted them about would rear its ugly head again.

Of course, none of the above issues actually deals with the one dilemma when using a broadband Internet phone service. Namely, if you lose your Internet connection in any way, whether via power outage, a modem problem, or any type of issue that causes you to lose service, you will unfortunately lose your phone service as well. Now, this is not an issue that is unique in any way to Comcast Digital Voice. Indeed, each broadband phone service provider I have had has dealt with that issue. However, when you combine that fact with the various issues listed above, one can easily say that Verizon offers better value for slightly more cost.

The only issues I have had with Verizon is in dealing with their customer service representatives. Sometimes, I get lucky and get someone knowledgeable, fast and effective. But at other times, I get someone who is chomping at the bit to get off the phone for whatever reason, whether that is lunch or break or end of day, whatever. I have worked in customer service before, so I do have some sympathy, but that only stretches so much. It was one of the reasons I am constantly looking to upgrade my phone service. I would be willing to say that Comcast Digital Voice service representatives were more service-oriented than Verizon’s, yet the effectiveness of the Comcast Digital Voice reps was limited by their lack of knowledge of their product.

All that being said, I would still prefer Verizon’s phone service to Comcast Digital Voice. When Comcast’s only advantage is Verizon’s relatively poor customer service, well, that is not enough to make up the difference in quality. I would much rather deal with bad customer service with reliable phone service then constantly need to speak with friendly representatives on a cell phone because the Digital Voice service is hiccupping again. Sometimes, the old way is the best way.