Cheapest possible landline plan in New Haven, CT
November 6, 2011 4:22 PM   Subscribe

What's the cheapest possible land line phone service plan for a very light user available in New Haven, Connecticut?

My mom just dropped her land line but realized she still needs to connect the burglar alarm system to something. What's the absolute cheapest way to do this? She could switch to a wireless alarm system but that seems unnecessarily expensive. Verizon has a $3/month plan that would be perfect, but they don't appear to serve New Haven. The next best I found is $10/month from a VoIP provider called Lingo. Is there anything better?
posted by phoenixy to Technology (7 answers total)
You might be able to claim low income, and get a local-only service at a significantly reduced rate (assuming the burglar alarm is tied to a local number). I did that a few years back (as a college student, in California), but I don't recall much, if any, verification of income.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:39 PM on November 6, 2011

We used AT&T - we got just a landline with no free local calling (3 cents a minute) for about 7-8 dollars in 2009 in New Haven. But with taxes this added up to more like $15.

Which might be worth it if you are already getting Internet from AT&T - Internet with no telephone was about the same price as Internet with the basic line.
posted by jb at 6:13 PM on November 6, 2011

VoIP will probably not work the burglar alarm because the modem tones get mangled by compression, the same way fax machines do. Also you probably want the reliability of the Plain Old Telephone Service for an alarm rather than a finicky VoIP system.
posted by ChrisHartley at 6:12 AM on November 7, 2011

I would also recommend against any kind of VoIP phone for that. In addition to possibly not working on a good day, the VoIP will go down if the internet goes down.

I would call the local phone company and ask them if they have a pricing plan for alarm systems.

I would also call the alarm company and see if they know of an option. I don't know what wireless alarm service costs, but I would half-guess that it might not be all that expensive. You will probably be on the hook for buying a new interface box, but I can't imagine the monthly cost could be all that much unless the alarm company or the cell company is trying to make wireless some kind of upsell.

A possible alternative would be to get some kind of pre-paid cell service like Boost, where they charge low or no monthly fees. You'd still be on the hook for the interface box, but as long as you kept up on the cell account so minutes don't expire, it should work.

(Also, does the alarm connect to the alarm company, or right to the 911 service? Because if it connects right to 911, you might be in luck, as I think it is mandated that even disconnected lines must be able to dial 911.)
posted by gjc at 6:57 AM on November 7, 2011

Thanks. I think I will follow the route of calling the alarm and phone companies, and looking into a bundled phone/internet/cable service. I checked AT&T but their cheapest plan is $21/month (seriously, AT&T?) and I don't think my mom would qualify for the low-income plans.
posted by phoenixy at 8:35 AM on November 7, 2011

Make sure you are getting a real POTS phone in a bundle deal - often it is VoIP. And yeah, land lines are absurdly overpriced.
posted by ChrisHartley at 9:08 AM on November 7, 2011

I don't know if AT&T puts their cheapest plans on the internet; call to check. We were only paying $7-8 dollars (before Tax) in New Haven in 2009, but this plan may not have been advertised (we talked directly to the salesperson).
posted by jb at 9:41 AM on November 7, 2011

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