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VoIP with Primus — so close

Primus comes tantalizingly close to offering what’s needed

The third article in an occasional series.

After checking out Primus again at the beginning of the month, I noticed its Web site was updated to apparently accept the transfer of local phone numbers attached to an existing DSL service. (Maybe this had something to do with Bell’s decision to offer VoIP in the Toronto-area.)

Finally, I’d be able to ditch my very costly POTS provided by Bell Canada and begin saving a lot of money using VoIP.

Priming the pump

Primus’ TalkBroadband service is able to support the transfer in about a dozen cities so far (and this is likely more a result of the ability for Bell Canada and the other phone companies to set-up dry DSL). So if you live in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, London, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Kitchener, Waterloo, Mississauga, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City or Halifax you’re in luck.

On the application form, I was asked which high-speed service I used (I chose Ontario’s Bell Sympatico), the number I wanted to transfer and the company (Ontario’s Bell Canada) providing my service.

Passing that challenge (and confirming some details about the 911 service — which, because or portability and the Internet-based nature of VoIP, isn’t the traditional service), I was asked to pick my bundle, and select a secondary number from a dozen area codes. At this point, I also activated a fax service (which Vonage charges extra for), and selected a long-distance bundle (which, in the VoIP world, is like selling bottled water in Canada — a clever way make money be selling what’s already free).

Roadblock

So far so, good. But then…halfway down the second page was a notice, underlined with a bold, red header:

Important! Please note that due to the current set-up of DSL service by the majority of Canadian ISPs, customer must keep a standard phone line to continue to receive DSL service.

Did I misunderstand something on the previous page where they asked for both my high-speed provider and my phone provider? Not wanting to commit my credit card to a service I may not get (or worse, that may disconnect my phone and Internet connection) I stopped the application, and looked up the phone numbers.

I debated between calling sales and technical support. I chose sales…