Tag: Fusion

Drilling Through the Caps

With news about AT&T’s announcement last week that they will be imposing caps on their ADSL and U-Verse VDSL customers, we have received a lot of inquiries about whether or not this will affect Sonic.net customers, and whether we plan to follow the lead of Comcast and AT&T. We are also being asked why AT&T is imposing caps, and about the $10 per 50GB for overage charges. Is it congestion, pricing fairness, or just more revenue?

To be clear, Sonic.net has no plans to impose usage caps on our customers.

Our DSL customers are in two categories: those served on the AT&T ADSL1 DSLAMs via our wholesale line sharing relationship with AT&T, and those on our own equipment which serves the Fusion ADSL2+ Broadband & Phone platform. On our own Fusion network, we have absolute control over policies such as usage caps or bandwidth management.

For our customers on the AT&T wholesale network, we have a contractual relationship with AT&T to deliver broadband service to our mutual customers. I do not expect any near term changes to the policies and terms of that relationship.

In Canada, incumbent telephone companies such as Bell Canada have been working to lobby for legislation that would require all ISPs to charge for usage, including those who obtain wholesale access from Bell Canada. This usage based billing (UBB) legislation has become a political hot potato, with sites like stopusagebasedbilling.com and stopthecap.com carrying the fight.

As for the reasons for the push for usage based billing, Bell Canada CEO George Cope has said, “…as we see a growth in video usage on the internet, making sure we’re monetizing that for our shareholders through the bandwidth usage charges”.

DSLReports.com concludes that the caps that Comcast imposes and which AT&T is launching are “solely designed to cash in on Internet video – while protecting TV revenues.”

This is okay, it is clear, and it is reasonable that Comcast and AT&T should push customers toward their television services.

But here at Sonic.net, we have a different business model. If you like it, be sure to check for Fusion availability in your area.

Fusion Price Drops … Again!

We have just reduced the price for many of our Fusion services, again! This is the fourth major price reduction for our Fusion product line. (See related articles at the bottom of this post for previous reductions.)

Sonic.net’s innovative Fusion Broadband + Phone service delivers the fastest possible Broadband, plus land line telephone service, all for one low price.

In this round of changes, we dropped our prices by $10 to $30. Here are the new rates:

Residential Fusion Broadband + Phone:

  • 1 phone line, up to 20Mbps: $39.95 (was reduced in December)
  • 2 phone lines, up to 40Mbps: $79.95 $69.96

Business Fusion Broadband + Phone:

  • 1 phone line, up to 20Mbps: $60.00 $49.95
  • 2 phone lines, up to 40Mbps: $120.00 $89.95

I hope you like the new rates. I’m particularly excited about the two line bonded service. It delivers twice the speed by using two lines, and new lower prices make it a much better value than ever.

As before, residential service includes unlimited nationwide calling, and business customers get low 1¢ per minute calling, across town or across the country. All the features you need are included, like caller ID, voicemail, call waiting, and for businesses with two lines, hunting/rollover. If you’re not already a customer, check for service availability and sign up today!

Existing customers will automatically see the new rate reflected in their bill shortly. I really appreciate your selection of Fusion at the previous price, and I know you will like it even more at these new lower prices.

As I’ve previously written, these price changes are part of our commitment to continue to improve our flagship Fusion service. We would certainly appreciate it very much if you’d tell your friends (online and offline), neighbors, blog this, Tweet/Facebook it, post Yelp/DSLReports reviews, etc. Your positive endorsement is the best way for us to grow. As you can see, we’re passing along cost savings as rate reductions to you!

This new rate applies to Fusion Broadband + Phone. If you have an older Fusion “Standalone” service that doesn’t have voice, you can retain that product at your current rate. If you would like to take advantage of the new rates, you will need to activate voice. If you’d like to do this, please call us now to start the process. You can reach our customer service group at 707-547-3400.

We have decided not to add voice automatically for these legacy customers for a number of reasons. First, we can port a number from another carrier for you, or let you choose a new telephone number, and we would like you to make this choice. Second, there are taxes and fees associated with voice, and we’d like to assure you understand them. Estimated voice tax and fee information is available, listed by city. Third, Fusion Broadband + Phone requires a credit, debit or pre-paid debit card for payment, so we need to collect that information if we do not already have it on file. Finally, and most important, we must validate that your physical address is accepted by the 911 system when we activate voice.

I continue to be blown away by the customer reaction to our Fusion products. The great feedback we have received from customers all around the Bay Area has been amazing. Thank you! Please keep spreading the word!

Related articles:

Fusion Now Includes Voicemail

The team at Sonic.net is working hard to add more features to Fusion Broadband + Phone. Our next big service launch is voicemail for Fusion customers.

Our default configuration leaves voicemail off, because you may have an on-site answering system and we don’t want to cause unexpected changes. To turn on the voicemail feature and edit voicemail settings, visit our member tool here.

Voicemail can be accessed by phone by dialing *99 from your Fusion line, via your browser on the web, and in your email using IMAP in the “voicemail” folder in your Sonic.net email box.

You can also opt to have your messages forwarded via email to an email address of your choice, but this results in having to listen to and delete messages in two locations, because the messages are also retained in your unified inbox here. Instead, I would suggest using notification and the IMAP folder if you prefer to listen to and manage messages via email.

Voicemail notification options include SMS or Twitter (you’ll need to follow fusion_vm.) With notifications, we will let you know right away if you receive a voice message on your Fusion line.

Fusion Broadband + Phone Price Drops Again

We just dropped the price of our Fusion Broadband + Phone service for residential customers! Previously $50.00, Fusion Broadband + Phone is now priced at just $39.95!

This is an unbeatable deal for Broadband at up to 20Mbps plus land line voice with unlimited nationwide calling. If you’re not already a Fusion Broadband + Phone customer, you can check for service availability here.

Two line residential Fusion (up to 40Mbps and two phone lines) has also dropped, from $100.00 to $79.95. Sonic.net has reduced Fusion prices twice before, opposing the trend of annual price increases by other carriers.

Existing customers will automatically see the new rate reflected in their bill shortly. We appreciate your selection of Fusion at the $50.00 rate, and I know you’ll like it even more at $39.95.

This is part of our commitment to continue to improve our flagship Fusion service. We would certainly appreciate it very much if you’d tell your friends (online and offline), neighbors, blog readers, Yelp/DSLReports reviews, etc. Your positive endorsement is the best way for us to grow. As you can see, we’re passing along cost savings as rate reductions to you!

This new rate applies to Fusion Broadband + Phone. If you have a Fusion “Standalone” service that doesn’t have voice, you can retain that product at your current rate. If you would like to take advantage of the new rate, you will need to activate voice. If you’d like to do this, please call us now to start the process. You can reach our customer service group at 707-547-3400.

We have decided not to add voice automatically for all customers for a number of reasons. First, we can port a number from another carrier for you, or let you choose a new telephone number, and we would like you to make this choice. Second, there are taxes and fees associated with voice, and we’d like to assure you understand them. Estimated voice tax and fee information is available, listed by city. Third, Fusion Broadband + Phone requires a credit, debit or pre-paid debit card for payment, so we need to collect that information if we do not already have it. Finally, and most important, we must validate that your physical address is accepted by the 911 system when we activate voice.

I’m very happy to see the customer excitement about our Fusion product. I really appreciate everyone’s positive feedback and the great reception we have had for the service. Thank you! Please spread the word.

Why include phone?

Recent news (SFGate) on landline phone service isn’t what most in the telecommunications industry would call good; nearly 30% of households no longer have landline home phone service. This is up from around 25% of homes that had cut the cord a year ago. Disconnections are accelerating, with 1% of consumers dropping their landline home phone service each quarter.

In addition, the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the US Centers for Disease Control reports that roughly 15% of those who do have home phone service make little or no use of it! (The NCHS/CDC tracks these stats so they can better understand telephone polling results for public health studies.)

So against this clear trend, why does our newest product, Fusion, include landline phone service?

There are a number of reasons, and I hope the sum of them is enough to make the case.

In designing Fusion, we hope to reset your expectations about both broadband and voice telephone service.

At the core, Americans are fed up with overinflated, complex phone bills. I don’t think customers want to drop home phone service, but everyone clearly wants to stop spending money on overpriced phone service that they make very little use of. In our customer surveys, we have found typical home phone bills in the $25 to $55 range. These bills are ridiculous, and not well justified by actual costs.

Costs are the key to the Fusion equation. Sonic.net uses copper “phone” lines to connect your home or business to our equipment in the central office for Fusion broadband. These lines themselves have the same cost whether they carry data only, or voice and data. This makes the incremental cost of delivering landline voice alongside the broadband data very low.

Second, we don’t use home phones the same way we used to. Most of us take the majority of our incoming calls on our mobile phones. (Note that CDC statistic above!) This makes landline phone service a prime target to terminate, particularly if it’s expensive.

But at the same time, this reduction in minutes of voice calling usage means a reduction in the usage related costs for carriers like us. The fact is that people use landline voice less than ever before, while per-minute usage costs are dropping for carriers. These complimentary trends allow for aggressive new thinking about what voice “should cost”.

These trends let us deliver voice with a difference; Fusion simply includes voice with unlimited nationwide calling for residential users, and for businesses, a simple $0.01 a minute for calls made nationwide.

At the right price, landline phone service is a convenient and useful tool. Landlines don’t drop calls like mobile phones often do, and the voice quality is better so you can really understand the person you are talking to. Landline service is also useful for fire and burglar alarm systems, medical alert systems, gates and call boxes and more. But I wouldn’t pay $35 for landline voice. Heck, I wouldn’t pay $15 for it, and nor should you!

Having a reliable landline at home also offers peace of mind. Reliable 911 service which provides physical address information to emergency responders is a key lifeline, and it’s awful that so many households do without because it has been overpriced. And because landline voice service is DC (direct current) powered from the central office, it works even when your household power is out.

If what I was trying to sell was the same old $25+ landline, I wouldn’t bother, it just doesn’t make any sense anymore. But fast and inexpensive Fusion Broadband+Phone delivers the fastest broadband plus included landline phone. I hope Fusion will help reverse the disconnection trend.

Fusion Standalone Price Reductions

With the simplification and uncapping of Fusion, we are also delivering additional value and cost savings to many of our existing standalone (data alone, without voice service) Fusion customers.

First, I’d like to say thank you for being an early adopter of our Fusion Broadband dry pair service. As we have done in the past, we are committed to delivering you more capabilities and value as we evolve the Fusion service. This means you get the same deal new customers do – up to 20Mbps broadband and phone service, for a simple low price: $50 residential, or $60 for small business.

To provide an example, an existing residential dynamic IP Fusion customer was paying $55/mo for 12-18Mbps capped service, with no voice. Now, with Fusion Broadband+Phone, that rate will be reduced to $50, and the circuit will be completely uncapped for speeds of up to 20Mbps (distance and loop quality allowing.)

Because Fusion now includes voice service, the customer can also opt to have us activate voice service too! The only cost would be the applicable voice taxes and fees.

If you have existing Fusion and would like to activate voice with a newly assigned number, please contact customer support and they can help you select a new number. If you have existing Fusion and would like to port a number from another carrier, we will be ready for that soon, please stand by!

Price reductions and speed cap removal will be completed for existing customers shortly. You do not need to take any action to receive a price reduction or increase in speed.

For customers who do not want to activate voice, you certainly don’t need to, and for customers with rate limited (capped) service at a lower cost than the applicable current price point, your service and price will remain unchanged. For example: 3-6Mbps speed capped residential dynamic IP Fusion was $45/mo. That customer’s bill will remain unchanged at that location unless the customer asks us to upgrade and uncap or add voice at the new $50/mo rate. The choice is yours.

Again, thank you for being a Sonic.net Fusion customer, and please tell your neighbors about our newly expanded service!

Fusion Launch

Fusion reactions power the stars, and the rising star here at Sonic.net is our new “Fusion” Broadband+Phone service. (Direct link: Fusion Residential | Fusion Small Business)

Sonic.net’s carrier class network delivers a number of exciting new products for our customers. One of the most innovative of these new offerings is our Fusion service, which offers broadband access and telephone service without compromise.

Fusion service is delivered without artificial speed tier limits or usage caps. Fusion can deliver up to 20Mbps with a single line, or twice the speed (up to 40Mbps) with two lines bonded.

Fusion combines traditional landline phone service with the latest ADSL2+ broadband and bonding technology. There are no complex speed choices and no artificial speed constraints.

Just select the number of phone lines you need, and we will deliver the fastest possible broadband along with landline telephone service.

Fusion is a simple and exciting concept; a powerful combination of data and voice service elements.

To learn more about Sonic.net Fusion Broadband+Phone, visit www.sonic.net and select Solutions for Home or Small Business.

Upcoming Fusion Product Changes

In the near future we will be improving the Fusion product, moving to a fast and simple configuration that delivers more capabilities at a very aggressive single price point.

This new single product will offer broadband as fast as the line will go (uncapped ADSL2+, up to 20Mbps), plus nationwide voice telephone service, all for one flat fee.

Current customers with standalone data only service will be invited to add voice at that time as an upgrade.  For some tiers, this would be a small additional cost, for others it will be a wash or a cost reduction from their current price.

That said, if you are absolutely sure that you do not ever want voice and that you prefer one of the slower “capped” speed tiers of service, you should order now.  The tiered products will only be available for sale until the new flat rate service launches.

Once online, customers who are on one of the various tiered services (1.5, 3.0, 6.0Mbps products) can retain those speed capped services, or upgrade to uncapped with voice at their option.

Questions? Post a comment and we’ll try to get them answered!

Fusion with voice

Bell Speaking into Telephone, 1876

I had a conversation today via Sonic.net Fusion Voice at my home. Very cool. Telephone is old news, but it’s still really exciting to be able to do it ourselves! It’s one big milestone in being a carrier.

I enjoyed this:

In 1877, construction of the first regular telephone line from Boston to Somerville, Massachusetts was completed.

By the end of 1880, there were 47,900 telephones in the United States.

Source: About.com – Telephone History

You can learn more at Wikipedia about the telephone and Alexander Graham Bell.

Fusion Annex M available for testing in Santa Rosa

For Fusion customers served out of the two Santa Rosa central offices (COs), we now support Annex M ADSL2+ profiles, in addition to the standard Annex A. Switching to Annex M can provide higher upstream speeds of up to 2.5Mbps per pair, though generally at the expense of some amount of downstream.

The Annex M profile option is in beta test, and the capability may come and go as we wrap up the deployment, so please do not rely upon it at this time. Your loop may not perform better with Annex M than with the standard Annex A profile. We encourage you to experiment and select the profile that you prefer for stability and speed. Loops which prove not to work well with Annex M cannot be “fixed” to do so, and an Annex A profile should be your expectation if the loop is unreliable with a Annex M profile. Loop performance is influenced by many factors.

Due to the decrease in downstream speed associated with switching from the Annex A profile to the Annex M profile, we anticipate that it will be something users may wish to turn on and off as needed, for example before a really large upload or off-site backup. Today, our customer support group can turn on Annex M in the network, and then you can enable and disable it in your modem in order to turn on and off the Annex M support. In future, we anticipate releasing a member tool that will allow you to toggle the setting in our network, allowing you to avoid changing your modem settings locally each time.

For more information on Annex M and details on how you can enable it, see the Annex M FAQ.

Annex M support will be coming to our other central offices in the near future.

For those interested in details about the technology, you can read more on Wikipedia about Annex M, and about ADSL2+.