Tag: Voice

Sonic.net Fusion adds unsolicited call blocking

I am very pleased to announce our latest free Fusion Phone feature:

Unsolicited Telemarketing Call Blocking!

This has been one of our most frequently requested features. With our new unsolicited telemarketing call blocking feature, calls from known unsolicited telemarketing callers are silently rejected, saving our members time and frustration. This feature will not eliminate all of the annoying unsolicited calls, but it should reduce the number of unsolicited telemarketing calls that our members receive.
For members who prefer not to participate in this blocking, this feature can be configured in our Member Tools, in the Voice settings. Here are the details on that:
Voice options:
You can manage your Fusion phone line features such as call blocking, voicemail, call waiting and forwarding, plus view usage details. Here is a list of the Fusion voice features and settings which you can manage online:
  • Voicemail settings
  • Call waiting configuration
  • Caller ID blocking
  • Anonymous call rejection (new!)
  • Unsolicited telemarketing call filtering (new!)
  • International toll call blocking
  • Call forwarding

To access Fusion voice settings, visit the Voice section of the Member Tools. Once there, select the telephone number of the Fusion line you would like to configure. If you decide to make any changes, be sure to click “Update” to save the new configuration.

Customer Forum:
If you have questions about using these features or about Fusion telephone service in general, please click to visit our Voice Forum.
Please tell a friend!
As you have probably noticed, your Fusion service gets better as we grow. Membership growth is the key, so I am asking for your assistance: please tell a friend or neighbor about Fusion today.
The Fusion vision is to build the ideal service: fast unlimited broadband with strong privacy policies, plus unlimited phone service and lots of features included free. Thank you for your support as we continue to work to make our vision a reality.


Dane Jasper
CEO & Co-Founder
Sonic.net/Sonic Telecom

P.S.: We also really appreciate your shout-outs, likes and follows on Facebook andTwitter!

Fusion Free Borderless Calling Expansion (sorry, Antarctica!)

Late last year, we launched  “Borderless Calling” for Fusion, with eight total hours of free calls to Canada. We chose Canada because it was our most popular international destination, and this has saved our Fusion members a ton of money on their monthly bills over the last year.

We are now expanding free calling beyond North America, to the top call destination on every continent!

For each continent*, we tallied our Fusion members’ top international destination, and added the most-called country on each continent* to our free Borderless calling list. (Go ahead, click the asterisk. I know you want to. I’ll wait.)

Fusion Borderless Calling now includes eight total hours of free calls to land line telephones in six countries plus four territories. (Calls to mobile phones are still toll calls, except in the US, Canada and the US territories. See international rates for full details.)

Fusion Borderless Calling now includes:

  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • South Africa

Fusion already includes free unlimited calling to all 50 US states, plus US territories:

  • Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • US Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa

As Fusion membership grows, we will continue to add more features, including more free Borderless calling destinations. So please, tell a friend about Fusion unlimited broadband and phone service, now with free Borderless Calling to ten international destinations, all for only $39.95/mo.

Thank you for being a Sonic.net Fusion customer!

The fine print:

For full international call pricing and to look up a rate, see the international rate table.

All calling features for Fusion service are limited to interactive use by our members. You may not re-sell or share the service. For details, see: use provisions.

* Apologies to the roughly 3,687 scientists and staff at the various Antarctic research stations, and even deeper apologies to the 964 who typically stay through the long and isolated winter. I imagine you would really appreciate a call from one of our friendly Fusion members. But, your telephone service is all satellite delivery, so I am going to pretend that you aren’t really a continent. From the perspective of free Fusion Borderless calls to land lines, you’re not. Sorry!

Sonic.net Goes International

Sonic.net’s Fusion Broadband+Phone service is moving into the next phase of expansion:

Free international calling!

To kick off, we announced this week that our most frequently called country, Canada, will be our first free international destination for Fusion residential customers. Business Fusion customers can now call Canada for their domestic rate, just a penny a minute. See my recent article, “O Canada” (yeah, I know, it’s corny) for limitations and all of the details.

This is an exciting new capability for our Fusion broadband and home phone service, and I am really looking forward to seeing how our customers respond to this new feature.

Let us know in the comments, where would you like to be able to call free?

We will add more destinations soon, and the long-term plan is that calling to most countries will be free. Growth in our Fusion customer quantity will determine how quickly this will occur. So, tell your friends about Fusion!

"Anticipation" -- © Robert S. Donovan -- Flickr/booleansplit

Review: Western Electric 302 Telephone

One of the advantages of Sonic.net’s Fusion Broadband+Phone service is that it’s “POTS”; plain old telephone service. This means that all of the devices that you may have used for years on your voice telephone line should still work.

To illustrate this, I picked up a very special Western Electric 302 telephone, built in 1941, and connected it to my Fusion service at home. The 302 is associated with I Love Lucy, and if you look closely at the video, you may catch this phone’s particular connection to Lucile Ball.

Fusion delivers the best of both worlds: traditional DC line-powered voice service, with it’s inherent reliability and e911 capabilities, alongside modern features such as unlimited nationwide calling for home users, modern voicemail with “unified inbox” (voicemail in your email, as well as via phone) and modern voicemail notifications like SMS text and Twitter.

Building on this solid voice platform, we add uncapped and unlimited full-speed broadband, a killer combination! Please help us spread the word!

As for the WE 302 – it’s got great sound quality, a bit fuller and deep than modern phones. The heft is astounding. The metal base and hefty guts in this version mean you would not want to drop the set on your foot. The bakelite handset is also heavy. It has a triangular profile, so you cannot rest it on your shoulder, the classic “holding a phone with your head” pose that’s possible with the more modern WE 500. That’s probably for the best, this means you really cannot multi-task, so it’s a perfect “standing in the entryway talking on the phone” device. When the party on the other end is using the WE 302, you know they’re not multitasking and ignoring you!

The ringer is loud, as you can hear in the video, but in this version, it has no ringer on/off switch, so it’s tough luck if you want to take a nap. The 305 model added this mod-con. I’ve also been experiencing inconsistent problems with the pulse dialing, I suspect this 70 year old unit needs a tune-up. Short numbers like 411 I’ve been pretty successful, but it is a real challenge to get a full seven digit number to dial. I’ll keep troubleshooting and see if I can resolve that.

If you’re looking for a classic rotary or touch-tone phone to put on your Fusion line, check eBay’s classic telephones section. YMMV, buyer beware, really old phones may or may not work, etc. I’d suggest something like a Western Electric 500, rotary or touch-tone. They are a great addition to your household as a phone to use when power is out, and unlike a cordless, you will never find yourself rummaging around the couch cushions trying to find your classic corded phone!

How do you access the lowest international calling rates?

On Sonic.net’s Fusion Broadband + Phone service, the international rates are about average. They’re decent rates, but certainly not the lowest you can find. The reason for this is that our amount of customer international calling is still pretty low. As the usage continues to grow, we will shop rates around and expect reduce them over time.

Meanwhile, some customers have pointed out that our rates are higher than Skype, to which I’ve said, “cool, you can use Skype”.

But, using Skype wasn’t easy from a land line, you had to use your PC. Now, they’ve got a solution for that: Skype To Go.

Skype To Go creates a call-in number in the US for your international contact, allowing you to use free residential Fusion domestic calling to access Skype low international rates. Slick! Note that with Fusion you can also use other international options including pre-paid calling cards which have a toll-free access number.

Obviously, encouraging customers to shop their international calling around goes against the goal of increasing usage so that we can all get better rates. But, for those who are cost conscious and who do a lot of calling to family, friends or business contacts, you might as well find the best rate, while enjoying the reliable high quality landline service that Fusion provides!

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.

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 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.