Pricing and the elderly
I had been appalled for quite a while that my elderly mother in FL was paying $50+ taxes/fees for a landline that provided her with local only calling. I finally decided to do something about it. I went down there last year and set her up with the same VOIP system I had been using. She hasn't had to pay for internet because her assisted living facility provides community WiFi. So I gave her my modem, ordered her Comcast internet along with Phone Power VOIP. The combination came out to substantially less than the $50+ she was paying AT&T, gave her unlimited everything (and because she could now call long distance, we were able to downgrade her to a bare bones cell plan that cost $8.57, which added to the savings even further).
The one problem is that if (really more of a when) her internet signal dropped for a couple of seconds, which is to be expected every now and then, her call would drop (as anyone can attest to, this is especially aggravating when you've already been on hold for a long time for one thing or another). While she does have a cell, she is not very good with it. She can make a call just fine, but sometimes can't get to it fast enough to answer. And if a voicemail is left, she cannot figure out how to listen to it (if she's even aware of it to being with).
So I'm looking to switch her back to a traditional landline, for which AT&T has a monopoly on where she is (huge problem with the entire telecommunications industry). There really needs to be some type of provisional pricing for the elderly, who can't be expected to be all that adept with today's technology. If you're going to charge a 90 y.o. woman a total of $56, you darn well should be including long distance with it. Or at the very least, provide a more reasonably priced local only plan, so the difference can be used to put her on an unlimited cell plan for long distance calling. She was essentially paying $56 to call within her facility because that's where most of her friends are. As far as I'm concerned, this is an abuse of capitalism, especially for the elderly who don't have the options younger people have because of their inability to adapt. Not to mention a reliable form of communication is all that much important for people with health issues. If she's having some type of crisis (something that has happened a couple of times over the years) and her cell signal is weak at the time for some reason or another, she has no way to contact family.
I was wondering if anyone else out there with an elderly parent might have come up with a solution that I have not thought of.
Sorry for the wordiness, but I've been badly in need of rant about this.
Thanks in advance for any assistance anyone might be able to provide.