Disable Voice to avoid $13 tax

General discussions and other topics.
37 posts Page 1 of 4
by alienhard » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:47 pm
I knew that voice was included in the service, but I didn't expect that this would cost me an additional $13 in taxes (up from $40, that's like +30%).

Unless Sonic has some hidden incentive, I don't understand why Voice can't be disabled for customers who don't need it so they don't have to pay taxes? This would make the service financially more attractive and the $40 ads less deceiving.

Support asked me to "please go to our forums and voice that opinion to catch the ear of our CEO". So I guess if you have the same request, it may help if you leave a quick note...
by 1234 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:05 pm
I suspect the reason is because Sonic can collect the $6.50 universal connection fees IF they provide phone services. That is 100% profit subsidy to Sonic. Without the phone service, they cannot charge that fees and they can't compete with Comcast or AT&T.
by dane » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:07 am
alienhard wrote:
I knew that voice was included in the service, but I didn't expect that this would cost me an additional $13 in taxes (up from $40, that's like +30%).

Unless Sonic has some hidden incentive, I don't understand why Voice can't be disabled for customers who don't need it so they don't have to pay taxes? This would make the service financially more attractive and the $40 ads less deceiving.

Support asked me to "please go to our forums and voice that opinion to catch the ear of our CEO". So I guess if you have the same request, it may help if you leave a quick note...


Voice generates revenue that supports the overall product - for example every time a member makes a toll-free call, we receive payment. We also get some small revenue when members receive calls.

I'd also note that the recent fires in the North Bay have further reinforced my belief that households should have a wired phone for life safety reasons. Emergency services never alerted cell phones, but they did reverse-911 to landline phones. See: https://corp.sonic.net/ceo/2017/11/01/post-fire/

Our voice service includes "Enhanced" 911, which is location enabled, down to the unit number. This means that before the call even goes through, dispatchers know your exact location. See info on this topic, here: https://www.ems1.com/technology/article ... -dial-911/
Dane Jasper
CEO
Sonic
by I *am* a robot » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:52 pm
One incentive is the $6.50 per month “Federal Subscriber Line Charge Fee,” which Sonic is allowed (but not required) to impose and, as the FCC’s FAQ answer notes, Sonic gets to keep.
by igg » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:22 pm
Yep, it's just a shady way to charge us more than the initially advertised price, playing off peoples natural assumption that this tax is mandatory or it actually goes to the government. Welcome to Sonic
by ClearContrast » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:53 pm
I'm going to add my disappointment on this issue. My last bill was $79.41. Less than a dollar shy of DOUBLE the advertised price.

I figured out we were getting charged for our old modem and the new Fiber modem. I called customer service and they had no record of receiving the old modem. It got fixed after checking the installers notes that he brought the unit back with him and I should be getting a refund for the months of unnecessary rental charges. Seems like an easy thing to not let slip through the cracks. Might be something you want to check with other Fiber installs.

Still, minus the $6.50 modem rental and adding in the $10 increase in price this last month my bill is $72.91. About 45% above the new advertised price of $50. I understand there are local taxes and fees and I'm renting the modem which comes with online tech support, which is great, but almost DOUBLE the cost on the trucks driving around the neighborhood is too much.

Please, let customers drop the damn phone line. I used it once to make sure it worked and have never used it since, nor will I. I understand the concerns and benefits of the 911 calls but I live in San Francisco and I don't see the need in regards to Fire alerts. You're not getting any money from me using the line, because I'm not. I'm just stuck getting charged $13 a month for something I don't want or use. I regards to the fires I hope you and your team members are okay by the way. A friend almost lost their home.

I like you and your company. I like that you are in the forums. Your stance on privacy is what got me to switch to you even though I was broke and your service cost more than AT&T. I like your tech support. I understand your company is growing and there will be and have been hiccups but your company has addressed all of them. Except this. It makes your company look and feel like any other large corporation that is disingenuous about their pricing.

Please, give us the option to drop the damn phone. If people want it and use it, they won't drop it.
by ClearContrast » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:37 am
I also just got a notice that the phone line doesn't work in a power outage if you have fiber. One of the main talking points for having a landline in the first place. So now I have to spend $100 for an Uninterrupted Power Supply(UPS) to use the landline during an outage on top of the fact my bill is Basically double the advertised price. Yay.
by sysops » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:01 pm
ClearContrast wrote:
I also just got a notice that the phone line doesn't work in a power outage if you have fiber. One of the main talking points for having a landline in the first place. So now I have to spend $100 for an Uninterrupted Power Supply(UPS) to use the landline during an outage on top of the fact my bill is Basically double the advertised price. Yay.


Yeah that is a big drawback next to a traditional phone line. But if you don't want, there's no need to spend $100 on the Sonic UPS. You can grab yourself something like an APC BGE90M for around $40. If you plug only your ONT into it, you should get around 8 hours of runtime. The ONT's use less than 4W of power.

The main difference is that I think the Sonic backup is a lithium ion battery where the APC is a sealed lead-acid battery: http://www.apc.com/shop/si/en/products/ ... -APCRBC106

Food for thought anyway.
Proud Sonic customer since 1999. Ask me about internet privacy, VPN, anonymity and security.
by evanterry » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:03 am
Dane,

I first want to say that I’m an advocate for Sonic and a customer in various capacities with Sonic for the past 8 years.

I get why Sonic had to provide voice lines with their ADSL and FTTN fusion services as they basically operated as MVNO’s in partnership with AT&T, ran over copper lines. Sonic’s now offering fiber throughout vast areas of San Francisco which you and your amazing team have spent an insurmountable amount of financial investment and time. I can’t appreciate Sonic’s endeavor enough. I have had multiple discussions with friends to convince them to switch to Sonic and I keep hearing the same thing: Sonic advertises at $40 a month but there’s so many fees and taxes associated with the voice line which goes unused.

What happened in North Bay is sad, I am happy to hear you’re helping rebuild the infustructure in those effected communities. However, it in no way will operate better in an emergency than current infustructure of micro cells from multiple cellular carriers spread throughout the city. Even if one carrier’s cell site is not functioning in the users area, their call to 911 is routed to any available cell site. We also have emergency alert systems in place that were not preemptively or effectively used during the north bay fires. When users now sign up for cellular service they also have to select an e-911 address for each line of service, therefor providing emergency services with a valid address in case one is not verbally provided or the recieving local emergency center doesn’t have a functioning e-911 system. I know that most emergency centers, unfortunately, can’t always obtain an address from e-911 and so your point on reverse lookups is valid, it’s not solid. Say a user was at home when they make the call to 911, then the emergency responders will always be provided the default e-911 address to that line of service. So, I’m not sure how Sonic’s VoIP would be better in cases of emergencies. Especially when land line usage and infustructure is shrinking it becomes apparent that services like Sonic should redirect investment in IP based emergency technologies.

Sonic is a private company, so asking how providing VoIP services supports Sonic’s overall Fiber product (not FTTN and ADSL) is something I’ll assume will go answered. I will make the assumption that it subsidizes the cost of the contract between Sonic to use AT&T’s infustructure for FTTN and ADSL services, especially as those customers are switched to FTTH. This seems to be apparent in some of the marketing material for those who sign up for one of those two services in anticipation of fiber being provided at their address. However, Sonic is attempting to brand itself as the antithesis of Comcast and AT&T, and by bundling voice with its fiber service without providing the customer an option of forgoing voice, producing a product in the same schemes of Comcast and AT&T.

I would love to go into the question as to why Sonic gives a $10 credit when you rent a router at $9.5p/month but that’s for another discussion.

But, if Sonic is not willing to forgo its bundled voice line, market it like T-Mobile and create a product with a flat rate of $60 a month if customers provide their router, $70 if Sonic provides it, and make tax included? It would at least minimize the frustration people have around the perceived false marketing and remove the new customer marketing scheme that most people destest.

Just my 2¢.

Evan
by rpr » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:29 pm
Same frustration here. Sonic is sending postcards to my neighborhood telling us that fiber service will be starting soon, and if we sign up now we can get it for "$40/month" for the first year. But then when I looked into it they are still requiring the totally unwanted and unneeded phone component, which adds ~$11/month in Berkeley. Then I learn that the "$40/month" offer really costs another $9/month, because it's only good if I rent the wifi router. Did some very quick searching, and one can find that Pace router unit new on ebay for under $50, so $9/month is extreme. I really want to go with Sonic, I really want to believe that they are a better company, but when they play the same "hidden cost" games as the biggies, my belief is shattered.
I'll certainly be warning my neighbors that the "$40/month" advertisement is basically false advertising.
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