"Hold the mayo" -- "Hold the phone"

General discussions and other topics.
12 posts Page 1 of 2
by dei.peter » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:23 pm
I'm a new Sonic internet customer. I was surprised that on my first bill there were about $10 in taxes for the landline that was automatically bundled with my fiber optic internet service. I did not ask for a phone and will not use one... I only need the internet service. Yet 20% of my monthly bill will be going to federal and local taxes for a telephone I'm not using.

When I contacted Sonic about this I was told that they bundle phone & internet though they are thinking about unbundling this in the future. Forcing a customer to take a landline (and pay the taxes for it) when it is not needed seems counterproductive to me. It's not as if the extra $10/month I'm paying is going to Sonic... it is going to government entities to pay for a service I'm not using.

I'm not one to complain about taxes. I happily pay income, property, sales, gasoline, and other taxes. I consider that a valid obligation of citizenship. But it's crazy to pay taxes for a telephone I don't have, don't use, and don't want.

Anyone else feel this way???? I hope we can convince Sonic to unbundle these services for those of us who don't need a landline.
by dei.peter » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:15 am
Have you ever asked the waiter to "hold the mayo" on your BLT? You're still paying full price for the BLT and that's okay. You save a few calories and the restaurant saves a few cents on the mayo they don't use. It's a win-win situation.

I'd like to ask Sonic to "hold the phone." I need internet access but I don't need a landline. I'd be happy to pay Sonic the same price but I don't want the landline.... just the internet. Sonic saves a little by not having to provide landline service and I save a little by not having to pay federal, state, and local taxes on a landline I don't need. Again, a win-win situation.

Is this a radical, controversial formula, or just common sense? I hope Sonic will come to see it this way and offer this option to those of us who want internet service without the landline.
by m.harmon » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:28 am
We have been discussing the possibility of data service only but there are a number of complications with it. One of the more significant parts of the situation

It wouldn't lower the price of the service - data alone would cost as much as voice+data today.

Quoted the full thread here but you can see the original viewtopic.php?f=14&t=6675

We have discussed here elimination of the voice line, because for those who do not use it, the tax is significant. It wouldn't lower the price of the service - data alone would cost as much as voice+data today.

But with the FCC's reclassification of internet access as an information service, in order to use copper lines we are required to include a telecommunications service - and voice telephone qualifies. So that's added a new imperative for us on this topic.

I'll also say that the fires last year reinforced for me the usefulness of a voice line for the home. Our members got reverse 911 calls notifying them of evacuations, which were key for life safety. And when someone in your home needs help, the "enhanced" part of e911 means that first responders receive your full address, including the apartment or unit, before the call even completes - with mobile they just get a location estimate. For children or the elderly, who may be unable to describe where exactly they are when calling from a mobile phone, that's a good thing.

We've also worked to make the voice line as useful as possible - for example, it includes free calling to fixed lines in over sixty countries, as well as all of the voice features such as caller ID and voicemail. We even include robocall blocking, at no extra cost. For those working from home, or even just conducting an important call domestically or internationally, a high-quality voice line can really be a joy to use.

We also have a goal of product simplicity. By having just one configuration, it simplifies our operations, which reflects in lower costs overall for our members. So, unlike an incumbent operator who might charge separately for not only voice service but also voice features, long distance, a fax line, etc - we try to incorporate everything into one simple price and package.

For all of these reasons, for the foreseeable future, our Fusion product, on copper, fiber, or IP Broadband, will remain as the name says, a Fusion of both data and voice services. I know that's not a perfect fit for everyone, but that's the path we've chosen.
M. Harmon
Sonic Customer Support
by dei.peter » Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:27 am
Thanks for the reply. I do understand your reasoning. I perhaps didn't make it clear, but I'm not looking for a reduced price for internet without phone. I'm happy to pay the price I'm paying now. Just irks me to pay taxes on something I'm not using (i.e., the landline). So I still hope this policy changes one of these days.

Other than that, I've had Sonic internet service for about a month now and am completely satisfied.
by please hold » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:56 pm
m.harmon wrote:
We have been discussing the possibility of data service only but there are a number of complications with it. One of the more significant parts of the situation

[b] It wouldn't lower the price of the service - data alone would cost as much as voice+data today.

Interesting. So you would raise the price of the service so much that it would be just as expensive having all the taxes? That doesn't seem fair.

Right now my service with voice is about $73 (about 13.60 tax). All things equal, without voice it would still cost the same? Or would it be $60? I'd much rather have the $60.
by dane » Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:07 pm
Yes, roughly speaking. Phone service provides supportive revenue that would need to be replaced, so it's not as simple financially.
Dane Jasper
by dei.peter » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:05 pm
Doesn't' make sense to me. The $13 is going to taxes not to Sonic. So why would you need to replace that "revenue?" It's not REVENUE FOR SONIC it's TAXES!
by dane » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:25 pm
Phone service does generate revenue, in a variety of ways. A few examples include toll free calls, and incoming calls, both of which Sonic is paid for. International calling, at least to mobiles, is also a revenue source. And some taxes like local county property tax would go un-reimbursed were it not for the voice service. It’s not a net zero.

I also feel that having a local voice line adds to member safety. With a 911 call, only a landline can provide responders with the actual address, including unit number and floor. So if that saves a life, perhaps that’s worth something.

Another big part for us is simplicity. Having a single product configuration helps with sales, marketing and billing complexity, so adding more flexibility would increase costs too.
Dane Jasper
by dei.peter » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:41 pm
As I said before, after 1 month of using Sonic internet service I'm a very, very happy customer. Being able to "chat" with the CEO gives Sonic a lot of extra credit in my book. I'm very appreciative.

That said.....

Sonic will not generate "extra revenue" from phone service from a customer (like me) who doesn't want a landline. I don't even own a phone to plug in. So the extra $$ I'm paying is just going to taxes and not to Sonic. Again, I'd gladly pay Sonic's full price for internet/phone but just don't want the phone or associated taxes.

As for a landline being a "life saver"... that's maybe a one-in-a-million possibility. Can't rule it out, but it's not on the top of my list for safety features. Besides, I'd have to endure 10 spam phone calls every day (which is why I canceled my landline with AT&T many years ago). It just wasn't worth it. We have two cell phones and that's plenty. Besides that, I happen to be a licensed ham radio operator. So I can (and will) provide communication for my entire neighborhood in the event of a disaster. Even with cellphone service, landline service, and electricity all down I can still communicate very easily via ham radio.

Corporations spend money all the time doing customer surveys. And this is a great forum for you to collect information on what your customers want. So all you need to do is listen. Many of us don't want a landline. We are willing to pay exactly as much as those customers that want both phone and internet. We just don't want to pay taxes for something we don't use.

Again, I really appreciate Sonic's willingness to engage and listen. THANKS!
by dane » Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:00 pm
dei.peter wrote:
Again, I really appreciate Sonic's willingness to engage and listen. THANKS!

Thanks for that. While we may not agree on some of the choices on product design and pricing, please know that your feedback is heard!
Dane Jasper
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