Alternative to buried line phone service?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by rcnut, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. rcnut

    rcnut Member

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    We are checking into getting telephone service to our new home site - its not going to be cheap. The phone company (Verizon) is telling us we need to run an underground cable from the house to the prop line. Only problem is we have lots of basalt surface rock and the distance is at least 500'. The cost of blasting a trench out that far is cost prohibitive. We thought of having the phone company run their line along the power poles which bring power to the prop, (which we had to dish out $6000 to get that done), but Verizon says they would have to lease the use of the poles from the power co, I am waiting to hear back on what a "lease" would cost. We could probably just go with cell service, but I am not sure what the costs would be there, we have had some of the sub-contractors able to make calls from there so I know some cell service is possible. Thanks for any tips. Mybe we just start writing more letters.
     
  2. devittjl

    devittjl Well-Known Member

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    I would consider going completely wireless?
    With the low cost of these plans you can get lots of minutes, and built in long distance. Plus shared family plans, voice mail, etc. And you would never miss a call (joy, joy!!)

    And with the new number portability laws, you will be able to joy to a new service if you are not happy with the one you are with.

    John
     

  3. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Is putting in your own privately owned poles a possiability? Or just have the phone company install a junction at you property's edge and run your own wire through the trees.
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Maybe getting a cell is what verizon wants you to do? I had a cell phone with them and was NOT happy with it.
     
  5. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Some friends of mine ran the wire themselves along the fence to the phone companys box. 250' of wire for 3 lines was about 80$ at an electrical supply house.

    mikell
     
  6. C and P

    C and P Member

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    check with the cable company about cable modem availability. they might be able to wire it in different than the phone company. then you can get what they call a VoIP system. that's Voice Over Internet Provider. it's just a phone that calls out over your cable line instead of the standard copper line. it's pretty cheap if you look around.
     
  7. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Active Member

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    I was in the same boat, with the phone co. quoting me over $25,000 to bring a single line from the highway a mile to my place. But somebody in a similar situation apparently sued the local carrier, pointing out that they have obligations to provide rural phones. As a compromise they've created a system that sets up a regular telephone on a UHF band. It works great, though they were of zero assistance in setting all the equipment up. The package was free, which was nice, but there's a high per minute charge for out calls.

    The other option was pre-paid wireless, but that got very expensive as both in calls and out calls are charged against your account.
     
  8. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I've got two Phone Lines I don't think they charged very much if anything.Didn't have to go that deep.Plus I have Cell Phone.

    I have DirectWay for my Internet.And why not I have DirectTV to :haha: Isn't Electric neat :D

    big rockpile
     
  9. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Surely there must be another phone service company in your area. My phone company had to trench almost 3/4s of a mile from the nearest junction box to my house and did not charge a dime. They have to provide phone service. The power company also had to put in 5 poles to reach the house with no charge also.
     
  10. William

    William Member

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    I'm 2 miles from phone line, myself. They wanted $21,000 several years ago. I kept a 3 watt cell phone going for quite awhile, but kept getting poorer (starving artist thing) and have not had a regular phone for quite some time. I also think that land lines will be pointless in the very near future. I just signed up with BoostMobile (though I haven't checked it at my property yet; they are on the Nextel system), and I can send and receive e-mail (on the tiny little screen) for $0.20/day unlimited (no freakin', or any other kind, of contract)! And any of my family/friends can e-mail text messages to me for free (differnce is I get a beep and don't have to 'surf' for the message; $0.10 each to send). The hook is that if you use it for a phone you pay $0.25/minute. Anyway, I forgot what the question was. Goodnight :eek:
     
  11. 12vman

    12vman Offgridkindaguy

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    I bought a 5000' roll of buried type wire from Verison to connect me to the phone pole. I ran the wire on top of the ground 2200' and never had a problem yet. It's placed along my driveway so that I don't run over it. The wire is filled with some kind of gell that the varmets don't seem to like very well. The cost of the wire was around $400 and some grunt work to string it out.

    Just a thought...
     
  12. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Rockpile I also have Direcway for internet and tv, how do you like yours and does it go down often when weather is bad? Just wondering cause mine is not as fast as i thought it would be and when I called the gal (after having the system for a year) told me that I really could only expect 50kb upload and about 500kb download. do you find this to be true? TIA
     
  13. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    I LOVE CO-OPS! our Phone company is a Co-op, if the phone company makes a profit, it gets divided out to all the members! :)

    and I'm not sure on the cost, but we did have to pay for the wire from the phone box to the junctionbox.

    Again, Co-ops are great. things get voted on by the customers.
     
  14. Joy in Eastern WA

    Joy in Eastern WA Well-Known Member

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    12vman, do you know if Verizon would have any say so in how we run the cable from our home to the property line? When I spoke with their buried line dept, they made it sound like we would have to dig the trench and lay the cable and then they would come out and inspect it. If we could so something else, like run the wire down the fence line or through trees (or lay it on the ground like you did) I wonder if Verizon would care, or refuse service until we "did it right"?

    It really ticks me off that the phone lines down this road are all overhead... but when it gets to my property line all of a sudden it has to be state of the art buried line.

     
  15. New Mexican

    New Mexican Well-Known Member

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    A bit off topic here, but if anyone is considering a new cell service, Virgin Mobile is great! http://www.virginmobileusa.com/

    We did not want "service contracts" or plans to try to figure out. Plus, with this, your accounts can get "topped off" once your account falls below $5. You have to set it up that way, but this is NO nonsense.

    Even though the site appears to cater to the "younger set", it is what we'd been looking for. We got cloned once (when Cellular One was around) and got immediately turned off to ANY cell service. They ate about $1000 worth of cloned calls. They NEVER told us we were being cloned (CellularOne knew this) and we only found out when we got a bill.

    Anyway, check out Virgin Mobile. They are GREAT!!!
     
  16. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    If they give any hassle, just stick up a little shed at your property line and tell them you want phone service there, then run your own line from there to the house. As long as you put it in yourself you are responsible. Something goes wrong with it, YOU have to repair it.

    When I moved here, had temp shack down by road as I wasnt sure about getting up and down steep driveway year round. Well phone company wanted money to move line up hill so I just ran my own wire. Started with some ancient steel phone wire from an auction. 50cents for big pile or something like that. Animals chewed it up exposing steel which quickly rusted. Then bought big tangled mess of the shielded phone cable with the grease in it at an auction for $3. (Just think of it as a large pile tangled Xmas lights that you earn when detangling it.) Still using it but had to patch it several times (animals chew on it also) and wires are also steel so rust at any patch unless you solder and do thorough job of it. I had to add new run upstairs for computer as mice had chewed old run inside wall somewhere. I didnt have any more phone cable so bought cheap outdoor extension cord and used that. It has worked beautifully. No hassle with it. Anymore if I had to replace line up through woods, I'd use the cheap outdoor extension cord inside pvc pipe and shallow bury it. Copper is much more tolerant of corrosion than steel or aluminum. Think they tend to use steel for phone to lessen interference generated by copper.
     
  17. William

    William Member

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    Sorry for being off topic, but BoostMobile is GSM so you can surf the the net with it (and it also has walkie-talkie to all other Boost/Nextel phones). If you are actually going to use either company (Boost or Virgin) for a cell phone then you are going to be better off with a contract that takes the clock watching out of the equation.

    The math:
    Virgin-First 10 minutes at .25 each (.10 each after that)... $75/month for 10 minutes per day
    Boost-All minutes are .25 each... $75/month for 10 mintues per day

    It does not pay to use these companies as phone services, they are better for text (free to receive, and anybody can send you one from their e-mail account; .10 each to send), which both Virgin and Boost have, or walkie-talkie ($1.50 per day used; unlimited), which Boost has, and checking e-mail by surfing the net with the mini-browser, which Boost has, also.
    William
     
  18. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    I agree with the idea of putting a phone booth size building at the edge of your property and having some phone company install a line to there. heck you could even put a phone in there and a lock on the door! then I would run those phone lines to the house inside of a 2" flexible plastic water line that is meant to be burried. I would burry it as deep as possible where you could and put it above line where you cant. 500 feet/yards of phone cable is pretty cheap and if you ever need to replace or repair you could just pull the new wire through the pipe attached to the old wire from the phone booth! my husband is a retired us west installer and he says this would work just fine!
     
  19. 12vman

    12vman Offgridkindaguy

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    When I went through the phone line thing, It was understood that I was responsible from the pole to my house. They made a tap in the main line on the pole and made a connection point so I could connect to it. They mounted a box about chest level where I connected to. They gave me a box to mount on my house to connect the line I ran to my phone. This gave me a point to test my service if I had any problems. Also there is a test point at the pole in the box they mounted to isolate problems from me to them. They suggested that I bury the line but I never did.

    I would highly suggest to include lightning protection at both ends of the line. In the boxes they gave me there is connection for a ground rod. This protects them and you from static discharge.
     
  20. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    I had two miles of phone line laid back in 2000 for $2250. GTE, who sold out to Verizon, paid a subcontractor to lay all the lines, down the middle (yes, middle) of a county road for a mile. I asked the contractors was I 'responsible' for the lines, in case the county ripped my lines up??? They said Nope, so I didn't worry about it. They laid one mile of the line on my private property, through some very difficult terrain, all the way to my house.

    You might need to talk with a Verizon rep to see what they charge. They should be responsible for installing all the lines, to the junction box on your house, irregardless of what kind of ground they'd be installing it in. At least that's what the Verizon techs tell me....they've had to come out several times to replace stuff in the jct. box. If you start installing line yourself, you're setting yourself up for troubleshooting nightmares in the future.

    Sisterpine,
    I have direcway, one way service...couldnt justify the extra cost for the minimal amount of upload available. Use several different 'metering' programs...single downloads usually in the 150kb/sec, with download programs, can jump to 1.7mb...through the online testing sites, such as http://www.pcpitstop.com/internet/bandwidth.asp I can get between 700-800kb/sec. My only gripe is the 160mb limit before the FAP limits are hit. I can massage that limit and get 600mb/day without the FAP ever kicking in. Sure as heck beats dialup.

    Mozilla's Firefox has an add one bandwidth tester tool. I've switched to Mozilla's Firefox, has a neat tabbing feature, much faster than IE6, built in popup blocker, and not tied to the XP operating system, so more virus proofed...