I hope this post is appropriate for this group. If not, would appreciate your redirecting me.
I'm helping out my 80-something mom in Massachusetts (Arlington -- suburban Boston) with her phone service. Actually, my aim is to get a DSL line installed in her condo, send her a netbook, and have someone there set it up so that we can Skype each other. She's never used a computer and I don't expect her to use Skype for ordinary long- distance calls -- only on the specific occasions that she and I connect.
I'm searching for the least expensive options for her land line phone service, long distance and Internet service. Verizon appears to be the main man in her area. They have a number of package deal combinations, but I'd like to see whether it makes sense to "un-bundle" the various services she needs.
Here's my question: in the past, when I lived in the DC area, Verizon (and formerly Bell Atlantic) allowed you to select your long distance provider, and to have that company carry all of your long distance calls automatically when you dialed a long distance number from your home phone. The carrier's portion of the bill appeared on your monthly statement. For example, I could choose to have AT&T as my long distance provider, and pay their rates rather than Verizon's. I sent one check to Verizon, and they in turn paid AT&T for their charges.
For a long time now I've been using dial-around services for my long distance (actually, I'm now using a MagicJack with acceptable results), but for my mom, it's a bit too much to have her dial an access number. In searching for rate comparisons for long distance providers, I've not found very much. AT&T listed a rate of $2.99/month plus 10 cents/min.
thanks Al Fairfield, Iowa, USA