This US is clearly ahead in many fields, but telephone services doesn’t appear to be one of them. I think it’s long been agreed that mobile services in the US are far behind their European and Asian counterparts (and this was in line with my personal experience last time there.) But after witnessing my mother’s recent adventures, I’m starting to think this might apply to fixed-line service as well.
Since I was about knee-high to a grass-hopper (yeah, I’m from the south) our family had the same telephone number, with, I think, AT&T service. Nothing special, it worked.
About half a year ago, my mom succumbed to the lure of internet telephony and VoIP. So, she switched to a VoIP provider in the US, and for about the next six months was practically incommunicated with the rest of the world. (Oh the number “gizmos” that failed and had to be replaced.) So, now, she’s switched back to a traditional phone service, but with a different carrier. After losing our family’s longtime phone number, and then getting it back, I tried to call home today. It went something like this:
Robotic Voice: Hi, the number you are calling doesn’t accept phone calls from just anybody. Please tell me your name.
Robotic Voice: Thank you, please hold while we check that it’s ok for you to call.
Robotic Voice: Thank you, please record your message after the beep.
I then called my mom’s cell phone, and she said, “Did you just try to call? Some voice said they were connecting me to you.”