I promised a number of folks that I would do a blog on this as soon as the port of my home phone # using OBi Phone http://www.obihai.com/ and Google Voice http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html
When completed, the result is a FREE (no monthly charge) phone system in your home with your existing home phone number.
Here are the steps:
- Since Google Voice will only port from a cell number, you FIRST have to port your landline to a cell number. A cheap TracPhone is one way. I had an old Verizon Phone that I use in areas where AT&T reception is bad, and used that.
THIS WAS THE HARDEST PART OF THE PROCESS!
A form has to be filled out and MAILED in for Verizon to do it. From what I understand, "your mileage will vary". In my case I mailed it in on Feb 8th, and on March 5th our charter provided land line just quit working in the AM. By the PM I had a message from Verizon indicating that the phone # had been ported. I believe they charged me $20 for this, but again, your mileage may vary ... check it out before you buy the "TracFone".
- I then went out to my Google Voice account and requested that my home # (now on my Verizon cell phone) be ported to replace my Google Voice number. This was all online, easy and is a one time $20 charge. They do the port in TWENTT FOUR (24) HOURS!!!
- I had already purchased my OBi100 from Amazon for $40 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LO098O/ref=oh_details_o07_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I proceeded to hook it up to my network as per instructions, and link it to my already existing Google Voice account and within like "15 min" had OUTGOING phone working just fine.
I could have done this step as soon as the phone quit working and immediately had outgoing call capability.
- Today 15min short of 24 hours later, I got the notice of "Port Complete" and was able to dial my home phone number and get Google Voice message service. It took me awhile to mess with some parameters to get the home phone to actually ring. In my case I had to add a forwarding option to a Google Chat rather than my Cell ... which seems wrong, but it worked. Based on the forums, it appears there may be some rough edges in getting the ring to work, but then again, for many it just works. Nothing too deep and dark, just a bit "tweaky", but no more so than many computer / cell / home cable - Satellite TV things.
For $12 a year you can even have 911 support on the phone! https://www.anveo.com/e911obi.asp?sid=7a4cb8cccb15dd687c7e016bd01d995e
I found the following article very helpful to get me started:
Google Voice: a step-by-step primer on ditching your land line while keeping your number | Page 4 | ZDNet: