Back in the days before super fast BB and multi-channel cable TV, most of us used BT for a land-line phone. For this service we paid a "line rental" which was presumably to cover the cost of the supply and maintenance of BT's hard-wired infrastructure - telegraph poles, cables to house etc.
Currently I use Virginmedia cable for BB, TV (both excellent) and land-line phone. What I cannot understand is why I still have to pay £15 per month for a "line rental". What exactly is this elusive item? Surely there is no extra hardware or cabling required to use a phone when you already have a BB and TV service, and the amount of extra bandwith required is absolutely tiny. My monthly charge is approx. £55, and almost half of that is to make a few phone calls? How can Virgin charge £15 per month to rent something which does not actually exist?
How can Virgin charge £15 per month to rent something which does not actually exist?
It does 'exist' in the same way the BT phone line 'exists'. You have two wires coming into your house. One carries the TV and Broadband, the other is the Phone line which connects to an exchange in the same way a BT line connects to an exchange. They both have a similar infrastructure so have a similar charge.
Telephone service is provided by cable operators using a figure of eight cable where one side carries the broadband signal and the other is made of two pairs of telephone cables.
There are ways to make the broadband cable carry voice but the quality requirements of simple voice telephony are so low that it is easy to make the combined cable and use well-established technology at each end.
This means that the cost of establishing a network is cheaper for a cable operator because one installation of the actual cable serves two purposes.
There is, of course, a cost to Virgin in providing the capacity for voice telephony but the answer to why they charge £15 a month for this is 'because they can'.
I do actually have TWO wires coming from the box on the wall outside. One goes to the Phone socket and the other feeds the TIVO box and via splitters, the other HD box and Broadband Superhub. Don't know what feeds the outside box from the roadside cabinet, but its perhaps as you say, a dual purpose cable.
My broadband drops in speed because of Virgin's throttling policy and local faults. I rang them and was assured that it was nothing at my end. I've just checked and I actually have 3 cables (1 phone, 1 TV and broadband and 1 TV only).