Product Reviews

Thanks Jennifer. We are looking forward to working with you. We will be in touch

Your account has been created

Backup batteries for digital phones are vital—but be prepared to pay

Consumer Reports News: May 02, 2013 09:38 AM

Find Ratings

The digital phone services used by millions of consumers today are likely to quit when the lights go out, as homeowners found to their dismay in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy last fall. These services, which use a technology called VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), rely on a modem to send phone traffic over the Internet, and that modem needs power. A backup battery can keep the modem and a corded phone operational during a blackout, but don't assume your telecom provider has included one with the modem they provide.

In fact, that's less likely than ever, according to Consumer World [PDF]. The Boston-based public service group said Comcast recently stopped providing a free battery for its phone modems and now charges $35 if a consumer requests one. Other cable companies, including Cablevision's Optimum service, also charge for a battery, in its case $30. And most cable companies, as well as AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS, charge about $35 or so for a replacement when a battery fails, according to Consumer World.

Check to see whether your modem has a battery backup, and if it does, make sure it still works. If you don't have backup power, contact your phone provider to request one, or look online for a compatible third-party battery. Of course, you might be able to use your cell phone if your home phone is out of commission, but only if it's charged up and the cell towers in your area are operational.

Eileen McCooey

Find Ratings

Telecom services Ratings

View and compare all Telecom services ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Electronics News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more