So, my experience (brief though it was) with HughesNet Voice...
1. Hardware installation and setup was a snap. Worked fine right out of the box.
2. Call quality was relatively poor. It is apparent that there is a HUGE amount of compression going on, which has the effect of making all the other peoples voice sound muddled.
3. Experienced frequent call disconnects and "Can you hear me now?" moments which reminded me of the early days of cell phones.
But, despite those issues, I would have been willing to roll with it in order to realize the savings over a landline copper wire connection. The killer, for me, was my inability to register my account at the HughesNet Voice Web Portal. This portal is where you go to port your old phone number from your previous carrier to the Hughes telephone provider, and also to manage various features of your HughesNet Voice service. Without access to this, you have a phone line with features that you cannot manage and control.
The issue I experienced was that the Voice Portal would not recognize my SAN as being valid and therefore I could not register for access to manage my account and port my old number. I spent nearly 3 weeks with Hughes Advanced Technical Support trying to fix the problem. Instead of fixing it, they made it worse by breaking other things that were previously working in my setup. Eventually they fixed the things that they themselves broke, but were never able to resolve the original problem. They pointed the finger at Big River Telephone, their voice provider behind the scenes. Numerous problem tickets were submitted up the line to them and may as well have been set on fire since none of them were responded to. Finally I gave up and cancelled the service.
I would also like to point out that my experience with the technical support was hideous. Everyone was very nice and tried to be helpful, but everytime I would call it was like I was starting all over again. I would repeatedly have to walk them through the problem I was having like it was the first time they were hearing about it. Their system for taking case notes and handing off calls from one technician to the next stinks since no one seems to know what the previous people have had explained to them or done about it. In the end, we settled into a cycled of "Call, Re-explain the problem, be told they were working on it and please call back in 2 days". Rinse and Repeat. After 2 weeks of that, I had had enough.
HughesNet Voice is NOT ready for prime time, the call quality and reliability itself is in no way satisfactory for business purposes and only marginally satisfactory for home/personal use, and if you happen to be one of the unlucky ones who turns up a problem in their setup, God help you (because Technical Support certainly won't).
It's too bad really. I liked the concept of a VOIP that was optimized for satellite use, but this experience not only turned me away from ever trying that again, but it is a huge step backwards in my overall HughesNet experience (I had been very happy with Gen4 in general) and now has me praying for the day I can just dump Hughes and get on a terrestrial system if that opportunity ever presents itself.
... and an extra word aimed specifically to the HughesNet folks... Once upon a time I worked for you guys in El Segundo. There is a little bit of me in those satellites. Here's the real problem (not just with the Voice service incarnation but HughesNet in general). You folks are a group of extremely talented very fine engineers saddled with a layer of breathtakingly incompetent bureaucracy and management. It doesn't matter how elegant the design or sexy the hardware is if the end-user experience stinks. Good intentions are fine, but the bottom line is the results. Every support tech I dealt with was courteous, professional, and attentive. But it isn't the words they speak that matters, or their attitude, it is the results. And the result in my case was no joy.
Now, I recognize full well all the unique challenges to a satellite-based system and the relatively limited target audience you are competing for. And the assets in space (and the ground support infrastructure) are very expensive. This makes it difficult to turn a decent profit. That was always the Achilles heel of the concept. But you have to recognize in turn that your customers are basing their experience with you in comparison to their experience with terrestrial systems that are turnkey, operate flawlessly, and don't have the kind of bandwidth and other limitations that you do. It makes them a tough audience to satisfy. As I noted before you made a lot of very fine progress with the Gen4 rollout, but if my experience with the Voice service is in any way typical, then you need to spend more effort getting it right because it will wind up hurting your core business. Remember the old saw "Penny wise and pound foolish"? It applies here.
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