Keeping in touch with family and friends, both at home and in the U.S., will be very important to the success and satisfaction of your time here! There are many ways to stay connected.
Buying a cell phone and activating a service plan in the U.S. is not always easy. This is especially true if you don’t have a U.S. Social Security Number or will only be here for a short period of time. Most cell phone plans require a minimum one-year contract, with penalties for early termination. Alternatively, some companies offer pay-as-you-go plans without a contract, but rates are often higher. If you plan to call internationally, be sure to ask about any additional charges or consider using a pre-paid calling card. More detailed information on Mobile Phone Providers is also available.
Residential Phone Services
Local phone service enables you to call people or businesses in your local calling area without paying long-distance charges. Typically, you pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited calls to phone numbers within your local calling area. Calls placed to other cities or internationally may be subject to additional charges. It is important to understand and compare rates for these services before signing a contract! The two primary providers in the Rochester are: Frontier Communications and Time Warner.
A pre-paid calling card will allow you to place your call by dialing a toll-free access number in the U.S. and entering your account information. Rates are usually charged by minute and vary based on the destination of the call. There are many resources online to learn more about the advantages and what to consider when choosing a phone card, such as this Guide to Buying Calling Cards.
Phone service via Internet
Services are also available that can allow you to talk over the Internet. Skype is an online tool that will allow you to make calls to phones and other users for a low rate per minute or subscription fee. You can also use providers such as Vonage to use a regular telephone with an existing Internet connection.
For students and staff, the University IT office can assist you with all your computer and technical needs while on our campuses. This includes obtaining your NetID, using a University email account, accessing wireless Internet, campus telephone services, and more. You should activate your NetID as soon as possible, which is often possible even before you arrive, since it will be your key to network access and various information systems. If you need to purchase a computer or related accessories, you may view inventory available through the Computer Sales department.
Internet Access Off-Campus
Access to the Internet is available throughout campus, either through a wireless portal (NetID required) or through ResNet in the dormitories. However, if you are living off-campus, you will likely need to pay for access through an Internet Service Provider. The type of plan you choose will depend on your needs (broadband, high-speed, DSL, etc.) and whether you will purchase bundled services, such as phone or cable television. A company technician will usually come to your home to install your services, which usually involves setting up a modem and verifying your connection. Common service providers in our area include: Frontier and Time Warner.
Television & Cable
Local network television stations are available in the U.S. over the air free of charge. However, you must have a digital converter box in order to receive those signals on your television. There are several manufacturers of this appliance, which can be purchased at many retail stores and usually cost around $50. Alternatively, you may also choose to purchase television services through a cable or satellite company. These services offer extended and specialty channels, in addition to the standard channels you could access over the airwaves. Companies have a variety of package deals and often offer a special rate for new customers. Before you sign a contract, make sure you understand the terms of agreement, what you expect to receive, and whether your monthly fees will change over time. Area cable television is available through Time Warner, while satellite companies include Direct TV and Dish Network.
The local newspaper is the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. While many outlets are currently posting information online, printed newspapers can be delivered to your home every day, or weekends only, for a subscription fee. Many national and foreign newspapers and magazines are also available for home delivery in this area. You can also get a free issue of the City Newspaper, which is published monthly and available at many local restaurants, stores and public events.