Telecommunications giant Bell Canada this week began notifying consumers that it is raising phone rates in the New Year.

Effective January 1st, 2011, Bell will be increasing the cost of calling features by $2 per feature. Basic features such as Caller ID and Voice Mail will now cost homeowners a whopping $10.95 per feature per month!

The price of other popular calling features will such as Call waiting and Visual call will rise to $8.95 and $16.95 per month respectively.

The price increase is the second one announced this month for Bell Phone and internet customers. Earlier in November, Bell announced that it would be doubling the maximum amount it charges high speed internet customers for exceeding their bandwidth cap from $30 to $60 per month.

Bell customers looking for an alternate POTS (plain old telephone service) to reduce their telecommunication costs may wish to consider Primus Telecommunications or Teksavvy Solutions which offer monthly Internet and Telephone packages for significantly less than Bell.

More tech savvy readers may also consider VoiP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone service from Vonage Canada or For example, Vonage now offers a $30 a month calling plan which offers unlimited local and long distance calling within North America plus over twenty calling features including VoiceMail, Call Waiting with Caller ID, Call Forwarding, Caller ID Block, Call Return and Anonymous Call Block.

Discuss the Bell Phone and Internet price increases in Digital Home's Bell High Speed Internet and Home Phone discussion forum . Discuss alternatives to Bell in our Canadian Internet and Landline discussion forum .