Every business needs dial tone. If you need dial tone you need a network service provider. Years ago, you had no choice. If you were in Illinois Bell territory you chose Illinois Bell. If you were in GTE territory.. you get the picture. The next generation was dialing 10-10 plus 3 digits to get an alternative long distance carrier. MCI was 10-10-288, Sprint 10-10-333 and so on. You still had no choice for local service. Today the choices are many. The more choices you have, the more you need to know. Here are 3 things to consider when choosing a network service provider.

1. Features. If you are a small company with basic needs. VoIP to analog lines may be the most cost effective choice. Do you have bandwidth requirements and want to project your company as being larger? Dynamic PRI with Direct in Dial numbers (DID’s) may be the solution. Are you mobile and always out of the office? SIP could be the solution.

2. Price. Once you decide the feature set required, get a side by side comparison of the competing carriers. Take note of costs for local calls and long distance packages. Unlimited long distance is meaningless if all your calls are local. Be wary of signing a contract longer than 36 months. The technology is changing rapidly and so are the pricing models. Read the fine print for early termination penalties. It will be worth the eye strain.

3. Support. You will need support from your local provider. If your service is VoIP based, internet speeds can play havoc on your call quality resulting in jitter and latency. Your ability to stay connected is also affected. If your service is not being provided over coax or fiber, it is using the telephone company’s wiring between their central office and your company’s location. These poles and wiring could have been installed before rotary dial was invented. Maintenance on these is always an issue. This “last mile” can result in static and cross talk especially in inclement weather. You need an advocate to make your problem their problem.

The solution is to deal with a company tied to a Master Agent.  Unlike a network service provider sales agent, a Master Agent represents many carriers. They can sift through their portfolio and find the best combination of features and price. As Master Agents, they have more clout with the carriers than a single customer would have. Since rates are tariffed, that is, set by the state utility commission, the cost quoted by a Master Agent and a sales agent of the carrier are identical. At Select Telecom we are partnered with On Track Communications who are Master Agents for over 40 carriers. Whether it’s simple dial tone, MPLS or a dedicated fiber connection to Beijing, we have you covered. Give us a call. You’ll find that the solution may be as simple as 1,2,3.

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