With more rural communities receiving access to high speed internet service, competitive alternatives for business phone service have opened up via VoIP providers. The benefits of lower costs and advanced calling features have finally started to make it to these communities, although it’s not entirely ubiquitous at this point.
There are a few things to check before making the switch:
1. If you are receiving a DSL connection from your current telephone provider, you will need to see if they are willing to only provision a DSL connection without voice lines into your business. Phone companies serving the urban areas have conceded that maintaining some revenue from the customer is better than losing the customer all together. The pricing may be higher than a DSL circuit bundled with voice, but they still face competition for their internet with cable and other providers. In the rural areas, monopolistic tendencies still exist, so the local telephone company may be reluctant to unbundle their DSL.
2. Check your DSL speed. It’s been a victory for the rural communities to secure access to high speed internet, but the upload/download speeds may not be sufficient enough to support VoIP telephony. See our previous blog post on “How Much Bandwidth does a Business VoIP Phone Service Require?” for more details about checking and sizing your bandwidth requirements.
3. If you have access to high speed internet via cable modem, check your upload/download speeds at various points in the day to ensure you have consistent speeds sufficient enough to support your VoIP call volume.
4. Validate that your VoIP provider can port your phone numbers and provide service local to your community. Your VoIP provider may not be entirely ubiquitous nationwide.
If you have satisfactory answers to the research above, congratulations, you are now in a competitive market for your phone service! This will significantly improve the rates you are paying for phone service as well as open up a variety of advanced communication features that will help set you apart from your competition!
Now the business of selecting the right VoIP service provider begins. Check out our previous post on “5 Things to Consider When Selecting a VoIP Service Provider”.
We hope this helps. Please comment.