Knowing where to look has gotten real easy within the last decade. Instead of a half-hearted effort thumbing through the phone book and calling whoever you happen to find that looks appropriate, or working yourself into a frenzy trying to mine the Internet for potential vendors, all you have to do is contact a telecom broker who represents several dozen providers.
At least a few of these providers will have the right size solution for your needs and be serving your business location or locations. You get multiple competitive quotes and free consulting support, if you want it. Chances are good that you’ll be offered deals you never could have found on your own.
Who is this award winning telecom broker that makes your life easy? It’s Telarus, Inc. They invented, and patented, the GeoQuote (tm) telecom search engine that gives you instant online quotes for everything from telephone trunks to Gigabit Ethernet private line bandwidth. You can access the GeoQuote input form on our T1 Rex website, among others. Go ahead and give it a try. See if the results are better that whatever else you’re finding.
Now that you know where to look, you also need to know when to look. This is where a lot of business owners and managers go awry. The natural tendency is to wait until your current contract is almost up for renewal before looking at alternatives. It may be that you are unaware of the expiration date until somebody from that supplier calls you about renewing for another 1 to 3 years. It could be that someone from accounting put the renewal notification on your desk a month ago but it got lost in the shuffle. It might even be that you know it’s coming up but you’re just too busy to give it any attention. After all, you’re probably getting roughly the best deal anybody else would give you, right?
Wrong! The telecom industry has gotten incredibly competitive since deregulation was implemented decades ago. Time was when you could choose from your local telephone company or nobody to get analog or digital lines. Now there are dozens of competitors, large and small, each with their own service footprint and specialized offerings. A provider doesn’t have to be based in your area to serve your location. Many have installed equipment in local telco offices and lease whatever last mile connections they need to complete your circuit.
The other thing to be aware of is that new technology has multiplied the number of options available to meet your needs. You may have started your company with a few telephone lines and a DSL or T1 line, but now you should also be looking at Ethernet over Copper, MPLS networks for linking multiple locations, lower cost fiber optic connections, ISDN PRI or SIP digital trunks, and cloud hosted services.
Cloud services have become the most sought after solutions to many business needs because they give you the opportunity of paying per user per month rather than a flat monthly lease fee or having to invest in expensive on-premises equipment. Hosted VoIP telephone systems, Software as a Service, cloud storage, managed routers and virtualized servers are all fairly recent developments that could potentially save you a lot of money and meet your needs better than what you’ve been using all these years.
There are lots of exciting possibilities to consider, but you won’t be taking advantage of any of them if your contract runs out today and you have the choice of signing the renewal papers on your desk or going without telephone or Internet service. The time to start the savings process is well in advance. Allowing three months ahead of contract expiration is a good rule of thumb for many companies. This gives you time needed to make contact, get competitive offers, mull them over, ask questions, refine your needs, place an order and give the vendor time to install your new service. If you are looking to connect a lot of branch offices, run lines across international borders or get high bandwidth fiber that needs construction, you should at least be asking questions as soon as you know what you need.
Don’t be shy about asking the vendors to help you define your requirements or customize a solution that does everything you need. Some will come back with off the shelf offers, but there are quite a few today who are anxious to do whatever it takes to get your business. These companies have expert engineering teams who know their systems inside and out, and they have the technical savvy to make sure your network is capable of supporting the high performance bandwidth or latency sensitive voice services you are asking for. Some providers are quite happy to augment or even be your IT department if that’s what you need.
Does this discussion get you excited about looking into new possibilities or a little nervous that you are running out of time? Either way, the best thing you can do is check prices and request information on telecom services that meet your needs at the best prices in the industry.