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                                           How to Shop for Commercial Bandwidth

If you run a business, your bandwidth is often the life line of your company. It facilitates virtually all communication within your company, and to and from the outside world, including your customers. Bandwidth is required for voice (telephone), Internet, video conferencing and networking between company locations.  

Is your bandwidth mission critical?

Since bandwidth is mission critical to most businesses, and probably yours, here are a few questions you might want to consider.  

Has your company been using the same telecom services for many years? Or, do you, at least yearly, assess to ensure that your bandwidth provides your company the most efficient solutions for the best possible price? These questions are important because like the computer industry, the telecom industry advances at a staggering pace each year. What might have been the best solution a year ago, may be obsolete this year from the standpoint of effectiveness.  

Technological Advancements

Also, as with the computer industry, telecom prices on average, continue to go down significantly each year. For example, a T1 circuit that cost about $1000 dollars a month, ten years ago, can now be replaced by new technology that will provide up to ten times the bandwidth, for less cost than the t1 prices you may be grandfathered into. For another example, if you last shopped for long distance prices five years ago, you may be paying as much as five cents per minute. You can now obtain both long distance and toll free for as little as a penny a minute.  

And for yet another example, five years ago, in most locations, your only option for local phone service was your local phone company. This often resulted in a monopoly scenario. Local phone companies could charge whatever they wanted for local phone service because they knew that there was no competition. Because of this, local phone service was very expensive. Now, because of technological advances, nationwide providers can provide local phone service. This healthy competition has lead to drastic improvements in the cost of local service.  

Does your local telecom provider have a conflict of interest?

Here is another question you may want to consider. When you assess your bandwidth options, do you count on your local telecom provider to offer the advice that is best for your company? And trust that their advice will be unbiased and based on your needs, rather than their offerings. Or, do you talk to an impartial consultant who can consider and recommend from the offerings of all telecom providers that serve your area? This question is important for several reasons.  

If you are relying on the advice of a single provider, that provider will often recommend services that they offer, not necessarily the services that would best meet the needs of your company. Each provider’s offerings are unique and limited. If your company actually would be best served by a service that is not offered by the provider with whom you are talking, this provider will often be reluctant to refer you to another provider who can better meet your needs. Instead, they often attempt to convince you that you need what they can offer. What you need, and what a single provider can offer, are often not the same. Unless you are an expert in the industry, you may not recognize this. You are an expert in what your company offers, but probably not an expert in telecommunications.  

Also, if your local provider does happen to offer what your company needs, but knows that you are “loyal” to them, and not consulting with others, this may be perceived as lack of competition, and result in less than competitive rates for the services you order.  

Consultation is free.

Because independent telecom consultants are often compensated by providers for referrals, many consultants provide their services to businesses for free. If the consultant can offer the services of all providers who serve your location, than for free, you can obtain expert unbiased advice, and be in a position where providers must compete for your business. For a free bandwidth consultation for your business, please complete the short form at the top of this page.  

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