Making the most of local exchange carriers means saving money on telecom expenses and getting the services your business needs. Choosing a carrier can seem overwhelming, since there are many choices among local exchange carriers.
Local exchange carriers may be either Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLEC) or Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILEC). CLEC companies have existed since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which deregulated phone service. ILEC companies are the carriers that were in place before deregulation. In addition to standard telecom providers, other carriers like cable and satellite providers may also offer local exchange service. To choose among local telephone carriers:
1. Evaluate small and large providers for local phone service;
2. Look at alternatives to standard telecommunications technologies;
3. Hire a consultant to get expert guidance on choosing a provider.
Compare local phone service providersGet information from all the service providers in your area before making a choice. Compare services and rates among small and large providers.
Federal Communications Commission also offers a list of telecommunications providers.
Check out large providers that act as local phone carriersMost large telecom providers offer local exchange services. Often they provide advanced technologies for phone service, like fiber optic and other high-speed services.
Look at technology alternatives in local exchange telephone carriersMany local and national providers offer alternatives to traditional telephone service, like cable or satellite offerings. Services can usually be bundled to save money and consolidate bills.
Hire a consultant to help choose a local telephone service providerA telecommunications consultant can assist with analyzing current services and evaluating local exchange providers. Consultants are experienced with dealing with telecom providers and familiar with the services available. They will assist with choosing solutions to save money on local and long distance service. They can also provide guidance on purchasing and implementing equipment and software to manage your phone system.
- Evaluate your business' needs and preferences when choosing among local carriers. Small providers may not offer the most high-tech services, but often provide excellent customer service and account management.