Choosing Your Phone Service Provider in Portland, ME
Are you a business owner who is in need of putting in a phone line for your office or building? If you are, you have more options than previous business owners did years ago. While we all love the use of social media to promote our business services, most customers still use the phone to call in orders, ask questions and voice concerns, to name just a few reasons. You will need a reliable, dependable phone service provider when you own or operate a business in Portland, ME, so understanding your choices is important before you make your final decision. You can choose between a VoIP or analog phone service when you are looking for a phone company that will work with your company. Understanding the differences and similarities first will help you make an informed and educated decision that will benefit your company for years to come.
What is Business VoIP Service?
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it is the most advanced type of phone service available in Portland, ME. VoIP phone service offers business customers an alternative to using the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) with an analog line. VoIP has been around for over a decade. In the last few years, the service has become more popular as more businesses are making the switch from PSTN to VoIP.
The main difference between PSTN and VoIP is the way in which the calls are carried. A PSTN service offers an analog signal to carry the call, while a VoIP digitizes the calls and carries them through the internet. Before choosing a VoIP service you must make sure that your internet service can handle the bandwidth required. You can use the Wirefly Internet Speed Test to check this. Sending and receiving data from the internet is much cheaper than using the phone network, and if you make frequent long-distance or international calls your phone bill can rise very quickly. However, with VoIP service you will find that the cost of each call is significantly lower to that of a PSTN provider. As well as offering a significantly cheaper service, many VoIP providers also offer a flat-rate package that allows you to make unlimited calls to certain locations without worrying about per-minute charges.
There are many features regularly included in business VoIP service plans. Most Portland, ME providers offer the regular PSTN services such as multiple extensions and caller ID's, as well as offering other interesting features like remote access to voicemail, ring groups, fax-to-email, call forwarding and many other useful add-ons that will ensure that you get the best service for your business's needs.
VoIP service providers offer many different plans. Whether you are a small company with only five lines, or a large corporation with hundreds of extensions, there is likely a VoIP service provider in Portland, ME that will offer you a plan that is suited to your needs and budget.
How to Find a Business VoIP Service Provider
In Portland, ME, VoIP has recently become very popular, as more and more business owners are realizing the benefits to this type of service after comparing it to traditional analog services. This means there are many providers that sell VoIP packages and who will compete for your business. This may seem confusing at first, but it is actually something you can use to your advantage, as you won't have to settle for just one company.
To begin, decide what features you absolutely have to have for your business. This may depend on how much you can spend for your phone service; if you think you will be expanding in the near future you will want to have the right add-ons. You'll definitely want to include call waiting and caller ID on your list, as these are basic features most companies need to use.
Look up the different offers from various VoIP phone service providers in Portland, ME. See what features they offer, how much they cost, and how well their company is doing. Consider their reputation before you make a decision. Having a working phone system in place is extremely important for your company, so you will always want a provider that has a good reputation and provides excellent customer service.
What is Traditional Business Phone Service?
As stated before, PSTN has been around for years and is what many people think of when they wish to choose a company. PSTN, or public switched telephone network, was the first kind of phone service ever available. It is used all over the United States and runs over cables, telephone lines and satellites, as well as mobile networks. You may think this type of service would be less expensive since it has been around longer, but this isn't the case.
Since the infrastructure that PSTN runs on is older, it requires ongoing care and maintenance to keep it running. This causes the service charge to use it to cost more for business owners. Plus, the service is analog, making it more difficult to send data further distances. When you make a long distance telephone call in Portland, ME over PSTN, the data goes through numerous locations and stops along the way. Since the data goes through many different companies, the charge is more. The analog connection is the last step between the local office and the customer, known as the “last mile'. This is part of the reason the price is higher.
PBX Systems: What Does This Mean for You?
Most Portland, ME businesses use a private branch exchange, or PBX, to route the calls that come through their company. The PBX is what allows the company to enjoy the different calling features, such as voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding and more.
When a company uses a traditional PSTN phone system, they must have a PBX, which can be located either at the company or at a remote location. But it doesn't matter where the PBX is located in terms of cost, as it is still very expensive to use. When you first need to set up the whole phone system, you'll be required to purchase a number of pieces of hardware. Your initial investment could cost at least $1,000, if not more. Other necessary steps, such as installation, configuration and future maintenance, will not be included in your initial purchase price. Therefore, if you need to hire a service technician to fix a problem, you will be paying at least a $100 an hour for them to come out to you.
Additionally, a traditional PBX system in Portland, ME may need upgraded or expanded in the future, which can be both difficult and expensive to do. Since many PBX systems don't support more than a few different phone lines, if you need more extensions in the future you will be required to pay for the hardware to install them.
A PBX system can also experience breakdowns and issues after being installed. If it does, you will again be responsible for paying for the repairs and any hardware costs that your company needs. There is also the chance that your system could become obsolete at any time, forcing you to replace it.
Business Phone Service Providers in Portland, ME ZIP Codes
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