Advanced Telecommunication Services

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Advanced telecommunications services in the U.S. were officially recognized as essential in the late 1990s, within a provision in the 1996 Telecommunications Act that calls for their rapid deployment to all American businesses. Section 706 of the Act commands the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the various state commissions to pass laws that encourage the continued rollout of high-speed services to consumers in all 50 states. Since the bill's passage, deregulation of the telecom industry has spurred on fierce competition in the broadband market, increasing competition and paving the way for cutting-edge developments such as VoIP technology--changing the way mid-sized firms and large corporations do business.

Advanced telecommunications services are about much more than universal DSL and cable connections, though. The mandate also calls for support of convergence initiatives that recognize the changing nature of telecommunications and, more generally, data-transmission of all kinds. The lower the hurdles for companies pioneering new telecom technologies, the sooner the average American business owner will find these products and services affordably priced and suitably packaged for businesses of many different sizes.

The Evolution of the VoIP Market

IP (internet protocol), the system by which information is sent and received over the Internet, is almost invisible to most Web users. The amazing thing is that it's not just graphical information that can be sent in this format. Speech, like pictures, can be broken into ones and zeros and beamed around the world using this same type of protocol. Therein lies the secret to IP telephony, the latest development of the advanced telecommunications services industry. This process is more commonly referred to as voice over IP, or VoIP, and represents the wave of the future.

Small to mid-sized businesses have the most to gain from the expansion of VoIP technology. Providers have begun to understand that running a small business is about finding the simplest solution to the problem at hand; oftentimes, this solution is outsourcing. Outsourcing a company's communications system is a smart move for many reasons, chief among those the ability to avoid spending precious capital that needs to be invested elsewhere.

Hosted VoIP solutions can free up capital and resources. Not having to buy, install, and troubleshoot an expensive phone system on-site means that small business owners will have more time to concentrate on making their businesses profitable. Savvy VoIP providers have taken communications packages one step further.

VoIP and Wireless Communications

Some providers have found ways to make wireless communication easy, allowing users to migrate between offices while still receiving and viewing emails, schedules, and contacts using nothing more than a PDA that never needs to synch up with the user's computer. Now that the technology and packages like these are available, it's time to tally up all your technological needs and see how many can be accessed from a single provider.

The provider you choose will be dependent upon that provider's costs to services ratio. Take a close look at what each provider offers. What sort of customer service is available? How many data centers do they have, and are they equipped to deal with emergencies? Do they offer exchange hosting and mobile office solutions? If not, you may want to keep looking. The point here is that since you can find packages that contain all this, why settle for one with less?

Industry research is increasingly positive when describing the cost-effectiveness of VoIP solutions. Years ago, the poor quality of phone conversations dissuaded many people from signing up for VoIP solutions. This caused providers to take a look at their networks, fixing the problem at the source. Now, having emerged from that rocky beginning, hosted VoIP providers have begun to expand their operations from basic services to packages that attempt to anticipate the needs of businesses.

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