If you're planning on changing business phone and internet service providers there are a number of items you should be aware of.
You can keep your phone numbers. In order to make the telecom marketplace open to competition it was crucial that customers be able to retain their phone numbers. The process of moving phone numbers from one provider to another is called porting and in almost every circumstance a phone number can be ported.
Your service shouldn't be interrupted. Your new services will be activated while your old services are still operational. Then your phone and IT vendors do their part and you're transitioning to your new services. The amount of down time shouldn't be more than a few seconds per line, or the amount of time it takes your phone vendor to connect each new line to your phone system.
Your new business phone service provider won't touch your phone system. You'll need your phone service vendor on-site at the time of the installation to complete the cross connect. Your new phone lines are terminated at a punch down block. From there, your phone vendor needs to connect those lines to your business phone system.
You might need your demarc extended. If you're having a new integrated service installed, most likely you'll need your demarc moved from your building's Telco room to your computer room. That's because the service provider is delivering your service using an Integrated Access Device (IAD) – a type of router that separates your voice and data services. From the IAD, wiring extends to your computer network and your business phone system. Even if you already are utilizing an integrated circuit, the new carrier will deliver their service on a separate circuit. That occurs so you won't experience down time during your service transformation. Otherwise, the old circuit would need to be brought down in order to establish your new services.
You'll want your IT vendor on site. Your IT vendor needs to make sure the proper ports are open in your firewall and that your IP addresses are configured correctly.
Ditch your fax. If you're going through the process of moving your services, you might as well change the way you receive faxes also. By utilizing an eFax service, you won't need to pay for a phone line or maintain a fax machine; your faxes will go straight to your email and you can retain your current fax phone numbers.
You'll want to notify your building's property manager. You can provide access to your suite and computer room, but your new carrier's technician will most likely need access to your building's Telco room. The only way to assure that there will be access is to make prior arrangements with your property manager. Otherwise, the carrier tech could not access your order, requiring it to be rescheduled, along with rescheduling your phone and IT vendors. Or, you'll end up paying your vendors to sit around while you're chasing down your property manager and the key to your building's Telco room.
One of the phone companies (e.g. AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink) will be involved even if you're using a different provider. If you're installing a T1, integrated T1, PRI, POTS, DS1 or OC circuit, most likely the incumbent phone company that services your area will need to install the local loop. The local loop is the circuit that connects your location to your carrier's point of presence and the local phone company delivers it. If a phone company tech shows up when you're expecting a tech from a different carrier, don't send that person away. If you do that, your installation will be delayed.
You want to cancel your old service AFTER your installation is complete. As soon as your new services are operational, contact your old service provider and cancel your services. Don't contact the old carrier before your new services are in and working. If you do that and anything goes wrong with your installation, you could be out of service. If you don't contact the previous provider, typically they'll keep billing you, even if you're not using their service. Most carriers require 30 days notice, so most likely you'll be paying for overlapping service.
Make sure you can cancel. Read your existing service contract to make sure you won't be facing any termination liability or something like an auto renew didn't kick in.
There are costs associated with many of these items. In order to budget appropriately and conduct an accurate cost comparison between your existing and potential new services, it's important to be aware of their existence.
If you would like help procuring any new business phone or internet service and managing their installation, contact Carrier Bid today or complete the form on the right side of this page.