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FAQs about telecommunications

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We realize the telecommunication and data industry presents people with multiple options and many confusing factors. To help, our Audicon staff has compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you better understand this field and the services we offer. If you have a question and don’t find the answer here, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will do our best to answer your questions and provide you with assistance.

Q: If I choose Audicon to be our telecom and data consultants, can it be my one point of contact?
A: Absolutely. If you choose Audicon to be your consultant, we can handle any and all aspects of your telecom and data services. We will provide recommendations and interface with carriers, vendors, customer service personnel and billing departments. On your behalf, we will even negotiate better service contracts as well as organize and schedule repairs. We are ready to act as your one-stop source for telecommunications and data services assistance.

Q: How much can our company expect to save on an telecom audit?
A: The average savings to our customers is at least 25% but in some instances Audicon has been able to reduce costs by 60%.

Q: What is the difference between flat rate plans and measured rate plans?
A: Flat rate plans charge for each minute of a long distance phone call. Measured plans charge a per minute rate for local phone calls as well as long distance calls. Line charges are often lower when using a measured plan rather than a flat rate plan.

Q: What is the difference between a POTS (plain old telephone service) line and a T1 line?
A: T1 service uses a digital line, whereas POTS uses an analog line. T1 lines offer better sound quality and performance. Though a T1 line normally provides people with better long distance rates, it may require upgrades to your equipment.

Q: Why can't I get DSL?
A: There are often many reasons people are unable to have DSL, and sometimes one customer will encounter multiple restrictions why DSL service is not available to them. One reason for lack of service may simply be your distance from the DSL provider’s equipment. Some DSL services are restricted by the distance their service can travel from their equipment to you.

There also may not be DSL in your area due to the condition of the lines. If poor line conditions exist, the phone company will often install equipment along the lines which improves voice quality, but unfortunately also interferes with DSL service. Poor line condition may also be why you experience static on your phone lines or interruptions in service.

It is important to note that although one provider may not offer DSL in your area, each carrier is different. If one carrier does not offer DSL in your area it does not necessarily mean another provider will not be able to provide you with service. Typically, SDSL encounters more problems such as these than ADSL.

Q: What is the difference between ADSL & SDSL?
A: SDSL is a more professional grade line. It is also synchronous, meaning that the your upload and download speeds are the same. Though both services utilize copper wires, SDSL has its own dedicated line, while ADSL uses a phone line. In addition, SDSL does not share a line with other users in your area - you only share your line with people in your business who are also using it. A dedicated line means your upload and download times will not be slower if many people in your area are online or during peak usage times. Often, ADSL is best suited for residential or smaller business usage.

Q: Is there another solution for high-speed Internet access if I cannot get DSL?
A: Yes. Most cable companies now offer high-speed Internet access through a cable modem. High-speed bandwidths are also available when using a T1 line. Though a T1 connection has fewer limitations than DSL, it is normally slightly higher in cost.

Q: Aren't T1 connections cost prohibitive for a company of our size?
A: No. There are many T1 carriers available and typically CLEC's (competitive local exchange carrier) can provide you with T1 options that are still cost effective for smaller businesses. In addition, some costs can be eliminated when utilizing a T1 line, as it allows for the incorporation of a company’s data and voice communications over one line. Some providers even offer the option to provide a fractional or partial T1 line.

Q: What is the difference between a LEC and a CLEC?
A: The LEC refers to the “Local Exchange Carrier” in your area. For example, SBC/SNET is the LEC in Connecticut and Verizon is the LEC in Massachusetts. CLEC refers to a “Competitive Local Exchange Carrier”. CLECs compete with the LEC and can often provide small to medium-size businesses with the same discounts which LECs provide to larger companies. Some CLECs have their own equipment, meaning they are facilities-based, while other CLECs resell services.

Q: What is the difference between a facilities-based provider and a reseller?
A: A facilities-based provider uses their own switching equipment and network to provide you with telecom and data services. A reseller will use a LEC's equipment and typically offers a small percentage off of the rates of the LEC. Both facilities-based CLECs and CLECs which operate as a reseller will use the LEC's last mile of wiring which comes off the street and into your building.

Q: What is a Federal Access/Federal Subscriber/EUCL charge?
A: The Federal Access Charge (FAC) is often referred to as the End User Common Line (EUCL). FAC is a federal charge associated with the cost of the "local loop", a term which refers to the outside telephone wires, underground conduits, telephone poles and other facilities that link each telephone client to the telephone network. FAC charges vary state by state.

Q: What is the PICC charge?
A: The PICC (Primary Inter-exchange Carrier) is a charge added by carrier providers. The fee is charged for the ability to make long distance calls and only your long distance provider should charge for this.

Q: What is the Universal Service Fund (USF)?
A: The USF is a surcharge which contributes to a fund of Interstate and International revenue. The fund provides federally subsidized, affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services for schools, libraries, and rural health care facilities that meet specific eligibility requirements. It also provides funding for federal "Lifeline", "Link-Up" and "High Cost Fund" programs used to subsidize local telephone services.

Q: What is Telecommunications Relay Service?
A: This surcharge contributes to a fund which provides access over standard telephone lines for those using Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD's), volume controlled telephone hand sets and other compensating devices. These features allow those with hearing or speech impairment to access these communications.

Q: What is Enhanced 911 Service (E-911)?
A: The E-911 surcharge contributes to the costs associated with emergency services which are typically run by local police and fire departments.

Q: What are Gross Receipts?
A: Gross Receipts are taxes mandated by individual states. They are intended to recover a portion of the costs associated with providing telecommunications services.

Q: Who is the DPUC (Department of Public Utility Control)?
A: The DPUC regulates the utilities and carriers within a state. This department is also responsible for passing most of the tariffs and laws which the carriers have to abide by.