Finding the Right T1 Provider
Telecommunications contracts can be much like a marriage and as we all know there are good and bad marriages. The fact is, when you enter into a telecommunications contract with a T1 providers for reasonable amount of bandwidth or voice service you will have to enter into a long term contract. Telecommunications contracts for T1's and T3's typically range from 1 years to 3 years. Anything longer than a 3 year contract is usually only seen in very large applicatons like OC3 and OC12 or complex frame relay connections with many nodes. While the term of the contract will not be a problem if you have the right provider, the contract could prove extremely burdensome with the wrong provider.
We suggest using a broker to walk you through your options and show you the providers and services available. A broker or independent agent can help reduce the time it takes you to shop around for a T1 provider by asking you the questions once and searching through multiple providers to get the service that is right for you. The agent helps steer clear of the bias you will receive when speaking with one vendor as the agent will be paid no matter which service you choose. As the agent doesn't work with a specific provider like AT&T or Sprint, he or she will not push you in that direction if they are not right for you.
Remember that the T1 provider you select will be your partner for quite some time so take caution in your decision. The worst part of being with a bad provider is the fact that it will affect your business. Dropped calls or an internet connection that goes down can be disastrous to a business. We found that the larger companies like AT&T and Sprint will release companies from long term contracts it if is shown that the voice or data T1 service was faulty on a regular basis, however the release from such a contract will not help recoup the damages of the lost calls and e-mails from the poor service. When shopping for a T1 provider we suggest using a broker and asking for referrals from current customers to give you an indication of what you can expect.