Rather than a set of rules that can be changed regularly by the FCC, Congress may soon vote on a new bill that would set net neutrality down as a matter of law. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) recently introduces the “21st Century Internet Act,” which would ban blocking, throttling and paid prioritization, while eliminating all questions of jurisdiction.
The bill would modify the Communications Act of 1934 (greatly built upon by the 1996 Telecommunications Act) and add new stipulations specific to internet providers. Rather than debating whether the FCC has authority to write the rules or not, and then quibbling over the rules themselves, the act codifies the rules as law and sets the FCC as the official watchdog.
"The fight to keep the internet open belongs in Congress, not at the Federal Communications Commission"
"The fight to keep the internet open belongs in Congress, not at the Federal Communications Commission," he said in a statement. "The American people deserve to know that their elected officials, not unelected bureaucrats, are fighting for their interest. That fight begins with my bill, which will create an ‘internet constitution’ with the foundational elements of net neutrality."
IN short, the bill would put to rest the question of whether the FCC wants to have net neutrality rules or not — net neutrality would be the law and it would be the Commission’s job to enforce it.
Some are praising the bill, including Vimeo and the National Association of Realtors. Critics believe broadband providers will oppose the bill saying they've pledged to follow the rules voluntarily.
We will continue to monitor the bill. Subscribe to our newsletters to learn more.
Your business may be overspending on telecommunications costs. According to Gartner Research, billing errors could represent as much as 14 percent of telecom spend. Telecom consulting firms have reported that billing errors were discovered in 81 percent of their client base – in multiple cases exceeding 20 percent of invoice. Yet 85 percent of companies do not audit their telecom bills, but simply pay them in full.
In order to shed light on your business’ telecom expenses – and reduce costs – ensure that anyone handling your telco accounts has Key Performance Indictors (KPIs) that match growth strategies. In addition, regularly review needs and usage in International calling costs, handset/hardware costs, and data consumption and charges.
Conduct an internal audit to review historical pricing and review the presence of unused products/lines that are incurring charges. Audits can uncover things like:
On an ongoing basis, consider current products and which will be the best fit and which will reduce costs and maintain or improve operational efficiencies. You won’t be able to realize telecom cost reductions by being complacent, but Simplified can help by performing a full audit to identify problems as well as opportunities.
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Evolving technology allows Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to provide better services for customers, and many will compete for your business by offering better internet plans. While this can be to your advantage, especially if you’re struggling with your current service provider, switching to another ISP is not a simple matter. Here are five things to understand when considering a switch.
A reliable internet connection is essential in today’s world. If you’re ready to switch internet service providers, Simplified can help you choose one that’s right for your specific needs.
While about half of small businesses in the U.S. experience a cyber-attack, a whopping 87 percent of business owners think they’re not at risk. A data breach can be devastating; half of small businesses who experience one are shuttered within six months.
The good news is there are some easy things you can do to protect yourself from hackers who can not only steal money and customer data, but also employee details and vendor information.
It’s imperative to build a strong cyber security plan. By using data breach basics, you can help protect your business from cyber-attacks.
Contact a Simplified Agent today to learn how we can help protect your business
Although most often associated with Bitcoin, blockchain’s potential far exceeds digital currency to include a host of other industries, including telecommunications. The technology allows digital information to be distributed but not copied. Because a blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location, the records it keeps truly public and easily verifiable and therefore difficult for hackers to corrupt. This technology will be applicable to telcos networks in a variety of ways.
While blockchain is poised to disrupt typical business operations, unanswered questions about regulatory frameworks, security and privacy issues, and more still exist. Perhaps the biggest challenge of the new technology will be for telecom service providers to identify optimal entry points.
Have questions about the benefits of Bitcoin?
One of business owners’ most dreaded projects is rebidding their telecom services and negotiating a new provider contract. Simplified has helped hundreds of clients navigate this often-complicated process, and recommends the following tips when negotiating a telecom contract:
Having contracts in place makes it easy for a carrier to count customers and ensure predictable revenue. But telecom contracts are to your advantage as well. They eliminate guess work when conducting service audits and help to verify that your accounts are being billed correctly.
Call your Simplified agent to find out more about how your business can benefit from telecom contract negotiation services.
Whether your company is B2B or B2C, 10 employees or 1,000, communication is an essential component to your success. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider your decision to choose a new business phone system.
There are three main types of systems:
Private Branch Exchange (PBX): these systems operate through phone lines, but because digital technology has almost completely replaced analog, PBX isn’t available to companies that don’t already have a system in place.
Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange (IP-PBX): this system switches calls between Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP or IP) users on local lines, while allowing all users to share a certain number of external phone lines.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP): VoIP connects calls via the internet through a browser on your computer. Because it’s a softphone, VoIP eliminates the need for traditional or SIP phones.
Each of these options provide pros and cons, which you can learn more about by downloading the Simplified guide to business phone systems here.
We all have a horror story of calling a business with a question or issue. From long hold times and endless routing options to downright rude agents, it can seem like customer service is no longer on most companies’ radar, much less the top of their to-do lists. The good news is that companies who get customer service right can easily differentiate themselves from the competition. As a business owner, it falls to you to set clear phone etiquette expectations and provide regular training for employees. Start with the following simple do's and don'ts.
Be Consistent: Everyone in your company should answer the phone the same way. Provide a script for all employees. Keep the “hello” short and include your business name as well as the employee’s name. “Hello, Bob’s Widgets, this is Sam” will suffice
Keep Quiet: It can be difficult, but staff should never interrupt a caller who has called to complain. Train employees to listen to the entire problem, no matter how long it takes. This makes the customer feel cared for and can usually diffuse the situation
Please Hold While I Transfer You: Train every employee on how to use your phone system. Everyone should know the basics, like hold and transfer. If necessary, post cheat sheets next to every phone
Provide Information:When an employee has to put a customer on hold or transfer to another person, let her know what’s happening. Train staff to give the customer a description of what they're going to do, as well an estimate of how long it will take. For example: "Mrs. Johnson, here's what I'm going to do. After we hang up, I'll immediately call the supplier. It may take me a day or two until I reach the right person. Then I'm going to tell them I need another Widget for you in purple,” and so on.
Smile: It’s true, you can actually hear a smile. And, when you’re on the phone as opposed to face-to-face, your words and inflection are even more important.
Vonage recently introduced its SD-WAN solution, SmartWAN, available to small and medium-size business (SMB) customers using the Vonage Business Cloud. SMBs are now able to run their cloud communications using public broadband connections with Quality-of-Service (QoS). The Vonage SmartWAN service is fully integrated into the company’s cloud-based unified communications services and provides full path QoS for voice and video calls. What’s more, the services are offered in a tiered bandwidth structure, enabling customers to tailor their investments on a per-location basis.
SD-WAN is an architecture that has grown in popularity over the years, largely as a way to create a network connecting branch offices in different locations. In 2015, Vonage launched its SmartWAN, geared toward enterprise customers that use voice, video and data communications for business operations. Since then, nearly 40 percent of the company’s deployments have included the service.
To learn more about how services like SD-WAN may benefit your small- to medium-size business, contact Simplified Communications today.
Like many industries, from healthcare to insurance, trucking and finance, Telecom has its share of acronyms that can be confusing and frustrating for those new to the industry. If you’re considering a new phone system for your business, here are the four types of phone systems you need to be familiar with in order to make the best decision for your business.
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