Prices Continue to Come Down on Integrated Products
Wednesday August 20, 2014,
06:50 am ET
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 20 /Patrick Oborn/ --
The digital universe, and the way people connect to it, is changing. Small businesses, in
particular, are discovering new high-speed Internet and telecom options that are now
squarely within their budgets. Through a myriad of mergers and acquisitions, telecommunication
providers have greatly enhanced their integrated T1 products with features that businesses
can't live without, all while dropping the price to about half of what they were just
two years ago.
From 1997 to 2007, the average cost of a POTS (plain old telephone service) line from the
Bells has hovered in the $50 - $80 per month price range. During this same time period,
integrated DS1 (digital signal 1) lines - which is the equivalent of 24 standard lines -
have come down in price from $1000 per month to $400. Small to medium size businesses
who have more than 5 phone lines can now actually save money by upgrading their service.
"The average cost of a business phone line from the Local Bell Operating Company (ILEC) has
remained constant for the past ten years" noted Edwin Jones, a senior market analyst and
telecom industry expert. "At the same time the prices of T-1 lines have declined from near
$1000 per month to a staggering $350. Keeping in mind that a T1 connection is the equivalent
of 24 regular phone lines all bundled into one, it comes as no surprise that demand for these
services in on the rise."
At $50 to $75 per month, the average small business telephone customer could expect to pay
up to $750 for just 10 regular phone lines, which come with only a standard set of features
such as Voicemail, Caller ID, and Three-way calling. From 2000 to 2005, the cost of a
dynamic integrated T1 line was well over $800, making it an unattractive option from a
pure cost point of view. However, that paradigm has changed with the introduction of
sub-$400/month price plans and features that make the old POTs lines look pre-historic.
With the help of super-CLECs like XO Communications, PAETEC, Nuvox, One Communications,
Cavalier Telephone, and TelePacific, small business owners everywhere now have access
to non-Bell service that is on par or better than those being offered by the former
Bells. Integrated T1s that do more and cost less have transformed into a solid beach
head for the newcomers.
But how much longer will we continue to see improved technology, services, and prices?
It's all in the hands of the Federal Communications Commission, as they have the power
to sqwash the CLECs by proxy. No wonder AT&T and Verizon are the two biggest lobbying
powers in Washington. It makes you wonder what kind of services they would be able to
offer had they plowed that money into R&D instead of politics.