Byte Me Article 216 – NBN & Phones

Only Pay For What You Really Need

Continuing on from last week, it was polite of Telstra to feel sorry for my own phone experiences however I don’t have bad phone experiences as I don’t have a Digital Office Technology system.  I do however, have plenty of customers that have one of these DOT systems that are far from happy.

While we are talking about phone myths, since last week’s article I have had further feedback from customers about their phone experiences.  It seems that the suggestion that the DOT system running across an ADSL connection to save you money and make you look more professional is not the only furphy.  Many businesses are getting told that they will need to scrap all of their existing telephone handsets and upgrade the wiring in their building to be NBN compatible – not true.

Businesses can have tens of thousands invested in their phone systems and this includes a central controller / PABX as well as a handset on every desk.  These handsets can be very feature rich – having the ability to put calls on hold, transfer calls, conference calls, record calls as well as offering individual message bank features.  A good handset can easily cost $300 – so multiplying this figure by the number of staff quickly adds up.  The central controller can add another $2000 to $10000.

If / when the NBN comes to your street (and don’t hold your breath) most of these systems will be totally compatible with the addition of a simple interface card or licence upgrade (sometimes just a few hundred dollars’ worth of expense).  It won’t matter if you have a digital or an analogue phone system and handsets as long as their interface with the new NBN system (most often called SIP Trunks or Voice Trunks) can be made to work.

As an example we have around a dozen Nortel Digital Handsets which are considered the most reliable on the planet.  These talk to a PABX which then talks to ISDN (digital) phone lines.  We will always keep the handsets and either upgrade a licence in the PABX or replace it with one that is still compatible with our handsets and the NBN.  Even if we want to go to VoIP phone lines – this is just the external link to our PABX.  We don’t have to use VoIP handsets to do this!

Am I accusing large Telco’s of peddling unnecessary equipment by baffling with technology – hell yes!!!  It won’t be the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last.  They have sales quotas and quarterly profit goals to reach so why let the truth get in the way of a good sale.  If you are being told that you need to throw out your entire existing phone system to be NBN compatible – think again as this is rarely the case!

On a further note about scams!  Many businesses (including ours) are receiving emails asking for a quote on whatever we normally sell.  These emails never come with a contact phone number and if you go to the trouble of replying with a quote the next email from the same source will generally accept whatever you have quoted and ask if they can pay by credit card provided again by email.

If you ask for a phone number then they are either suffering laryngitis or they have bad mobile reception – or they supply whatever reason that sounds plausible for you to trust in their emails only.  In these cases you can bet your bottom dollar that the card details they are providing are from a recently stolen card.  You don’t want to be caught shipping goods to them after taking payment as the money will still need to be refunded to the rightful card holder.

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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