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Common Technology Mistakes #1

From time to time, I’ll be posting some common mistakes that small businesses make regarding technology. Today’s post is about moving.

There is a lot to think about when moving a business, and it’s not surprising that things get overlooked. What is surprising is that one of the most often overlooked items is the telephone system.

Who’s Involved?
Several entities are involved in moving telecom service from one building to another. For this discussion, I’m assuming the company will keep its current phone numbers, and the phone lines are traditional lines, and not VoIP.

The local exchange carrier is the company that sends your phone bill every month. This is the company from whom you’ll order your new service. If they are an Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) like Verizon, they also own the lines that come in from the street. Often times your telecom company is a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) and does not own the lines. In this case, they depend on the ILEC to physically run the lines.

A cabling contractor is needed to run the telephone (and data) cabling inside the new building. The carrier will only run their lines as far as the “demarc” (demarcation point) within the building. If you want phone and data jacks in your offices, you’ll need to get cabling done by a qualified provider.

A telecom system vendor is required to physically disconnect the phone system from the old office and connect it at the new location. This requires knowledge of the specific phone system. Not all vendors are qualified on all phone systems.

Timing is Everything
Don’t underestimate the time necessary to provision service in a new building. If you’ve ordered a few copper lines, it will take a couple of weeks. If you’re getting a T1 or a fiber-optic circuit (like Verizon FiOS) it could take months. You must order service as early as possible. Once you have an installation date, do not rely on it. Always allow at least two weeks between the scheduled installation date and your move-in date. If you move into a building with no phone service, there is almost no way to rig up a temporary solution.

If you have your wiring done before the drywall goes up, it will save you time and money. Give your cabling company plenty of time to get you on their schedule.

The key date is the cutover date—the moment when your phone numbers are transferred to your new lines. Usually this is the day you move your people. Everyone involved should know exactly when this is scheduled. If you must make changes, inform the carrier and the telecom system vendor immediately.

Your telecom system vendor can help you navigate through all of the above. They should be your first contact. Moving often means you’ve outgrown the capabilities of your phone system, so it might be a good time to look into your options, as well.

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