Landlines are based on excellent but century-old technology, with the “last mile” cabling to residential and business customers being past end of reliable life in many locations, and which AT&T has gotten permission from the state to stop supporting. Many small businesses have a mysterious box of equipment off in a closet, a box with a mess of connections to phones in the building and to AT&T that nobody knows anything about. Expanding, moving, or almost any configuration change can be interesting.

Internet-based telephony, called “VoIP” for Voice over IP (IP being the language of raw bytes travelling the internet) is mature and ready for businesses of all sizes. “Fully hosted” VoIP requires no special on-site equipment, only VoIP-capable telephones connected to a local network over the same type of wiring that connects computers. The local network must be properly configured to support VoIP, and once configured, it just works. Move or add a desk? Just plug in the phone like a computer. Move to a new location? Set up the local network correctly in its new location and plug phones in just like computers.

Beyond voice and fax, VoIP services can chat and integrate with your customer data, called “Unified Communications” or UC.

It might be time to make a move to the excellent and in most cases less costly VoIP.