It’s Not Too Late for E-Rate, Part 3: What to Do Next
Why Cloud VoIP makes more sense now than ever
The recent changes in E-Rate funding are forcing schools and libraries to re-think their voice communications strategy, and many of them are finding their future in the cloud. Cloud-based VoIP solutions have come a long way in recent years, providing the same or superior quality, security and reliability that organizations have come to expect from their traditional service providers, while reducing costs and complexity.
Here are five advantages you can experience right now by moving your voice communications into the cloud:
1. Lower total cost of ownership
Moving voice communications into the cloud reduces the need to buy and maintain premises based equipment such as PBXs and traditional desk phones. It also eliminates costly annual leasing fees for PRI trunks and allows organizations to add users quickly without adding more physical lines into buildings.
2. Outstanding voice quality
Cloud VoIP systems can deliver better voice quality than even traditional fixed phones through new technologies such as high-definition (HD) voice, and deliver much better quality than most mobile phones.
3. More calling features
Cloud VoIP services come with hundreds of different calling features that take advantage of IP-based synergies, such as visual voicemail, voice-to-email, advanced call routing and more.
4. Better reliability
Moving your communications into the cloud is like getting a built-in disaster recovery solution. Most clouds feature highly redundant architectures that prevent against network equipment failure and, more importantly, continue to operate even when the local network is down due to natural disaster.
5. Easier to use
In a traditional voice system, any changes to the system need to be made through the service provider or the IT administrator. With a cloud-based system, users can easily change their own settings to customize services (e.g., call forwarding) and administrators can quickly add/change/ remove numbers and features from a simple, secure web-based portal.
What are the next steps?
Although E-Rate funding for the 2016 school year won’t begin until July 1, 2016, E-Rate applicants can submit Form 470 now. Schools and libraries are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as this will determine how quickly they receive funding approval.
Here’s what you can do right now to accelerate your E-Rate application:
- Visit www.usac.org to find out the latest tips and guidelines for filing your E-Rate application
- Begin evaluating Cloud VoIP providers (if you haven’t already) to get the best combination of features and price
- Contact our education experts at 888-545-1708 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more