ISDN PRI’s are just one way to hand off a digital voice interface. This is where the signal begins or ends its long journey across the IP frontier. Although the newer VoIP circuits are offering services to businesses, I believe it will be a long time before you hear the last from our digital friends.
PRI is an acronym for Primary Rate Interface. An interface is the edge…the last part of something before that something isn’t “something” anymore. So, in this case, a ISDN PRI is the last part of a digital circuit delivering voice services, or phone lines. The interface plugs into your phone system and voila!, you have much more than you were used to. No more fixed lines that did nothing when they weren’t in use. Now, instead, those lines turn into internet service while they aren’t in use. No more limitations to the amount of phone numbers we can have and freely use defined strictly by the number of lines we had previously paid for.
That is correct. Not only do we get more features and service out of these communication circuits, but they cost less too. How is this possible? Well it didn’t used to be, but now PRI’s are very commonplace in the typical office building. You will get T1 line service in most cases and it can even be installed at a residence. Another reason they are offered at a lower rate is because in most cases you have to commit to a 3 year contract. This insures the carrier, or, service provider that they will get their money and therefore can afford to give you a break.
Chances are if you go shopping for a PRI you will make contact with a re seller. They have direct relationships with the service providers and get a percentage of your monthly bill. This can be anywhere from 12% – 20% depending on the volume that the re seller does. There are also ‘master agents’ out there selling service for the big internet and dial tone providers. They line up so much voice and data service for the carriers that they can pass on phenomenal rates that supersede any re seller you will run across. What allows them a handsomely reduced rate also earns them the word ‘master’ in their title. Try to find these guys when you go shopping for your business broadband deals and ask them to, ‘hook it up!’ Literally… AND figuratively.