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Conference Call Bridge

Buy a Bridge oruse a Conference Call Service?

There have been do-it-yourself conference call service appliances, called bridges, available on the market for many years.  And like the service pricing, the bridges have gotten less and less expensive.  So does it make financial sense to buy a bridge or continue to use a service?

There are several issues to consider if you think that you do enough calls to think about buying a bridge.  The biggest reason to even think about firing your conference call service provider is cost.  And most of the things to consider revolve around some aspect of cost.  What are some of the costs when you want to do calls yourself?

  • Cost of the Bridge itself
  • Telecommunications Cost
  • Maintenance Cost
  • Personnel Cost

Cost of the Bridge - The cost of a conferencing bridge can be anywhere from one thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The equipment used by service providers, like Zip Conferencing, is hundreds of thousands of dollars.  But if you want to try to do-it-yourself with a lower cost piece of conference call equipment you're are going to pay at least a thousand dollars for it.

Telecommunications Cost - The biggest cost to providing a service is the telecommunications cost.  You have to get circuits terminated to the bridge and there is a monthly cost to that and then you have to pay the variable cost of the calls themselves. Even if you don't use the conferencing bridge in a month you will still pay a monthly cost to just have the equipment available.

Maintenance Cost - Buying a piece of equipment is just the beginning.  Next you will need to pay a maintenance fee to the manufacturer of the bridging equipment to remain up to date with the software that runs the machine.  Like any  other computer on your network, you will need keep the machine up to date if you expect to have the latest security, patches and features to keep the equipment up to date.

Personnel Cost - And lastly, you will need to have someone in your company assigned to maintaining the bridge.  No matter how self service the equipment is, you will still need to maintain it and administer it.  If someone in your company is performing this function there is a cost to you.

So, let's say you can pay $.01 per minute for toll free traffic to the bridge.  On the surface sounds like you could buy a bridge and save money.  The circuits for the telecommunications connections are at least $1,000 per month for a T-1 which only provides 24 circuits.  So if you want more than 24 total conference call connections at a time in your company you will need more than 1 circuit.  Maintenance on the equipment is going to be at hundreds or thousands of dollars a year depending on the bridge and then someone is going to need to administer the equipment.

You can see how your per minute cost for calls can quickly get over $.05 per minute and that is if you do thousands of minutes per month.  It is hard to beat using a service when you get the latest features, no maintenance and 24/7 support for less than $.05 per minute.  A service provider like Zip Conferencing is a better choice for anyone needing a conference call service. Leave the administration to the experts and stick to your core competency and you will be glad you did.  


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