fairpoint2FairPoint Communications’ first business cloud service is a hosted PBX offering that leverages the company’s softswitch infrastructure and its carrier Ethernet network.

Announced yesterday, FairPoint’s Hosted PBX service should be “especially useful for companies with traveling sales teams, multiple office locations, or employees who work remotely or need to be reached around the clock,” said Chris Alberding, FairPoint vice president of product management in an email to Telecompetitor. Examples might include realtors, maintenance and repair technicians, medical personnel and lawyers, Alberding said.

The new offering supports IP-based voice and unified communications without the need for a premises-based phone system. Rather than using the Internet for connectivity, as some hosted PBX offerings do, FairPoint’s offering will use the company’s private Ethernet network for communications – and Alberding sees that as an important differentiator because it enables the company to meet stringent reliability and quality requirements.

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FairPoint’s Ethernet network has more than 15,000 route miles in northern New England and that also makes it a differentiator, Alberding said.

Alberding also sees the Metaswitch software platform underlying its hosted PBX offering as a strong competitive selling point. “FairPoint’s cloud solution uses the latest version of the Metaswitch software platform, which allows customized access to and control over the most advanced features including call handling, mobile functionality, remote access and disaster recovery capabilities,” said Alberding. “Despite an extensive offering of modern features, they remain easy to use for the average employee or IT manager.”

FairPoint has not completely replaced its TDM infrastructure with softswitches but instead reserves its softswitch infrastructure for offerings such as IP voice and hosted PBX.

“Our IP Voice service is integrated with our traditional central office infrastructure,” said Alberding. “We are leveraging the excellent access into more than 95% of all businesses in northern New England as the on-ramps to our private data network and our IP voice platform.”

The company has redundant softswitches covering Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Asked about any plans FairPoint might have to expand its business cloud services, Alberding was non-committal, saying “FairPoint will continue to expand our portfolio to meet the needs of our customers.”

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