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Telecom Cost Facts: 3 Ways Landlines Increase Expenses

Managing an 85 square-mile school district serving more than 6,200 students can present endless challenges — especially in the coronavirus era of distance learning. But for Yorkville Community Unit School District’s Executive Director of Finance & Operations Mindy Bradford, she never thought one of those challenges would be added costs from the school’s telephone landlines.

Like every school district, Bradford is constantly trying to do more with less and minimize operational expenses. While telecom expenses added up, she admits the slow incremental increase of charges and lack of in-house expertise kept her from exploring cost savings options — until SpyGlass made an offer she couldn’t refuse: Give them the chance to provide a SnapShot Audit to review all of Yorkville’s technology expenses. With no upfront costs, SpyGlass only gets paid by saving Bradford money and guarantees their fee is recovered in one year or less.

“I’m always looking for an opportunity to save. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain from a Snapshot Audit,” she said. “This is their area of expertise, particularly when it comes to reading and understanding telecom bills while corresponding with the carriers — all those things that are virtually impossible for us to do in house.”

The results? Over $4,000 a month in savings from a surprising source — landlines spread across 10 school buildings and a district office just outside Chicago. “SpyGlass found we were paying for lines that were either dormant or had more capability than we needed,” explained Bradford.

Here are some top facts about how landlines could be adding to your telecom costs:

Fact #1: Not all landlines are created equal

For Yorkville, SpyGlass identified a total of 150 landlines being billed as individual analog phone lines. Essentially, a simple analog telephone line runs from your local phone company’s central office to your business location. This one phone number is associated with one line and can handle one conversation at a time. While an analog phone line may be effective for small businesses, when more than 15 lines are required a digital line is usually a better choice in terms of both cost and features — a fact Yorkville District needed to capitalize on.

“We had a bunch of old phone lines that just happened over time; SpyGlass identified 14 to 16 lines at almost every school we didn’t need,” Bradford stated. “The dollars we got back by eliminating those lines could equal hiring two paraprofessionals to help our special education students.”

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Fact #2: “Proactive” may not be in your provider’s vocabulary

In a world ruled by technology, it may be assumed your provider proactively monitors your landlines for efficient service and savings. But in Yorkville’s case they were unknowingly paying for individual lines, rather than a “trunking” approach — or one where many users can access the telephone network through sharing a set of lines, reducing overall costs.

To see the big picture, SpyGlass manually identified the what and why of each line. After the audit, Bradford was provided billing clarity and recommendations that, once approved, SpyGlass coordinated with Yorkville’s telecom providers to implement.

“They looked at all lines and clarified what they supported — or didn’t support,” says Bradford. “They were very thorough in terms of not wanting to disconnect lines that were of some great import.”

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Fact #3: Technology rules savings

Of the 150 individual analog phone lines identified, SpyGlass was able to port — or transfer — 104 of those lines over to another technology that was being delivered by Yorkville’s provider. Essentially, this move allowed Yorkville to retain and utilize the 104 phone lines, while eliminating the monthly costs by routing to other services, such as Primary Rate Interface (PRI) technology — a telecommunications interface standard used on an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).

“Everything SpyGlass is capable of doing on your behalf, they do,” Bradford stated. “It’s an absolute no-brainer.”

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