In our New York office we've been waiting for almost a month for Verizon Business to repair a problem at our local CO. They keep saying that the damage from Hurricane Sandy was so extensive that they can't get the CO back in shape. The date keeps slipping and my superiors are getting restless.

VoIP is an option, of course, but they want circuit-switched quality for the calls which one isn't going to get from using an internet VoIP provider. Does anyone have any other ideas on how to get telephony to a building without involving the Local Exchange Carrier?

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    VoIP providers run the gamut. I've used some that provide BETTER voice quality than what we got from a Verizon T1. – longneck Feb 12 '13 at 17:57
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    Bandwidth.com has always been great for me, they also happen to power most of the giant consumer services like Google 411 and even Skype these days. – Brent Pabst Feb 12 '13 at 18:14
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    Any particular reason you don't think you can get "circuit-switched quality" for calls? We've been using VoIP at my office for about 2 years now and the call quality issues we have are all related to the El-Cheapo handsets. We prioritize VoIP traffic and have a generous reservation though... – voretaq7 Feb 12 '13 at 18:22
  • @voretaq7 the problem is that internet VoIP providers run on the internet, as one would expect, and because of that the opportunity to have completely mangled calls is definitely there. Having previously worked heavily with VoIP I've seen it happen first hand. – Peter Grace Feb 12 '13 at 18:51

I'm not sure if you are asking for DR advice in your situation or a more permanent solution.

However, for DR, I would HIGHLY recommend Telecom Recovery

We use them and love their service.

Our local provider has failover (either automatic or we can force manual) to send our DID 100 blocks to multiple 888 numbers at Telecom Recovery that are tied into a software PBX that allows for automatated attendant, fax, conference calling, hunt groups, etc. You setup people's cell phones, home phones, remote office lines, etc. and then tell the software PBX where to route the calls.

So when local PRIs are down, we run off this DR system and customers/etc. can still reach us. Outbound calling is still limited to cell phones (or internal desk to desk on the existing PBX), but that's cool with us.

(NOTE: not trying to push product, they have just done a great job for us and this might help others)

  • This is by far the closest thing I've seen to completely eliminating my problem. Thank you, I'm contacting them now. – Peter Grace Feb 12 '13 at 19:34
  • That sounds like TDMoIPoMicrowave – Tom O'Connor Feb 12 '13 at 19:52
  • Well, I'm waiting to hear back from them but what I think the product consists of is routing your DID's forward-on-congestion to their switching apparatus somewhere else and having it loop to another number. It makes changing those settings around fast and easy vs. the hassle you get with verizon, for instance. – Peter Grace Feb 12 '13 at 19:54
  • I was looking at the PRI-in-the-sky thing. – Tom O'Connor Feb 12 '13 at 19:55
  • @PeterGrace - did this work out for you? – TheCleaner Feb 21 '13 at 16:39

How about cellphones and a bucketload of SIM cards?

OR. Depending on how dirty you want to get.. Have you got a fibre connection (dark, ideally) to the datacenter?

Get a pair of Optical Add/Drop multiplexers. Put one in the DC, put one in the Office. In the datacentre, have Verizon supply you with ISDN over fibre. Plug it into the OADM. In the office, you'll need to configure the other half of the mux pair to break that ISDN wavelength out back to an ISDN converter.

I had a quick google about, and there's a whole bunch of different brands of ISDN to ethernet converter, and ISDN to IP converter (or TDM to IP). There's even some that'll convert ISDN to MPLS frames, and back again.. So even though you're not doing VoIP (Although, frankly, this is probably the route i'd be going down), there's still options, so long as you can get a circuit into the datacentre (and you can get data service from there).

It appears (from more googling) that the magic keyword is "TDM over IP", or "Circuit Emulation". There's even some Cisco routers that can do it.. Apparently the 3660 Multiservice platform, with some specialist Network Modules.

Found another TDMoIP platform

  • If IP connectivity is a problem, then there's always the possibility of doing it all over WiMAX, or possibly over a P2P microwave link, if you're line of sight from any of the datacenters in Manhattan. – Tom O'Connor Feb 12 '13 at 19:51

Would you be looking for a workaround or a replacement for the faulty service?

Replacement: If you can get an additional data line put in, you reserve it for telephony and you can run VoIP across that. This can be a line out to a dedicated provider that deals with telephony themselves and you can get good quality from that. There are "hosted telephony" providers out there and VoIP doesn't have to mean "Skype on a bad day over a dial up" line quality.

Workaround: It's difficult to know what to suggest if you don't think the sort of VoIP providers that run across the standard Internet connection will cut it (though again, if you have the bandwidth and can configure decent QoS to a decent provider you might be surprised). Other than that, it's Longneck's suggestion.


Get a sympathetic business nearby (same building?) to let you piggy-back off their phone system.

  • Pete might be one of the few people in NYC who happens to have a "sympathetic business" in the same building... of course they may also have the same problem... – voretaq7 Feb 12 '13 at 18:20
  • Unfortunately, this problem is likely affecting most people in the financial district who are on our CO. We're just hoping and paying that their 2/19 deliver date is going to happen. – Peter Grace Feb 12 '13 at 18:54

I worked with someone who lost their T1 due to Sandy, and they eventually canceled their contract because of the Central Office rebuild/repair. If you must have a wireline, traditional phone, service you will have limited options as most options are likely tied to the same Verizon CO.

Eventually the solution they found was to port their numbers to a VoIP provider and got internet from another vendor. I don't remember if they went with a fiber or wireless vendor (something like FiberTower) for last mile broadband connection.

At this time VoIP quality issues are the result of poor LAN or Last Mile connections. User complains are also the result of change in workflows and how they interface with the phones. Make sure you have a good profile on how your users use phones. If your workforce is more mobile look into a cloud provider who can connect calls directly without requiring calls to route though your network first.


If your companu already has a telephone system, You can try ordering SIP trunks. you will need an ATA device that will connect to the Internet which will give you dial tone.

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