ComCanada: N. American and overseas calling plans, fax, virtual numbers, and more.
Part 29 of Phone for Rent: Understanding Hosted PBX Services This hosted PBX provider maintains its own network and offers a full line of business communications services.
ComCanada Communications Inc., headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, was founded in 2007 by two Internet entrepreneurs, and since that time has grown to become a provider that allows its customers to make low-cost calls to more than 120 countries around the globe.
The company offers a number of next-generation network facilities. These include: hosted PBX services, virtual phone numbers, paperless fax, SIP trunks, software development, and consulting services.
ComCanada has its own network infrastructureincluding redundant, multiple switching facilitiesthat is designed to provide stable, reliable levels of service. Its services, targeted at customers with fewer than 100 employees, are available anywhere the customer has a high speed Internet connection available. The firm prides itself in being a 100 percent privately owned company that has been established by the founders' ingenuity.
The company offers two different hosted PBX service offerings, both supporting premises equipment provided by Aastra, Linksys, Netgear, and Switchvox, plus a softphone from Wengophone.
The Hosted PBX Lite service features an auto attendant, ring groups and queues, phone number portability, plus new or additional local or toll free phone numbers that can be selected from a number of Canadian and U.S. cities. Voice-mails can be delivered in a .WAV format, and faxes delivered in a .PDF file to the end user's e-mail account. The system also includes music on hold and provides call detail records for accounting purposes.
The Hosted PBX Unlimited service provides unlimited calls anywhere in Canada, the United States, and selected countries throughout Europe. The company can also provide a digital phone adapter that can be shipped to remote employees (or friends or family) anywhere in the world to eliminate long distance charges. An enhanced 911 service is included, as is T.38 support for reliable fax transmissions. (ITU-T T.38 is the international standard for fax transmission, making for compatible communications between dissimilar vendors fax machines and fax systems.)
Both PBX services include switching functions and call center capabilitiesplus end user features that are required to support business operations. Moreover, the customer is assigned a local or toll-free telephone number, plus four digit extension numbers for all employees. Pricing for the Lite package is $10.00 per month per seat plus usage (with international rates starting as low as $0.01 per minute); the Unlimited plan is priced at $39.95 per month per user.
One of the additional benefits of the ComCanada services is a Paperless Fax system that is available free of charge to all small business customers. This service lets customers keep an existing fax number, be issued a ComCanada Internet fax number, or be issued a personal toll-free fax number. Separate fax numbers are available for individuals, making a fax number as personal and private as an e-mail account.
When receiving a fax, the system converts the incoming fax image to either a .PDF or .TIFF graphics file, which is then attached to an e-mail, and sent to the e-mail address specified by the customer. To send a fax, the customer e-mails the fax document and any images to the ComCanada server, which then converts them into faxable format and sends them to the fax number specified by the customer in the e-mail message. Faxes can also be sent via the ComCanada website in a similar fashion.
ComCanada also offers Virtual Phone Number service (also known as direct inward dial, or DID service), which removes the restriction of one telephone number per line. The customer selects additional numbers in other local calling areas throughout the United States and Canada, and then any calls from those DID numbers will ring either the primary ComCanada number, or any other number of the customers choosing, such as a cell phone number. This service allows a virtual presence in multiple remote cities, and provides the ability for family, friends and business associates to reach the ComCanada customer with a local phone call. The cost for each DID number is only $10.00 per monthwhich includes hosted PBX and Internet Fax capabilities.
The company provides an Internet portal where its customers can manage call forwarding, call waiting, and e-mail delivery addressesas well as send faxes, update billing profiles, review past invoices, submit trouble tickets, and so on. The company also supports multi-lingual E911 service, and has a translation service that is available to support over 150 different languages.
Further information on the ComCanada solutions can be found at www.comcanada.ca. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.
Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2009 DigiNet Corporation®, All Rights Reserved
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.