AmericomVOIP: Who We Are and What We Do!

Americom is a VoIP telecommunications company that has been in business since 1991! This 25 year old business was started by Greg Gonzales, a telecommunications professional who has been involved in the industry throughout the most critical technological advancements the industry has experienced. As telecommunications have changed, Americom has adapted. Although telecommunications technology is advancing at lightning speeds, Americom has a track record of providing their clients with only the most recent and reliable tech, so that they remain up to date.

VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. This technology is primarily used for making and receiving phone calls over the Internet. There are dozens of benefits that come from using VoIP technology instead of traditional phone service; including more reliable service at a lower cost, and the ability to move your phones to any location virtually hassle free. VoIP is continuing to grow in popularity every day, and it’s not going anywhere– as the industry is currently worth over 75 billion dollars! All kinds of consumers and businesses alike are switching to VoIP, with small businesses (who have made the switch) reporting 40% in annual savings. It’s not difficult to see that VoIP is indeed the future.

VoIP took a technology that hadn’t changed much in nearly 50 years, and completely revolutionized it for the 21st Century. All phones will eventually be VoIP phones, and although the world is still transitioning into the age of VoIP, statistics show that it is only continuing to explode in popularity and for good reason! If you’re looking to update your phone system at home, or at work, VoIP is the perfect option for you. There’s no one better to provide your VoIP solution than Greg Gonzales with Americom. Greg’s 25 years of experience give him the expertise that not many in the industry have. Contact Greg today at (805) 520-1651 to make the switch to VoIP!

The Hidden Dangers of Bundling Your Phone, Internet, Fax and TV Services

So a phone or cable company representative calls you offering a bundled package that is going to save you a considerable amount of money on your monthly phone, Internet, and possibly fax and TV bills. Saving money and consolidated billing; what could go wrong, right? Well, since you asked… About once a month or so, a client will report a problem with their phone or voicemail system. Our technician arrives and determines a catastrophic failure has occurred, and a piece of equipment needs to be replaced.

Rather than spending hundreds or thousands of dollars buying old phone equipment; more often than not, the least expensive and most cost-effective route is to make the transition to Voice Over IP. Unfortunately, that is not an option for some clients because they soon find out they’re stuck in a bundled contract that includes their dial tone. And if they are tied to dial tone, they are forced to buy parts on the refurbished market that can be just as old or older than the parts that we’re replacing! 

This happens time and time again. It’s hard to watch clients pay thousands of dollars for a circuit card or on a motherboard when they could’ve spent less on the new technology, while lowering their monthly phone and Internet bills.

How Government Policies Have Affected Telecommunications in the United States

When it comes to Internet speeds, and overall reliability of Internet networks, America ranks near the bottom in terms of international standings. In fact, The U.S. Internet infrastructure is so bad that our broadband Internet service is both more expensive and slower than infrastructure-challenged countries like Italy and Portugal. Forty countries were recently included in a study that analyzed their rate of progress towards creating a knowledge-based economy; in which, the United States finished in last place. Whereas even in 2007, you would be able to get a 100mpbs connection for as low as $14 a month in Japan, that speed and price is still completely unattainable in the U.S. today. So how did the Internet situation get so bad in America when we were previously industry leaders in the market? The answer is politics, greed, and corruption among the phone companies and the FCC.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 passed and set mandates for all 50 states and the District of Colombia; to work with telecommunication companies to install hybrid fiber coax networks across America. These networks were supposed to have been installed in millions of American homes by the year 2000, and would bring high speed on demand video service to Americans. This is the year 2000 we are talking about! America was set to have a near future proof solution to our Internet problems, and secure the country as an industry leader– with the ability to provide subscribers with affordable, lightning fast Internet through fiber networks all at an affordable price. However, from all of the 51 mandates that required the telecom companies and the states to install these networks, not one of them succeeded.

It gets worse. The money needed to install these networks was actually collected by the telecommunications companies and pocketed, without installing any of the networks promised. From 1994-2000, major phone companies charged subscribers higher monthly rates, under the promise of a faster infrastructure. Over $200 billion was collected. These companies made excuses for their unfulfilled promises, stating that the networks were going to be more difficult to install than anticipated, and that it would cost significantly more to do. Others among them claimed that the proposed new infrastructure would eventually become outdated (when it was actually far ahead of its time). This led the FCC to attempt to federally control the process, but because subscribers were paying more for service and seeing no results, they saw the new infrastructure as only something new that would be taxed. The perceived benefits were outweighed by the overwhelming increases in price.

Due to pressure from the FCC the companies were led into installing less than ideal data networks (although they seemed suitable at the time). These networks however, often allowed users only up to 1.5mbps! Telecom companies continued to profit off of these networks as they were able to charge their subscribers even more money due to the “new infrastructure”– one we are now stuck with over a decade in the future.

After the 2000 deadline for fiber networks had come and gone, the situation only got worse, as the FCC classified broadband as information service instead of telecommunication service. Instead of classifying the Internet as a communication tool, they classified it under the same category as service providers like Comcast or Verizon in 2002. This in turn led to several issues in Net Neutrality. The classification eventually led to broadband being classified as “Internet connections with 200kbps download speed or better,” which isn’t even one percent of the targeted speeds promised to be available by the year 2000.

The telecommunications companies along with unorganized and confusing regulations are all factors that contributed to the current state of our Internet infrastructure. Without the greed of the major telecommunications companies, maybe we could all be getting 1Gbps download speeds for $10 a month. However, that reality never came, and it’s debatable whether it ever will in the United States.

Frontier Communications Takeover of Verizon Seems like a Bad April Fool’s Joke

Almost appearing as a bad April Fool’s Day joke, Frontier Communications took over millions of Verizon accounts this year on April 1st, and proceeded to leave thousands of customers without phone or Internet service due to mass service outages. They took over millions of accounts previously serviced by Verizon in a $10 billion plus deal. On Frontier’s website, they posted a video addressing the transition, and assuring their customers that the transition would be smooth. However, this hasn’t been the case as hundreds of cities in California have been affected by huge outages in service. Customers have been reporting loss of phone service, and Internet. Many have even complained that their home security systems are being put at risk from the recent service outages.

When Frontier took over Verizon back in April; they doubled their amount of customers nearly overnight. They added 3.3 million voice connections, 1.2 million FiOS video subscribers, and 2.1 million broadband connections. Frontier claimed that their infrastructure could handle the massive increase in customers, but two and a half months later we are still seeing mass customer complaints. The worst part of it all is that Frontier’s customers aren’t able to get solid answers on why this is all happening, and how the situation will be rectified. In a formal apology issued by a Frontier representative, customers were promised reimbursement for the past two months of service. However, the damage done by the lack of service may not be able to be covered by the reimbursement being offered.

Now, in 2016, the Internet is a utility that is as important as electricity or gas in our homes. Without it, many of us cannot work, communicate with people, or even watch a movie. Not only that, but without being able to connect to the Internet or make phone calls, people’s lives are put at risk. People who suffer from serious diseases need to be able to communicate with people in case they have an event such as a heart attack or a stroke. Those, whose security systems function through the Internet, are left helpless as their systems are rendered worthless.

This problem is not one that has gone unnoticed either. Reports as early as April 2nd and 3rd show that the issues in service have been present from the very beginning of the switch. Frontier claims that the issues are being caused by software gaps in their system. They are also going to hire 4,000 employees to work in call centers to better aid in responding to the multitude of consumer complaints. Four thousand new employees is a startling number that demonstrates the magnitude of the situation; the frantic response showing how widespread the complaints are.

Frontier promises to have their services back up and running at full functionality and their customers reimbursed by the end of June. Although it’s good that the service will be fixed, when you think about the Internet as a necessary resource, this just may be too long for some people to wait. Imagine living in a home that had no electricity or water for a month. Most would be hard pressed to continue with their current providers for these utilities. Hopefully, Frontier will be able to rectify the damage caused by the mass outages soon; so that the thousands of affected people can return to having access to the Internet, FiOS, and phone service in their homes again.

1986 and 2016: What’s Changed In Telecommunication?

Technology has completely changed the way that we communicate with one another. Some of us don’t even remember how telecommunications used to be, because the advancements have happened so quickly. Just to give you some perspective, the World Wide Web isn’t even 25 years old! In addition to the Internet, some of us can’t imagine a world without cellphones either, but mobile phones (especially smartphones) are a new phenomenon in telecommunications as well. Because so much has changed in the telecom industry, it’s helpful to take a step back and look at all of the ways that telecommunications has advanced in the past 30 years.

A couple of important changes in telecommunications occurred in 1986. On September 1st of that year, AT&T Corporation retired their third transatlantic cable, called the TAT-3. It ran from Tuckerton, New Jersey to the Widemouth Bay in Cornwall, England. But a couple of months later, an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) was deployed. ISDNs are telecom networks that can transmit voice, data and video digitally. While these changes were behind the scenes (and under the ocean), they were significant adjustments in the telecom industry.

1987 was an important year for telecommunications, especially for phones. This was the year that superconductivity was discovered. This scientific phenomenon is very technical, but its discovery revolutionized telecommunications. Superconductivity is used in Radio Frequency and Microwave filters, which are electronic filters used to operate on signals in the megahertz and gigahertz frequencies. These frequencies are used for radios, televisions, cellphones, Wi-Fi, etc. Most of the telecom devices we have today rely on these frequencies; so needless to say, 1987 was a big year for telecommunications!

Jumping forward in history, 1992 was the year that the revolutionary World Wide Web was launched. Saying that the World Wide Web changed the telecommunications industry would be an understatement. Both businesses and individuals began to communicate differently since the introduction of the Internet. Although the World Wide Web has not yet to reach its 25h birthday, using the Internet to communicate to others has become central to so many of us in America, and around the world.

The 1990’s were also important for the cellphone industry. Although the first cellular network was made in 1979 in Tokyo, the second generation (2G) of digital cellular networks was developed in the 90’s. Finland launched the first 2G GSM network in 1991. This new cellular network introduced SMS (text messaging) to the telecommunications industry. Downloadable content also became available on 2G networks for cellphones. And speaking of cellphones, the 1990’s gave birth to what is considered the first smartphone: the IBM Simon. Released in 1993, the IBM Simon was a phone, pager, PDA, and fax machine combined. It featured a touchscreen and a QWERTY keyboard, and it included email, calendar, notepad, address book, and a calculator. With the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the telecommunications industry became more open for more companies to use these technological advancements to provide telecom services.

The 2000’s saw even more revolutionary advancements to the telecom industry. 3G broadband data brought even faster speeds to cell networks in 2001 and 2002. In 2004, mass-market Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services were introduced to the telecom industry. VoIP service providers allow business and individuals to make phone calls through the internet. With the combination of DSL high-speed internet (which was introduced in 2001), VoIP provides users with unprecedented call quality and convenience. The end of the 2000’s saw the rise of 4G LTE cellular networks, which complemented the ever-advancing smartphones that now dominate the telecom industry.

In just 30 years, the telecommunications industry underwent so many advancements that it hardly looks like the same industry. And looking forward, we can expect the next 30 years to be as revolutionary.