I'm looking for ideas on how to link two stores within Manhattan. Both
stores have independent multi-line key systems. I'm not looking to
_link_ the systems with anything like centrex; the systems will remain
indepentent. I'm looking for a sort of dedicated store-to-store link,
so if, for example, store A picks up a line at store B will ring and
vice-versa (this would be _perfect_ since it would also integrate
nicely into both key systems that have extra capacity anyways).
The biggest question involves cost. Is it cheaper to do something like
this? A local call here in Manhattan is $.08 for the first three
minutes. In addition to voice calls, data calls that connect store B
to the network at store A through a modem will also be made. Now if
these data calls last for any length of time, or many of them are
placed in addition to voice calls things could get pricey! I'm sure
centrex would do what I want, but I think it's priced _way_ out of my
ballpark (but I'm guessing, I've never priced it), what other options
are there? In other words, what should I ask about when I call NYNEX
so that I won't sound like an idiot and _they_ won't sell me something
I don't need (like centrex?). Opinions, suggestions, experiences, etc.
would be most appreciated!
(just another happy MCI customer)
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You can get a direct line -- sometimes
called a 'private line' or 'private circuit' or 'ringdown circuit'
between the two locations which will do what you want. When one end
goes off-hook, the other end will ring. You can terminate them on each
end either on the switchboard(s) or on single line instruments or as
a line appearance on a multi-line phone or what-have-you.
You are NOT getting an OPX (Off Premise Extension) from either location
to the other. You are NOT getting an FX (Foreign Exchange) line at
either location ... just a ringdown circuit from point A to point B.
Now is it worth your money or not? IMO (notice, there is no 'H' in
there; that's because I don't give *humble* opinions!) you will be
losing your shirt unless you keep that circuit loaded all the time; at
least for several hours per day. Telco is going to hit you *
installation costs ... a few hundred dollars, probably. You are going
to pay monthly *by the mile* and the number of CO's involved for this
line. You don't pay anything per call; just a flat monthly rate for
the wire. I imagine it would take you a few months at least of normal to
heavy usage on the line to even amortize the installation costs. These
lines were very popular long ago before services like speed-dialing
were available, and when long distance cost a lot more than it does
now. For example, when I worked for Diners Club back in about 1969-70
we had a 'tie-line' from Chicago to Denver where much of the credit
card processing was done. Lift the receiver on this dial-less, red
phone in Chicago and the other end started ringing instantly in
Denver, or vice-versa. It was used a hundred times per day, always
for 20-40 seconds at a time. We paid several hundred dollars per month
for the circuit, but that was in an era when long distance calls were
billed by the *minute* with a one minute minimum. Since our calls were
much less, we could get two or three calls completed within a minute
at roughly half to a third of what DDD would have cost back then. On
that basis, our ringdown -- even more than a thousand miles way to
Denver -- was worthwhile. I dunno about intracity, one side of Manhattan
to the other, if you could make it pay off or not.
Now-days, people use premise equipment attached to a regular phone line
to accomplish the same thing. You can get 'one number dialers' which
are wired in series behind a phone on which the dial has been disabled
and do the same thing. When the phone goes off hook the dialer kicks in
and dials the preset number of the phone like itself at the other store.
You either disable the dial or get a phone with no dial at all (yes,
they still make them that way) in order to prevent abuse of the line by
customers, employees, etc. If it were me, I'd look at premises equipment
attached to a regular phone line instead. It'll be a lot less expensive
and probably work just as well. PAT]