Bandwidth.com Helps SMBs Find VoIP

by Colin C. Haley

Bandwidth.com unveils online test tools to serve SMBs.

Bandwidth.com unveiled a new tool today to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) determine if their company's network is ready for Voice over IP .

The privately held network services provider's Web-based test, available at Bandwidth.com's site, checks ports, bandwidth availability and latency -- key elements for moving voice and data onto one network.

"It gives decision-makers the chance to test-drive VoIP," Henry Kaestner, Bandwidth's CEO, told internetnews.com.

Bandwidth's new tool launch follows a report blasting large VoIP providers for failing to serve SMB customers.

Savatar, a Boston consulting firm, found that many SMBs are interested in the savings and efficiency associated with VoIP but have trouble getting more information from providers' Web sites, sales staffers and customer service representatives.

That said, a number of VoIP providers -- from telecoms, cable companies and Internet giants -- are beginning to pay more attention to the market.

Two recent examples: Qwest is teaming with Microsoft and Vonage partnering with TowerStream with services for the 1.8 million SMBs.

Kaestner is not concerned that well-heeled public and venture-backed companies have turned their attention to the SMB VOIP space.

"It's validation of the space," Kaestner said. "I don't spend much time focused on what Qwest or Vonage is doing. We'll continue to give SMBs what they want."

He added that the company has earmarked nearly all of the $4.75 million it raised from private investors last month to improving its VoIP services for SMBs.

Based in Cary, N.C., Bandwidth provides voice and data services to SMBs in every state thanks to its relationships with network wholesalers, such as AT&T, Level 3 and MCI.

This article was originally published on Tuesday Oct 18th 2005