Friday, May 2, 2008

Bell South

If you’re searching for information on BellSouth, look no further than the review on AT&T. Why? Because via a merger in 2006, AT&T has acquired BellSouth; soon, BellSouth will be renamed AT&T South and you can expect it to be on par with the standards of AT&T’s original T1 service. As you may have heard from slogans and advertisements, this is what they mean when “BellSouth is now the new AT&T.”

Like its counterparts, BellSouth offers your typical T1 with a 1.544 Mbps of bandwidth. Its commitments on performance are slightly better than AT&T’s; at a packet loss of less than 0.5% and maximum latency of 55 ms, you can expect a smooth connection. Should anything happen to your line, they guarantee that the maximum time required to restore service is four hours, which is the usual stand on the part of most T1 service providers. Best of all, if there is any downtime or if any of their commitments are not met, you’ll get credit attributed to your account. For the most part, this is a portion of the recurring monthly charges that they’ll return to you and will be reflected in your invoice.

The drawbacks? Although BellSouth prides itself on servicing over 44 million customers in 15 countries, its T1 service is limited to only nine states within the southeastern region of the U.S. This means that if you don’t live in any of those states (they being Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee), don’t bother delving any further. Save yourself some time and hit up another T1 provider.

Also, for the slightly better commitments on performance, you’re looking at a higher price range. BellSouth’s T1 service ranges from $550 - $900 a month, which may pose a problem for smaller businesses on strict budgets. On average, expect to be paying near the high end of the range for a dedicated 1.5 Mbps line. Occasionally, BellSouth will have promotions that vary with their contracts, but don’t hold your breath.

If those prices weren’t enough, the consultation and troubleshooting services included with your package are limited. You’ll receive the simplest maintenance advice and help for free, but any other support beyond that is extra and will cost you upwards of a few hundred dollars per hour. It seems you won’t get much for your money other than the standard connection.

To sum it up:

The good: Slightly better performance than many other T1 providers, and appears stable enough by business standards.

The bad: Everything comes down to price. Even if you’re within the region where BellSouth is available, anything beyond their costly internet line requires additional fees.

The bottom line: BellSouth isn’t for everyone. If you’re a smaller business, I’d suggest another provider. Their telephone service might be exceptional, but their T1 connection isn’t really anything spectacular.