Friday, May 2, 2008

Cbeyond Communications

Founded in 1999, Cbeyond Communications is a T1 service provider aimed towards small businesses. Their motto is to “deliver ‘big business’ communications services to small business customers at prices they could afford.”

Their service provides everything a business would need to operate at peak efficiency, including six landlines (or a combination of landlines and mobile lines), a minimum of 1,500 long distance minutes, unlimited email accounts with spam blocker and virus protection, enhanced web hosting with 1.5 GB of storage, and the T1 internet service itself. The price is reasonable as well, starting at only $495/month.

Does this sound good to you? I’ll bet it does. But here come the downsides, and there are quite a bunch of them:

First, Cbeyond Communications’ services are extremely limited, only operating in several select cities (Atlanta, Denver, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Detroit). They are also questionable in their commitments, as they don’t provide the information upfront and are careful in avoiding any position in respect to their service’s performance at all.

Secondly, from the information they do provide, you can probably figure out their T1 line is not a fully dedicated 1.5Mbps service. They only tell you that your line may receive up to 1.5Mbps via the T1, but it’s not guaranteed. Seeing that they operate in major cities and are geared towards smaller businesses, it would be a safe bet to note their lines may be oversubscribed. If you are indeed a small business, the reduced speed may not affect you as much; however, if you’re a larger business, this is definitely not a service that seems appealing.

The good: Relatively low costs – and that’s about it. Those additional goodies that they offer with your line are usually the standard in the business, and you will be able to get them from most other providers as well.

The bad: Extremely limited regions of service – it’s only offered in less than a dozen cities across the United States. Only small businesses profit from the reduced costs due to the potentially reduced speeds – but even then, it may be better to just go with DSL.

The bottom line: Skip it. This company isn’t too promising. There are just too many factors involved that spell out a bad agreement… did I also mention it’s a 3-year contractual agreement?