Friday, May 2, 2008


Founded in 1996, Eschelon Telecom, Inc. focuses on serving small to medium sized businesses in the western regions of North America (from Vancouver to Salt Lake City to Phoenix, etc.). The company has over 1,200 employees covering 23 markets in eight states and has been under the same leadership (and by extension, business formula and practices) since its inception.

The pricing isn’t too bad at around the $400 range for their dedicated T1 line. Along with the internet, you also receive email addresses, web hosting, web storage space, domain hosting, IP addresses, SMTP Relay, and other extras at no additional cost. They also have locally-based customer service in each of their primary metropolitan locations.

The downside? Eschelon Telecom, Inc. has very few commitments. The only ones they offer are 70ms on maximum latency, a maximum packet loss of 1%, a restoration time of four hours, and a data delivery commitment of 99.99% - nothing unique there. They also have a “disclaimer” in case their network goes down, stating that they infrequently “may need to perform an upgrade to hardware or software within [the] network. The scheduled maintenance window is 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. local market time.” That’s a little gray, wouldn’t you say so?

On the plus side, they must be doing something right if they claim businesses such as the American Heart Association and Columbia Sportswear utilize their system. Despite reservations, Eschelon may be reliable enough to get things moving.

The good: Many known companies use Eschelon as their provider – an indication of its worth.

The bad: Only optimal for small- to mid-sized businesses. There’s also a serious lack of service commitments.

The bottom line: To be honest, even with all the “bad” aspects of Eschelon, it doesn’t sound too horrible. If it’s reliable enough for some of these well-known businesses and manufacturers, it’s good enough for me.