Are you getting constant busy signals when you try dialing in to your conference calls? Chances are, you’re using a free conference call service. And as you might suspect, you get what you pay for. This article will explain why you are getting those busy signals and what you can do about it.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve received a flood of inquiries from people who are using free conference calling services. They are experiencing constant busy signals and dropped calls whenever they try to dial in to their current services. Fortunately, we can help.
If you are hosting conference calls and are looking for a new conference call service, we encourage you to sign-up for our Instant Activation service, a toll-free service that comes with all the bells and whistles — and NO busy signals! Better yet, you can get your conference call-in number and passcodes in just a few minutes.
We are proud of our business model and practices and are committed to helping your company stay in-touch and afloat during these challenging times. While it’s true that the coronavirus has pushed the conferencing capacity in the United States to its limits, there are other more intriguing and lesser-known reasons that you’re hearing those busy signals with your current “free” provider.
Follow the Money
Believe it not, those free conference call services do make a profit, even though they don’t charge you directly for their service. And therein lies the little-known mystery of how a portion of the conference call business works. You see, small local telephone companies charge large carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile for phone calls that come into their jurisdiction. In this setup, the small local phone companies make deals with conference call companies to put conference bridges within their areas. The more phone traffic they can attract, the more they can charge the large carriers.
What do those small local phone companies do with that money? They share the profits with the conference call companies. That’s how the conference call companies can make money and offer a “free” service at the same time.
It Gets Even More Intriguing
So why the busy signals? The large carriers like AT&T don’t like being charged to deliver your calls to the conference bridge. They have made their position on the matter loud and clear and are preventing calls from getting through in an effort to squash a system that costs AT&T millions of dollars a year.
This squabble has been especially frustrating for consumers, as the coronavirus pandemic flooding the nation has forced many businesspeople to retreat into the relative safety of their own homes rather than staying to work in office buildings, where they could be exposed to hundreds of latent carriers. As a result of employees everywhere setting up in their home offices instead of in the boardroom, services such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Skype are seeing a surge of users seeking to maintain a semblance of their workday routines.
Yet, not all businesses can remain open and functioning as people shelter in place and practice social distancing, and those that can may face extreme financial strain as the economy struggles. This is why people may initially turn to free services to conduct business.
That’s why the free conferencing services are under more scrutiny than ever and why unwitting consumers are forced to endure constant busy signals and dropped calls.
The FCC is Trying to Plug the “Traffic Pumping” Loopholes
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is reforming this convoluted system with an order that bans access arbitrage, otherwise known as “traffic pumping.” Essentially, the FCC’s order adopts regulations to make the companies who take advantage of traffic pumping financially liable for their behavior.
Thanks to these regulations, large operators like AT&T will no longer have to foot the bill for those companies who intentionally use FCC loopholes to direct conference calls through tandem providers. It’s a win for AT&T and a win for American consumers. FCC research estimated that prior to the Access Arbitrage order, U.S. consumers were indirectly charged a collective $60-80 million each year by companies cheating the system — a steep price for a service otherwise advertised as “free.”
Since the FCC order, free conference call companies have been scrambling to maintain their profit margin, and some have requested waivers (exemptions) calling on the FCC to “stop the failure of calls and protect a business that is otherwise complying with the Order.”
Instead, the FCC issued a temporary waiver to the tandem switch provider Inteliquent, a company used by WebEx and Zoom, citing that the high influx of calls that these services would receive as more and more people worked from home would have gone above and beyond the agency’s ratio and been immensely costly. However, the FCC did not grant other free conferencing services the same exemption.
Here is the exact wording of the FCC decision, including the reason why they did not provide an exemption for the free conferencing services:
“During these extraordinary times, Inteliquent’s preexisting customers are helping to facilitate the massive shift to telework and distance learning…There is no reason to believe that all local exchange carriers that provide service to conference calling platforms are similarly situated to Inteliquent. Moreover, Free Conferencing offers no comfort that such a waiver would be anything but an opportunity for existing access-stimulating local exchange carriers to continue the schemes the Commission sought to disrupt by adopting the Access Arbitrage Order.”
Through this decision, the FCC has ensured that no free conference call service can take advantage of the pandemic — a situation that could unwittingly victimize Americans to those who wish to profit off of their need to adapt to new work at home model.
You Get What You Pay For
Now you can see why there is more to this than just a busy signal and why it is so important to work with businesses that provide good and reliable services for a fair price. You’ve heard it time and time again — you get what you pay for.
Here at 24Conference, we stay out of the disputes that consume our “free” conference calling competition by being truthful in our business model and providing professional and reliable service. Our only interest is to provide you and your businesses with the highest quality conferencing available through affordable plans that won’t fail. We hope that we can serve you in the future and promise to do our best to accommodate your unique needs.
Give us a call at (877) 254-2424 or send us a message on our website. We’ll be there with our dedicated staff, ready to provide personal service and a conference bridge that will accept your calls all the time — no loopholes, double-dealing, or busy signals.