Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need any phone lines to use Communicate Freely?

Communicate Freely replaces your existing phone service. You do not need any phone lines for voice calls, but you may need to keep one line for analog devices, such as a security system, postage meter, POS terminal, etc.

What kind of Internet connection do I need for the phones to work reliably?

Any internet connection that is consistently reliable, has low latency, and enough bandwidth will work. Each phone call uses approximately 96 Kb/s upstream and downstream. A standard DSL connection can handle up to 8 simultaneous calls. Packet loss must also be very low, as dropped packets cause your voice to "break up". In general, fiber is the best, with DSL being the next-best choice. Cable Internet works well in some areas, but the large monopoly providers have had issues with packet loss in some areas. Rural wireless rarely works well, due to the high packet loss and inconsistent connection. There are some exceptions to this. Contact customers service with your specific situation and we can recommend providers that we have had good results with.

Do I have to sign a contract?

No. Communicate Freely is only month to month. You own your equipment, and are free to leave at any time. We would prefer to earn your loyalty by providing good service.

Can we keep our local phone numbers?

Yes! Communicate Freely has local service in all major Ontario centers, and many smaller towns. We can also move in your existing Toll-Free numbers. Local number portability is very regional. Contact customer service if you would like to verify that your number can be moved.

We already have phones, do we have to buy new ones?

Most likely. Our network uses all digital techonolgy, your existing analog phones are not compatible with our network. In order to provide the best voice quality and feature set possible, you will have to purchase newer hardware. Note: If you have made an investment in either Aastra or Polycom IP telephones, we may be able to use them on our network.

We tried Voice over IP before, and the quality was poor. What makes your service any different?

Voice over IP is an incredible techonolgy, but many elements have to come together in order for it to work well. We put a great deal of effort into maintaining a level of voice quality that often exceeds that of a land line. In order to do so, we will work with your IT department to ensure that your network and Internet connection are optimized for voice. For smaller businesses without IT staff, we can assist with network management, and perform any needed upgrades.

What if our Internet connection goes down, or we lose electrical power? What happens to our phones?

Because our system is a hosted pbx, your customer calls will still be answered, even your office goes down. If your internet connection is lost, your desk phones will not operate, but calls will still be answered, and can be re-routed to another phone (such as a cell phone), or simply directed to voice mail. If you opt to install a battery backup system with your installation, your phones can continue to operate through short, even longer power outages. The core system that processes your calls is located in a secure data center with backup batteries and generators. This facility stores a weeks worth of fuel on site, and has priority refueling should an outage last longer than that. Our business office also has several days of backup power, so we can continue to provide customer service even in the face of major utility interruptions.

Right now our business is very small, but we have big plans in the future. Can we start small and grow later?

Yes! You can start with as few phones as you need, and add more as your company grows. Because there is no "phone system" at your office, there isn't anything to outgrow and replace. As your company grows, simply order more phones to accommodate your needs. If you have seasonal growth, you can add extensions for your busy time, then cancel them again during slow periods. This allows your phone capacity (and costs) to scale proportionally with your business.

Who is Communicate Freely? Are you just a brand of a bigger company?

No. Communicate Freely is a privately owned Canadian corporation. Business telephone service is our primary business, and we own the equipment used to provide the service. Our telephone service has been in operation since 2006, longer than most of our competitors. We don't resell our service, and we don't re-label service from somebody else. While we must purchase some low-level services from other companies, we have multiple suppliers for critical resources.