Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for service:

 

Why should I choose Cumulus?

We are a LOCAL phone company that has specialized in being responsive, friendly and affordable for over 40 years. Cumulus stays  on the cutting edge of technology, provides personal, one-on-one support, and does it all while remembering that people do business with people (that they like), not companies.

What services do you offer?

Cumulus Communications is a full service phone system and hosted VoIP company. We install and maintain both on-premise (closet-based) phone systems and cloud-based phone services, as well as BEING that cloud phone company. Rather than go find you a National carrier and hope they do well, we ARE the carrier. We provide both the equipment and the phone service, so if anything goes wrong, you have us to fix it.

The services we offer are as follows:

  • On-premise Phone Systems (often called a PBX)
  • Cloud-based VOIP phone service
  • Network (formerly called “Voice and Data”) cabling including fiber
  • Network design and installation (switches, firewalls, wifi)
  • Outdoor wireless and fiber installation between buildings
  • Video Surveillance products and cloud-based monitoring
  • Access Control solutions, managed from easy apps
  • Carrier Management, especially fiber Internet, cellular backup, etc. from a selection of over 200 carriers we manage
  • Cumulus Cloud Care unlimited support plan
What are the advantages of the cloud?

Here are the primary reasons people seem to love moving their technologies to the cloud. 

  1. Less up-front cost (no reason to buy in-house servers)
  2. Better reliability. You’re using your share of redundant, mission-critical servers in a world-class data center, with redundant power, cooling and Internet providers. No customer can duplicate this reliability unless they are a large enterprise, and even those types of customers have stopped making those investments (it is not their core business).
  3. Remove the reliance on your office building. This is especially important during severe weather events and pandemics. Working from home is easier if the data center systems are pre-designed for this.
How will you transition my phone system to the cloud?

For some of our customers, we can simply do a backup of their systems and then restore them to a cloud server. For others, we have to install new telephones and program the systems by hand. However, in these cases the up-front cost is a fraction of what a phone system used to be. In some cases it is only ¼ of a normal PBX cost.

How do you ensure the security of my information?

Our network engineers are constantly reviewing our security protocols and protective equipment to stay three steps ahead of the bad guys. One very easy method we use is to limit traffic coming to our phone systems to only USA-based users. Another is to only allow the IP addresses of our customers’ offices to go to the phone systems, or those of the users’ home locations. Besides that, all our systems have built-in firewalls that prevent anyone from even attempting to log in without permission, and after a few bad attempts, the accounts are locked-out.

Is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) the best solution for my organization?

No matter which phone service you choose today, it’s ALL VoIP. Even those carriers who provide PRI (Primary Rate Interface, the previous standard for phone service, also called a T1) are really giving you VoIP service to your building, and converting it to an old-fashioned protocol for your old PBX. Voice over IP is not only proven but it is much BETTER quality than older phone services. Plus the flexibility is crazy good. Now you can work from anywhere, and have phone numbers from anywhere in the country (or even the world) ring you as a local call. VoIP has really come of age.

What phones does Cumulus support?

The great news is that today most phones sold support a protocol called SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). This is a plain-english telephone and computer language that devices use to work better together, no matter which vendor they were made by. So we could theoretically support almost any modern-day telephone. That being said, we specialize in telephones from Sangoma, Mitel and Polycom. We also provide a no-hardware option for some users, by allowing them to use their smart-phone or laptop as their telephone. This became all the rage as people moved home during Covid-19.

What if I need to expand the number of VoIP phones we need?

We have a 5% discount on any future orders of phones, and our programming labor is free for add-ons. It is one of the free services we provide in our Cumulus Cloud Care platform.

Can Cumulus help lower our costs?

We can certainly lower costs, both on the up-front and ongoing. One way is to eliminate many of the analog lines companies have in-house. A second way is to get rid of the older telephone line services for phones in favor of modern hosted VoIP service, which includes the ongoing warranty and maintenance. Finally, another way we save money is to bundle all of the routine monthly services (like faxes, phone calls, audio and video conferencing) into one fixed-price monthly service.

Who is our point of contact for service issues?

If you are a new customer, please email sales@CumulusCommunications.com (or sales@CCI.Tel) or fill out the Contact Us form on our site. If you are an existing Tele-Verse or LeBlanc customer, your contact people are still right at their desk where you left them last.

Will our service be interrupted if we switch providers?

We have been very fortunate to work out steps in almost every case that not a single phone call is missed, lost, etc. during the transition. We will go over your individual situation to confirm that this will be the case, as much depends on the type of system you have now and to which system/service we move you. We have dozens of easy methods to get you your calls and avoid interruptions.

Can we keep our current phone numbers/email addresses?

ABSOLUTELY! Since the 1999 Telecom Act, all local numbers are portable, and able to be moved to a competing carrier. Not only that, but now why don’t you get numbers in more cities, to make yourself look bigger and more local as a company? We can do that for only $1.00 per phone number per month. Not bad, right?

How do you compare with larger national carrier options?

The primary difference between the large, national carriers and us is simple - we are LOCAL. With offices and staff on Long Island, Northern New Jersey, Southern and Central Connecticut, we cover Southern NY State, Northern NJ and all of Southern New England. If a customer needs us to come on-site, we can do so quickly. We also do cabling in these areas, install phones, install cameras and other networking equipment like switches, firewalls and wifi, all with our own full-time (and very smart) people, so we know it is done right. Most National carriers just ship you the phones and wish you luck. We also find that our pricing is comparable, and we can be especially competitive for larger companies, where “economies of scale” brings down our pricing more and more as a company grows.

What about disaster recovery?

One of the best things about having a cloud provider is being able to check off “disaster recovery” on your pandemic readiness or business continuity checklist. A good cloud provider locates their equipment in multiple data centers that each have multiple power suppliers, generators and battery backups. Our data center provider has 5-6 days of oil in the tanks to keep the power on in case of a major disaster. They also have redundant cooling systems and Internet providers. In fact, we house our own very redundant equipment in a data center company called INAP, which has 20 patents on Internet redundancy. They check their ten (10) tier-1 Internet providers every sixty seconds, such that if one of them is suffering with poor quality, it is dropped down the list of who we use until they fix their problems. Between that automatic quality check and our use of two locations (Secaucus NJ and Plano TX), we have maintained our “five-nines” (99.999%) quality rating since we started our own cloud hosted phone service in 2015.

What extra protections have you put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic?

We care about our staff as much as you do about yours, so the first thing we did was to ensure our people could easily work from home. (Hint - we have encouraged this since 2005!) Then it was onto helping our customers to do the same. We tripled our normal call volume during March 2020 to get our customers’ employees relocated to their home offices, where they could be fully productive. On an ongoing basis, we check our staff daily when they come to the office (using a touchless thermometer), encourage CDC-recommended social distancing and mask practices, and we let our employees know that if they have any unhealthy symptoms, they must stay home.

FAQs for acquisition:

 

Why did Cumulus acquire Tele-Verse?

Cumulus (then called LeBlanc Communications Group) was approached through a business broker by Tele-Verse. Frank Paone, the Tele-Verse Communications owner, was looking for just the right company to whom he could sell his 40-year business. In all of the discussions we had, it was imperative per Frank that his staff and customers had to be well taken care of by anyone acquiring his company. It became clear to both parties that the companies had similar cultures and values in terms of the focus on high-touch, high-quality customer support. This made finding a deal between the companies very easy. Further, many of the Tele-Verse customers had been looking for more of a cloud option, something that Cumulus has offered for over five years. The synergies were too good to pass-up, and a deal was struck.

Will the Tele-Verse name live on?

While the Tele-Verse corporation still exists and will continue indefinitely, we have decided to market ourselves with the Cumulus Communications name, reflecting the high focus the industry is placing on cloud-based solutions for all of the benefits the cloud offers. Despite the change in the name you might see us using, the exceptional team you have come to know and love will remain in place. The most important asset of the acquisition is the amazing set of Tele-Verse employees and the relationships they have built with the clients, some for almost 40 years!

Will the Long Island location remain open?

The Long Island location is perfectly situated and allows us to service our clients in the NY Metro area. There are no plans to move or eliminate this location. Between the New York and Connecticut offices, as well as our ability to remotely support most of our customers, we now service all of Southern New England, lower New York State and Northern New Jersey all within the timeframe we guarantee in our service level agreement for LOCAL, ON-SITE visits when needed.

How will the change in ownership affect my contract?

All existing and future contracts will be honored without change or interruption unless mutually agreed upon. We may also offer you to convert your ongoing warranty into a very cost-effective hosted service instead. Please ask our staff about this.

Will my costs increase?

One of the best things about hosted phone service is its cost savings. We predict that in addition to the flexibility it offers, a larger percentage of the Tele-Verse customers who convert to our hosted service will pay less overall. The up-front cost of a hosted service is half the cost of a new, on-premise (closet-based) phone system, and for some companies it is only one quarter of the regular cost. (Ask us about the 50% tax credit!) Then, when considering that all support, including moves, adds and changes, is included, as well as the ongoing warranty of the phones and ongoing training, our customers will no longer have to pay any maintenance fees or “RMATs” (remote moves/adds/tech-support). All of the support is included in the monthly phone bill. This should allow cost savings for most customers.

Will Cumulus value my warranties?

All manufacturer warranties and service agreements that are in place will continue to be honored. In addition, anyone on our hosted phone service will automatically have our “Cumulus Cloud Care” support plan, which includes ongoing warranty on all telephones.

If we want to keep using our Mitel system, can we do that?

The Cumulus New York office has a very long history of being heavily focused on installing and supporting Mitel products (and Intertel products before that). Multiple of our engineers have more than 35 years of experience with these products. Our warehouse is also well stocked with spare Mitel and Intertel parts. We will continue to be known for this. But in the event our customers are considering upgrading or changing, we have cloud-solutions from Mitel, Sangoma and Cumulus to offer, each with its own advantages.

Will there be any service interruptions?

Not only will there be no service interruptions, but now the staff of each office has been fortified with help from the other office, in the way of engineering and back-office support. As of July 2020, we became a staff of 22, which will allow much better long-term support for our customers.

How will my service change?

We don’t expect any changes other than positive ones, along with better options for providing services to our customers. We hope you will check our website often as we keep adding more information about our products and services. We also hope you will contact us to see a demo of some of our new services.

Who is our point of contact for service issues?

All service inquiries will be handled by the same folks you have come to know and appreciate. The same personnel will still resolve any service-related issues.