Author Archives: InfoStructure

InfoStructure Sharpens its Focus Upon Business Solutions

Talent, Oregon – July 21, 2011 – Last month, we announced Ashland Home Net’s acquisition of our Ashland residential Internet customers served from the Ashland Fiber Network. This came as a surprise to some, since InfoStructure had its origin in Ashland as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) 17 years ago and had been known as such ever since. The fact is we have been evolving from our ISP-only model since 2003 and are now a certified telecom carrier offering a wide range of services throughout Oregon and nearby states. We’d like to share with you a brief company history and our vision going forward.

InfoStructure had been thriving as an Ashland ISP since 1994 for nearly a decade when Prime Time Ventures, owned by Jeff Rhoden, Scott Hansen and Chad Cota – three Ashland natives, acquired the company and kept the InfoStructure name. Jeff and Scott, still managing partners today, already had eight years of telecom experience operating GCW Communications Consultants in Oregon. The vision for the newly acquired InfoStructure was first to become a certified telecom carrier with a broad range of voice and data services mainly for small and medium businesses throughout Southern Oregon, which came to fruition from 2005 to 2009. While we still served thousands of residential customers, our focus continued to be largely on commercial accounts.

The second stage of the vision was to seize the burgeoning opportunity in business VoIP technology. So around two years ago, we began investing in our IP network and turning up businesses on VoIP phone lines, known as SIP trunks, with a new nationwide footprint. Last year, additional investments were made both in VoIP networking and hiring new employees to support our growth. We began the first stage of developing a leading-edge, hosted VoIP PBX platform with a partner company in Las Vegas, which we see as the greatest opportunity for us and, moreover, the greatest value for our business customers over the next decade. We also hired a seasoned marketing executive, Jeff Marlow, and account management executive, Chris Wick, with over 40 years of combined telecom experience.

This year, our development initiatives in our hosted VoIP PBX platform continue and we’re already successfully deploying services to business customers. Just recently, we also hired three new highly talented and experienced employees with extensive telecom experience:

Trisha White – Customer Service Manager with five years of telecom customer management experience with Shared Communications/ATG. Trisha has an excellent track record in customer service and knows the industry well.
Teri Woods – Account Manager with fifteen years of telecom sales experience with Charter, Voice-Tel and Shared Communications/ATG. Terry is an expert in customer base development and growth.
Kitty Whitt – Comptroller with four years of telecom regulatory experience with Telecom Professionals, Inc. in Oklahoma and Rio Networks in Roseburg, Oregon. Kitty is very savvy in legal and tax compliance.

These are exciting times for our business and our industry and we’re honored to serve you as a business customer!

InfoStructure Transfers Residential Fiber Customers to Ashland Home Net

Ashland, Oregon – June 24, 2011 – InfoStructure, a telecommunications provider based in Talent, Oregon, announced the acquisition of its residential fiber Internet customer base in Ashland by cable TV provider Ashland Home Net.

InfoStructure, originally founded in Ashland in 1994 and currently operated by managing partners, Jeff Rhoden and Scott Hansen, has greatly expanded its regional service reach through its carrier partner network. In recent years, the company has become more focused on business VoIP and data solutions and the transfer of their Ashland residential Internet customers represents another step in that direction.

According to Jeff Rhoden, “This move is beneficial for all – the customers, Ashland Home Net and InfoStructure. The customers will be better served because they will have a provider located right in Ashland that can offer a better selection of residential services, including cable TV. Internet service will not be affected in any way because it will remain on the Ashland Fiber Network. The customers can even keep the email addresses that they currently have. In addition, this move will give Ashland Home Net a broader base of local customers, and it allows InfoStructure to better focus on our strong suit – serving small to medium sized businesses.”

Jim Teece, President & CEO of Ashland Home Net, agrees. “We’re excited about this acquisition; it’s a natural fit with our residential cable TV and Internet model. The transition should be seamless and transparent for everyone because the customers will remain on the same network, and most importantly, we believe that our new customers will be very pleased with the service packages that we can offer them.”

The transfer will be effective on July 1st.

Ashland Home Net is the largest ISP in Ashland, exclusively offering Ashland Fiber Network services to Ashland residents. Ashland Home Net offers Cable TV and Internet Phone services as well as AFN’s high-speed Internet. Conveniently located next to Safeway, Ashland Home Net also provides local technical support and computer repair.

InfoStructure continues to emerge as a successful growth company in the IP cloud space, leveraging the power of the Internet to provide a wide range of voice and data services that it hosts within its IP network. In business since 1994, the company serves small and medium sized businesses with both traditional communications services, as well as its expanding suite of IP services. InfoStructure has consistently grown its workforce and its customer base since its inception, and it currently serves over 5,000 customers primarily in the Pacific Northwest.

InfoStructure Becomes a Preferred Voice Services Provider to Lithia Motors

Southern Oregon telecom provider serves one of America’s largest auto retailers.

Medford, Oregon, June 15, 2011 – InfoStructure, a telecommunications solutions provider based in Talent, Oregon, announced its customer relationship with Lithia Motors (NYSE stock symbol – LAD), one of America’s largest automotive retailers with stores throughout the Western and Midwest United States. In ten Lithia store locations, InfoStructure now is a preferred provider of voice communications services designed for multi-location businesses.

According to Kyra Drennan, Vice President of Computer Services at Lithia’s corporate headquarters in Medford, Oregon, “We have InfoStructure communications serving ten stores in Nevada and California, and overall we are quite pleased with their service, as well as their customer support.”

InfoStructure offers a broad suite of voice and data solutions, ranging from hosted VoIP – a PBX replacement alternative provided as managed service, along with other cloud-based services, as well as traditional local phone, long distance and Internet broadband. Through the reach of its partner network, the company can readily turn up customers with multiple sites just about anywhere in the country. Jeff Rhoden, Managing Partner of InfoStructure, states, “We’re proud to have a widely acclaimed, multi-location company like Lithia Motors as an enterprise customer and be able to meet the rigorous communication demands of their type of business.”

The current corporate locations of both Lithia Motors and InfoStructure exist within seven miles of each other in Southern Oregon and in relatively close proximity to the park space in downtown Medford where Lithia plans to construct a 65,000 square foot headquarters building. Lithia is committed to supporting the local community and aligning with local business when it can.

Lithia Motors is a publicly traded company (NYSE stock symbol – LAD). Founded as a Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge dealership in Ashland, Oregon in 1946, the company has grown throughout several states to become one of America’s largest automotive retailers featuring most domestic and import franchises. Lithia’s continued success has been the result of its focus on providing the customer with “an honest and simpler buying and service experience.” For more information on Lithia Motors, see www.lithia.com.

InfoStructure continues to emerge as a successful growth company in the IP cloud space, leveraging the power of the Internet to provide a wide range of voice and data services that it hosts within its IP network. In business since 1994, the company serves small and medium businesses with both traditional communications services, as well as its expanding suite of IP services. InfoStructure has consistently grown its workforce, its customer base, and its bottom line since its inception, and it currently serves over 5,000 customers primarily in the Pacific Northwest.

Virtual Office

Virtual OfficeFor the sake of convenience, cutting costs, or accomplishing out-of-office tasks, many employees today work from remote locations, including their homes, airports, coffee shops, other offices or just about anywhere their work takes them where they can stay connected. The challenge of these “virtual offices” is having a level of communication that is as accessible, flexible and productive as that of an office environment with in-house systems optimized for business communications. An answer to this challenge has been emerging for a decade and is just beginning to reach critical mass – hosted VoIP.

Hosted VoIP has many names, like hosted PBX, IP telephony, managed VoIP, and others that all point to the same thing – unified voice and data applications that are accessible through the Internet. Because these applications are “hosted” (I.e. they reside on a carrier’s servers), and not maintained at a particular business office, they can be accessed from anywhere on the planet…sort of like mobile phone ap’s but without all the downloading and with greater business efficiency than a mobile phone. These applications range from advanced PBX features to local and long distance calling, web conferencing, speech-to-text messaging, video, point-and-click calling, Internet faxing and much more.

The versatility of hosted VoIP platforms enables carriers to integrate new ap’s without you having to purchase additional systems, hardware or software. And because the platforms are scalable, you can add, delete and modify phone extensions or calling features on the fly. Your office phone number follows you around, whether you use an IP phone or soft client (a phone function manipulated from your PC screen, along with a headset). In other words, all of your outbound calls carry your name and/or office number, providing continuity in identification, and your inbound calls are received on the same number. And through a web interface, you have the ability to manage all of your communications. In fact, you have all of the exact same communication features that you would enjoy from your office on the same platform; nothing is sacrificed in your virtual office. You just can’t accomplish these things with a typical phone system… a virtual phone system is a must!

Above all, hosted VoIP is an economical alternative. When you consider the huge capital cost, maintenance costs, and peripheral equipment expenses required with in-office phone systems, along with monthly phone line and long distance costs, hosted VoIP will usually save your business a bundle. Most providers offer hosted VoIP as a managed service billed monthly.

For more information on hosted VoIP, visit our web page on InfoTalk Pro – an innovative hosted VoIP solution from InfoStructure.

InfoStructure Launches Business VoIP Application – InfoTalk Pro

Southern Oregon telecom carrier provides small and medium businesses
with a “big corporation” solution for the desktop.

Medford, OR, April 19, 2011 – InfoStructure, a telecom solutions provider based in Talent, Oregon, announced the release of its latest product – InfoTalk Pro, an all-in-one voice and data solution which integrates the PC and IP phone and provides a rich array of PBX features on a platform that is scalable, mobile, user friendly and cost effective.

InfoTalk Pro elevates the communications capabilities of small and medium business to new levels. Through a unique browser interface, a user can simply point-and-click to accomplish several call management functions that don’t exist on traditional phone systems, making business communications easier, quicker and more efficient. As a managed service, InfoTalk Pro also eliminates the need for an on-premise phone system and reduces associated costs because all of its functions are “hosted” on application servers within InfoStructure’s IP network.

According to Scott Hansen, Managing Partner of InfoStructure, “InfoTalk Pro was modeled primarily after leading commercial IP systems that are affordable mainly to large companies. We incorporated the best features of those systems, uniquely integrated them into our platform, and now offer them as a service to small and medium businesses. Essentially, InfoTalk Pro eliminates the complexity, the capital expenditure, the on-going maintenance and repair costs, and many functional limitations associated with customer owned phone systems and related services. “

InfoTalk Pro is available in three different plans with both fixed and usage-based monthly pricing per phone station. If a company has varying communication needs per employee or department, all three plans may be selected within one account for single or multi-location applications.

InfoStructure continues to emerge as a successful growth company in the IP cloud space, leveraging the power of the Internet to provide a wide range of voice and data services that it hosts within its IP network. In business since 1994, the company serves small and medium businesses with both traditional communications services, as well as its expanding suite of IP services. InfoStructure has consistently grown its workforce, its customer base, and its bottom line since its inception, and it currently serves over 5,000 customers primarily in the Pacific Northwest.

For more information on InfoTalk Pro, see our website at business-voip.html.
InfoStructure represents a new generation of telecommunications providers harnessing the power of the Internet and providing network services for small and medium businesses in the Western US. In business since 1994, the company started as an ISP providing Internet access in southern Oregon, and by 2003, it transitioned into voice services as a CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) and began offering traditional business and residential phone services. By 2007, InfoStructure implemented a fully redundant IP network and began offering business VoIP. Today the company offers a wide range of IP voice and data services, as well as traditional telephone and Internet services. For more information, visit www.infostructure.net.

When Disaster Strikes

Disater RecoveryIt’s unlikely but possible that your business may experience a disaster that disables all of your communications for more than just a couple of hours. Cable cuts, power outages, building fires, flooding, tornadoes and earthquakes are realities of life that can and will take place. Is your business prepared for any of these?

A 2009 study by Business Research Institute revealed that of all the recovery points necessary in the event of a disaster (data loss, employee management, notifications, etc.), 65% of the businesses surveyed said telecommunications was the weakest link. The fact is that an outage in telephone communications lasting several hours, or even days, can cost a communications-intensive business substantially in lost revenue, good will, and credibility with its customers. An extreme example of this was the 911 event in NYC, which disabled communications in hundreds of businesses for several days, resulting in extensive financial damages. Fortunately, terrorist events don’t happen frequently in the US, but what about a simple cable cut that takes eight hours to be located and repaired or a power outage that requires a failed transformer to be completely replaced or a building fire that damages or destroys your phone system, which are much more common occurrences?

While most businesses recognize the exposure in not having a disaster recovery plan, they also realize that there’s a cost in having one, and it’s not usually low-budget. Implementing redundant, fail-over phone functionality with traditional TDM phone system, as well as maintaining alternate transport facilities, can be an expensive proposition. Many believe that not spending dollars on implementing a plan is worth the risk…until a disaster strikes. It’s like going without health insurance to save on expenses, which works for as long you are not seriously sick or injured.

However, with the the latest IP technology, an excellent solution for disaster recovery now exists without your having to invest in redundant systems or diverse network facilities. Business class “hosted” VoIP, by which phone functions are housed on a carrier’s servers, is a viable solution by the very fact that your phone functions are maintained remotely – not at your office location. This means that in the event of a disaster at your office building, at the minimum, your inbound calls will roll over to voice mail and not be lost as they otherwise would be on a traditional phone system; you can leave your office and with Internet access make outbound calls on an IP phone with the exact same features that you enjoy from your office and receive your office calls at the same number as well; and you can still access and reconfigure your call management functions through the web. Because these disaster recovery features are inherent with a hosted service, which will also reduce your standard phone expenses, they are well worth considering.

InfoStructure has recently introduced a new hosted VoIP solution for business – InfoTalk Pro, an effective alternative for disaster recovery. InfoTalk Pro is a powerful PBX replacement alternative with a rich array of PBX features, a unique browser interface for quick and easy call management, and desktop integration of PC and IP phone, making it scalable, user friendly, economical and manageable. For more information, please visit our InfoTalk Pro web page.

Voice in the Cloud

What do you have when you integrate business class IP phones, a PC interface with advanced PBX management functions plus a wide array of user features, high definition voice, as well as local and long distance service, all provided from the cloud on a unified platform?…InfoTalk Pro.

InfoTalk Pro, the latest product of InfoStructure, represents a new era of IP cloud communications, where voice and data are uniquely unified on the desktop to provide a powerful communications application. With extensive telephony functions accessible through your browser interface, you can now simply point-and-click your way to making new calls, accessing your call history, dialing an employee’s extension, managing your user features, originating a conference call, administering new phone numbers, receiving calls, and much more. All of the functionality is “hosted” in the InfoStructure network, relieving you of the standard PBX maintenance responsibility and associated costs. And because InfoTalk Pro is provided as a managed service, not a phone system, you don’t incur the huge capital cost in purchasing a traditional PBX system!

In addition to cost savings, InfoTalk Pro translates into many other benefits:

 Flexibility – real time moves, ads & changes
 Productivity – ease and speed of use
 Scalability – grows with your business
 Mobility – usable via the Internet anywhere on the planet
 Reliability – maintained by InfoStructure 7 X 24 for you
 Controllability – user and management system controls

To receive a quote for your business on InfoTalk Pro, give us a call at 541-842-8214 or visit our website section on Unified Communications.

InfoStructure Provides Hosted VoIP Solution for Coldwell Banker Commercial NW

Southern Oregon telecommunications provider targets real estate as one of several
vertical markets that will benefit from its hosted VoIP platform.

Medford, OR, March 30, 2011 – InfoStructure, a telecom solutions provider based in Talent, Oregon, announced the pre-launch of InfoTalk Pro – a feature-rich, hosted VoIP platform, with Coldwell Banker Commercial NW of Medford, Oregon, an affiliate of Coldwell Banker Commercial – a worldwide leader in the commercial real estate industry.

An integrated voice and data solution, InfoTalk Pro combines desktop PBX features with point-and-click telephony functions, resulting in a powerful, user-controlled communications platform with the “hosted” applications residing within the InfoStructure network.

According to Thomas Fischer, owner/broker of Coldwell Banker Commercial NW, “We’re really pleased with InfoStructure’s hosted IP solution. Not only are we reducing our communications costs by not having to purchase a new phone system, we’re also enabling our agents and customers to communicate more effectively, which translates into greater productivity.”

InfoTalk Pro represents a growing trend towards IP cloud services rather than traditional TDM services because of their scalability, ease of use, and cost reduction. Jeff Rhoden, Managing Partner at InfoStructure, considers the pre-launch of InfoTalk Pro very timely. “InfoTalk Pro is poised to take off amidst a new era of telecommunications, which has long anticipated a surge in business class VoIP services. That surge has already begun, and we believe that we are well positioned to capitalize on it. We’ve already been experiencing customer demand in small and medium size businesses within several vertical markets, such as education, finance, real estate, and software technology.”

InfoStructure continues to emerge as a successful growth company in the IP cloud space, leveraging the power of the Internet to provide a wide range of voice and data services that it hosts within its IP network. In business since 1994, the company serves small and medium businesses with both traditional communications services, as well as its expanding suite of IP services. InfoStructure has consistently grown its workforce, its customer base, and its bottom line since its inception, and it currently serves over 5,000 customers primarily in the Pacific Northwest. For more information on InfoStructure, see www.infostructure.net.

Coldwell Banker Commercial NW, located in Oregon’s Rogue Valley, has become one of the dominant commercial real estate firms in Southern Oregon by focusing on the needs and interactions of people, places and processes. It is connected to the most powerful real estate network in the Nation – the Coldwell Banker Commercial organization, which is comprised of over 260 companies and almost 3,000 professionals throughout the U.S., as well as internationally. For more information on Coldwell Banker Commercial NW, see www.cbcommercialnw.com.

Big Change in USF

The FCC is pondering a decision that could affect millions of consumers and businesses in rural America. That decision could be positive or negative, depending upon what your priorities are – the phone or the Internet.

A backward glance in time reveals that the telephone, in its earliest stage, was considered to be a novelty. Years later, it became a luxury for those who could afford it and had access to phone lines strung in more populated areas of the US. When the telephone’s value and subsequent need became recognized, Uncle Sam intervened to make sure that phones and phone lines were accessible to American citizens.

However, the problem for decades in providing phone service in low population areas has been the cost of expanding the phone networks to reach everyone, with profitability simply unattainable for the rural phone companies. To solve this problem, in 1996 the FCC created the Universal Service Fund (USF), which mandated that all US phone companies contribute to USF in order to subsidize those rural areas without phone service. This also helped to level the playing field among phone companies competing for the new nationwide telecom opportunities. Since then, hundreds of rural phone companies, along with their consumer and business customers, have benefited. Last year alone, over $8 billion in USF was spent on rural phone projects.

Internet broadband has experienced a similar progression, evolving from novelty to luxury to necessity. While Internet broadband is available today to the vast majority of Americans in populated areas, it’s still nonexistent in thousands of small towns. ISP’s have encountered the same financial hurdles in building their broadband networks as the phone companies experienced, where return on investment is elusive due to the limited subscriber opportunity. Consequently, an estimated 20 million Americans are still without access to Internet broadband.

So Uncle Sam, once again, is on the verge of taking a giant step to support rural areas. The FCC is now considering passing landmark legislation that will redirect those same USF funds to support the construction of data networks in rural areas. The assumption is that the need for rural phone line subsidies has been fulfilled, and now resources need to be directed to providing high speed Internet access.

In addition, the new legislation, if passed, would have more stringent regulation going forward, because the USF, from day one, has been loosely managed and, in many cases, abused, with virtually no boundaries on project costs. One widely publicized example is in the state of Washington where the phone lines of less than two dozen residents in one rural community have been subsidized to the tune of $20,000 per year from the USF.

However, this potentially huge shift in policy (and money) has many rural areas very concerned, as the very phone funds which have supported them for years may now be redirected. According to the New York Times, “The reallocation of money — and the promise it will be spent more carefully — unsettles many small and medium-size firms in rural areas that rely on the flow of subsidies. The proposed rules would also change the interconnection fees paid to companies, another concern to the rural telecommunications companies that count on the fees for a big chunk of revenue.” (NYT, “New Rules for Technology,” Feb. 23, 2011).

This proposed legislation in USF seems to be needed and therefore justifiable. Also, it’s supported by some of the largest telecom carriers in the US. But it will need to be scrutinized and both sides of the coin weighed accordingly. We don’t want it to rob Peter to pay Paul.

InfoStructure Expands into Pittock

Oregon based telecommunications provider expands its IP network into the Pittock Internet Exchange
in Portland – one of the largest telecom hubs in the US.

Portland, Oregon – February 24, 2011 – Infostructure, a new generation provider of IP cloud services, today announced its network expansion into the Pittock Internet Exchange in Portland, Oregon – one of the largest telecommunications hubs in the US.

Fueled by customer growth in IP cloud services and the need for greater network capacity, reliability and scalability, InfoStructure has upgraded its IP network by establishing a point of presence into Pittock, which hosts many tier-1 carriers such as AT&T Local Service, Qwest Communications, Verizon Business, XO Communications and more.

InfoStructure’s Managing Partner, Jeff Rhoden, sees the move by his company as a natural evolution in the company’s growth.

“Our network expansion into Pittock accommodates our customer growth and satisfies the growing demand for IP cloud services of the highest quality. With the current paradigm shift towards IP services such as VoIP, hosted PBX, Business VoIP, cloud computing and other IP-driven services, we are attempting to stay ahead of the curve by fulfilling the growing demand for those services while, at the same time, continuing to provide our traditional TDM voice and data services.”

In addition, InfoStructure will connect its network through NWAX (Northwest Access Exchange), a member based network exchange which improves Internet performance by its ability to minimize router hops.

InfoStructure represents a new generation of telecommunications providers harnessing the power of the Internet and providing network services for small and medium businesses in the Western US. In business since 1994, the company started as an ISP providing Internet access in southern Oregon, and by 2003, it transitioned into voice services as a CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) and began offering traditional business and residential phone services. By 2007, InfoStructure implemented a fully redundant IP network and began offering business VoIP. Today the company offers a wide range of IP voice and data services, as well as traditional telephone and Internet services. For more information, visit www.infostructure.net.