Dedicated Long-Distance Circuits

There is one big hurdle in telecom, and after you jump this barrier you move from Junior Varsity to Varsity. That transition is the jump from regular phone lines (what the industry calls switched lines) for long-distance use to dedicated long-distance circuits.

You probably use regular switched phone lines at home every day. Many small businesses have them, and even large businesses have a handful of switched lines for backup purposes, to run security services, or to handle overflow phone calls.

Switched lines are wonderful because you can do everything with them: You can call 411 or 911, dial a toll-free number, call your brother next door, or your aunt on vacation in Istanbul. What is even better is that other people can easily call you.

Dedicated long-distance circuits are good only for long-distance calls, whether they are to another state or another country. However, dedicated long-distance circuits do have some downsides. Several of the features that you take for granted are not provided on them. Services that are not available on dedicated long-distance circuits are:

  • Access to 911 emergency service.

  • Access to 411 information service.

  • Access to 611 telephone repair service.

  • The ability to dial toll-free numbers.

  • The ability to dial long-distance bypass codes for your calls. These are the 10-10 codes you may have heard about on TV.

  • The ability to receive calls by any means other than a toll-free number.

Actually, no dedicated circuit has a phone number naturally built into it. You can receive inbound calls on your dedicated circuit, but only with a toll-free number pointed to your circuit or special Direct-Inward Dialing (DID) service from a carrier.

DIDs only allow you to receive calls, and act like toll-free numbers, sending calls into your dedicated circuit, but not being listed on your caller ID when you dial out from it. DIDs are generally only available on circuits set up by your local carrier, and not for long-distance circuits.

With all these limitations on long-distance circuits, you might wonder why anyone orders them. The reasons add up quickly in per-minute cost savings. Just as you get a better deal when you buy anything in bulk, you receive a better per-minute rate on a dedicated circuit.