Newbie - General Information

Hi there,

I’ve recently taken over a very small home business which offers a cheaper alternative to long distance for customers within my Province.

There are 3 switches located in 3 of the major cities in the Province. The way it works is a customer calls into 1 of the 3 numbers, whichever is local for them, and then they are prompted to dial the long distance number (still within the province) they wish to call. The previous owners had someone custom program a solution for them which would check if the caller was “allowed”, and then when dialing the long distance number, it checks if that number contains one of the area codes for this Province.

Our main customers are very remote farmers who don’t have internet and don’t want to pay the alternative of 10/month from the major phone provider in Canada, but would still like to talk to friends and family within the province.

I’m looking on some information on what would be required to potentially go nation wide, or at least Western Canada. As it is right now, the company was only kept Province wide as it is easier to gain access to the 3 switches in person if there were any hardware issues, so I would need to look for something that is managed by a larger hosting company. I am also unfamiliar with the technical terms of what you call the service that we offer.

Also, is FreePBX something I should even be looking into considering my current needs and how our service is setup.

Any advice, relevant links to articles/tutorials, or help would be appreciated.


Hey sounds like an interesting Business that you run. From the perspective of “toll bypass” you will need to understand how the SIP providers work in your country (ITSP) as far as the rates they offer and the best economic solution to offer your customers.

Asterisk is like a blank canvas. From a telephony perspective you can just about configure it to do anything that you want. The FreePBX distro (this one) is the latest and seems to be far and away the best supported.

What you will find is that “web front ends”, whatever the distro will be able to to the “run of the mill” telephony type applications. When it comes don’t to the real refined customisation you will most likely end up at command line editing dial plans and the like.

My company has been implementing Asterisk based solutions for over five years now and while we are not down to the level of many of the users on these forums, we have an install base of about 50 installs across New Zealand and have not found a single instance that Asterisk does not work well in.

As far as configurability is concerned, I don’t think you can do any better and having to compete many times against big named switches I can tell you that Asterisk can do everything they can do and in most instances a lot better.

As far as training is concerned, these guys are running courses. I have not as yet attended but do intend to. We use a USA based company that offers amazing support and the guy (Chris) that owns it used to be head tech support for Trixbox (back in the days that Fonality actually cared about its customers) – seems like a distant memory!

Go check him out at;

He offers annual support fees rather than the normal “hourly” fees which means he will support you whenever you need it without having to worry about how much time your burning on a call.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

Feel free to contact me direct if you want any further information and I will do my best to help you.