Fixed landline business telecommunications services

Fixed landline business
A "fixed line" telephone, also known as a landline, is a standard telephone used over the "wired" telephone network.
How do I choose a service provider?

The public telephone network was operated by British Telecom until 1984, when the industry was opened up to competition. The market is made up of a multitude of operators (or telcos), split into network providers, which supply services direct to the premises, and service providers or "billing only" telcos, which use the infrastructure supplied by network providers.

BT is still the biggest network provider, but alternative providers, including cable TV companies, have entered the market in several parts of the UK, including AT&T, Cable & Wireless (formerly Mercury), NTL and Telewest (now merged under the Virgin Media banner).
If you have a BT line, you may choose a different service provider to carry the calls themselves, regardless of where your business is based. These 'billing only' services can be accessed in two ways -

* indirect access - indirect access operators use BT's infrastructure from a customer's premises to the exchange to provide their own services. Services from these providers are accessed by dialling a prefix number or by routing through a box, which automatically dials the prefix. Some companies, such as First Telecom and One.Tel, specialise in indirect access, while the cable companies offer indirect access services in areas where they don't have their own infrastructure.
* carrier pre-selection (CPS) - with CPS there is no need to dial a prefix or use an adaptor, as calls are carried by a company selected in advance. CPS has been in operation since December 2000, and most indirect access operators are expected to offer it in the future.
* Local Loop Unbundling - where a carrier has its own equipment in the local BT exchange and a trunk line to its own network