Toll Free numbers used to have a clear advantage: they allowed customers to call long distance at no cost to them. It was a huge advantage for companies who made an income from call-ins, or for government agencies who offered crucial services over the phone. Since the rapid rise of consumer electronics, particularly cell phones with free long distance plans, many companies and individuals now believe Toll Free numbers to be a vestige of the past.
Not so fast.
During their heyday, Toll Free numbers developed into something greater than just a savings for customers. 800 numbers became iconic, used in major marketing efforts and as a tool to build legitimacy. Vanity numbers greatly amplified the value of Toll Free numbers, allowing companies to promote memorable slogans within their phone numbers. Today, small businesses subscribe to Toll-Free numbers for the simple purpose of appearing larger than they actually are. Toll-Free numbers are the original web domain.
All of these advantages, however, are waning in the digital age. But Toll-Free is alive and well. One need only explore their deeper value to understand the advantages these numbers have had all along, but which have not been widely recognized for obvious reasons. Your carriers have neglected to tell you about the true value of a Toll Free number, the value that separates Toll Free from local numbers: multi-carrier routing.
How Multi-Carrier Routing Works
What would happen if your cell phone provider stopped working? What would happen if your home phone cut out? With a local number, there is no remedy. An outage is final. Not so with Toll Free, which has had the capability of splitting traffic between multiple carriers simultaneously for decades. If one carrier has an outage, call traffic can be moved to the alternate carrier so that calls continue to reach their destination normally.
The key is an entity called a Responsible Organization, or RespOrg for short.
Think of a RespOrg as an air traffic controller, and of the runway as your carrier network. RespOrgs are the ones who direct incoming traffic to the right runway at the right time. By default, your Carrier is your RespOrg, meaning they are both your runway and your air traffic controller. The disadvantage of this is that they will direct all traffic to their own runway. If anything blocks their runway, they make all their other traffic wait until it is resolved. Imagine if an airline actually operated this way, how hectic would air travel be?
An independent RespOrg is like an air traffic controller who is not attached to any single runway. So long as the traffic it is directing has permission to land on a specific runway, the controller may send the traffic that way. If one runway is unavailable for any reason, the air traffic controller can send traffic to other runways instead.
Analogy aside, multi-carrier routing protects Toll Free numbers from outages because it allows Toll Free number subscribers to control their own routing, and therefore move traffic when necessary to keep their numbers working. Toll Free numbers, therefore, are much better suited to businesses and critical government services who need to keep their numbers working at all times than local numbers. All you need is an Independent RespOrg.