As you probably know already, NBN is enforcing lots of changes to business equipment because the analogue lines that they use will no longer be there so alternatives have to be found.
When moving to the NBN, the following business equipment needs to be assessed for compatibility: lift phones, EFTPOS & HiCAPS machines, security systems and phone systems. Another one that needs to be added to the list is Franking Machines. If they are not already connected to the Internet to do their top-ups then they may be dialling a 1900 premium rate number. Many of the VoIP carriers do not support 1900 numbers because they are too hard to bill. One of our providers explained that since all of the numbers have a different rate they decided it was easier not to load them at all. He also explained that in the UK, for example, they have blocks of premium rate numbers that are at a certain rate. This makes it easy to load into their billing systems.
One option may be to change the machine to a new one that can be connected to the Internet but that can cost upwards of $4000.
For the particular instance we are dealing with at the moment, the 1900 number for the Franking Machine top-ups is already with a particular carrier but the 1900 for the support desk is not. This particular carrier provides a basic SIP service that will run over the existing NBN. We can put an ATA on that and probably run it through the phone system. We can then program the phone system to send those calls out the specific trunk group.
The Franking Machine only tops up periodically – $1000 at a time. The customer is an accountant so they send out a lot of letters.
When choosing to deal with a provider such as ICS Technologies, this is the sort of deep knowledge of telecommunications that you gain access to rather than just having something implemented by a less knowledgeable provider who is then unable to offer a solution when unusual issues such as this crop up.