Skip to content

Four years after a landmark law to deregulate the telecommunications industry, the telephone business in Savannah, for many consumers, looks much the same.

That could all change this year, when a new set of market dynamics already on the horizon lands in Savannah.

Experts say the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996 has brought lower long-distance rates and more telecommunications competition, although larger markets have fared far better than smaller markets such as Savannah.
Among other things, the 1996 act allowed the regional Bell operating companies such as BellSouth to compete in the markets of other Bell companies if they opened their own networks to competitors. It required Bell companies to make local lines available for qualified companies to resell at wholesale rates below the price Bell charges its own customers.
Deregulation will blur distinctions between long-distance companies, local phone companies, and even cable TV companies.
One effect of deregulation has been the emergence of competitive local exchange carriers — telephone companies that compete against the local phone company by leasing lines or by building their own network.
At the end of 1999, 162 companies have been certified by the Georgia Public Service Commission to operate in Georgia and 85 were in operation.
Twenty-five competitive local exchange carriers are registered as local service providers in the BellSouth Yellow Pages.
Competition has been a dubious gift to ordinary consumers of telecommunications services, according to Susan Speros, president of Speros Inc. in Savannah, a company that installs on-premises telecommunications equipment for businesses.
“It’s very confusing,” Speros said. “It takes one a lot of time to sort through all of the alternatives.”
Speros said the long distance market is fraught with “smoke and mirrors” — deals that look good on the surface but contain limitations, fees or restrictions that can limit the actual savings. She often advises her business customers against choosing the cheapest service. Rather, she advises them to deal with companies with good rates that have shown themselves easy to deal with when service or billing problems arise.
One of the interesting effects of deregulation, Speros said, has been new market entrants targeting low-income households that cannot afford or have been cut off by their local Bell companies. Such companies use pre-payment plans to provide dial tone to customers who may be unable to obtain phone service from their regular phone company due to past payment problems.
“If it’s not already happening somewhere in this city, pawn shops will be selling dial tone,” Speros said.


"Great staff! immediately responsive to our urgent repair requests. They were meticulous in diagnosing our issues and made the repairs as quickly as they could. They are a pleasure to work with! Speros provided emergency repair service during a weekend when our cabling suffered accidental damage. Speros dispatched two technicians that worked tirelessly to restore the multiple severed fiber cables.  It was not long before the entire campus was back to normal.  It was exceptional and timely service by Speros."

Joan Strother
Savannah Country Day

"Speros has been our law firm's primary internet service provider for 10+ years. Rarely do I need to ask for a service work order because they are on top of regular maintenance. Recently, I was getting requests to reboot following critical software, asked to set reboots to be automatic after midnight, so it did not disrupt our workdays. Within 30 minutes of my request, it was done. THAT is good service. THANK YOU, SPEROS Team."

Doug Andrews
Andrews & Sanders Law Firm

"Have worked with Speros for over two decades mostly for old school landline requirements of my medical office.
Now have needed a website design.
In these extremely difficult times for all, I have found Heather, Esther, and Mary Elizabeth a phenomenal team to work thru this new endeavor for my private practice's needs."

Dr. Richard Roth
Roth Aviation Medical Services

"I am starting my own medical practice and have chosen Speros to assist with my logo design, website, IT support and phone systems. Great experience. The team at Speros is knowledgeable and professional."

Dr. Ismary De Castro
Savannah Endocrinology

"Everyone at Speros was very friendly and helpful. They communicated with our existing software/hardware management company and made it out to work on our network quickly on short notice, and had the whole issue solved in very little time. Will use this business again for our network needs. The tech that came out was amazingly easy to work with and was respectful of our hospitals covid-19 policies."

Anthony Phoumivong

"The biggest benefit of having Speros install and maintain our networking, servers, and backups have been the reliability. They provide professional, personalized service and have rapid response times. You can trust Speros to provide you with fast, professional service, and to resolve your complex issues quickly!"

Paul Waldhour
Paper Chemical Supply

"The biggest benefit of having Speros as our IT provider is their fast response times. Speros stays on top of your issues, and they follow through to make sure your problems are resolved correctly. They are a pleasure to work with!"

Ann Cowart
Oelschigs Nursery