Like most business decisions, this one comes down to economics. The company needs to weigh the costs of purchasing and administering fax-server hardware and software versus the cost of a third-party fax broadcasting service.
High-end enterprise fax servers can cost as much as $25,000 [source: CNet Shopper]. In-house fax servers might also require extra IT personnel or at least additional training for existing IT staff.
Fax broadcasting services typically charge per page with discounts for high-volume fax campaigns. A fax broadcast to a hundred recipients might cost $.09 per page, while a fax broadcast to several thousand recipients could be as low as $.02 per page. Most services only charge a client for successful faxes, excluding any wrong numbers, busy signals or other errors during the broadcast.
With fax broadcasting services, the client manages fax campaigns through a Web interface. Here, the client can upload Excel spreadsheets or .csv (comma-separated value) files to create mailing lists for different fax campaigns. The broadcast fax service stores all of these lists for easy access in the future.
Clients then use the Web interface to upload the document(s) they want to fax, whether it's in Microsoft Word or Excel, an image file or a PDF. Some broadcast fax services help the client create a cover sheet with the company's logo, letterhead and personalized recipient information.
Like in-house fax servers, broadcast fax services allow clients to schedule fax deliveries for a certain day and time or for off-peak hours overnight. Broadcast fax services can also assign billing codes to fax jobs, track fax campaigns and produce reports on how many faxes went through, which ones should be resent and which ones should be removed from the list.
Some fax broadcast services also help clients comply with Federal and State anti-spam regulations by automatically removing recipients who have opted-out of receiving further faxes or who are listed on "Do Not Send" databases.
Now let's look at some of the common business applications of broadcast fax.