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Albany Nonprofit Chooses FirstLight for Voice Services

FirstLight Fiber, a facilities-based telecommunications service provider operating in Upstate New York and Northern New England, announced today that Consumer Directed Choices (CDChoices), a private, nonprofit corporation located in Albany, has selected FirstLight’s cloud-based unified communications offering, Virtual PBX (“vPBX”) , to support its communications needs.  Founded in 1997 by the late Constance Laymon, a woman with a disability, CDChoices provides fiscal intermediary services to more than 500 consumers – seniors and people with disabilities – who employ more than 900 home care workers through consumer directed personal assistance. CDChoices selected FirstLight’s vPBX service in an effort to upgrade its older phone system, streamline operations and reduce costs. With FirstLight’s vPBX, CDChoices also utilizes FirstLight’s Internet service, and has been a satisfied FirstLight customer since October 2011.

“Thanks to FirstLight and its reliable fiber optic network, not only is our phone system completely streamlined, but since becoming a customer for both voice and Internet, we’re also realizing a meaningful savings, which is significant for a nonprofit business,” commented Veronica Bowie, Project Coordinator for CDChoices. “FirstLight has enhanced our voice capabilities and overall service to our customers in comparison to our prior phone system. We have had such positive interactions with FirstLight over these past few years; it was only natural to expand the relationship we have with FirstLight.”

FirstLight’s vPBX eliminates the need for businesses like CDChoices to purchase and maintain its own PBX system. Unlike most Virtual PBX systems that rely on third-party Internet connections, FirstLight’s vPBX service is provided exclusively via a private, dedicated Ethernet connection over FirstLight’s own fiber optic network, to ensure excellent quality without impacting other Internet and data services. The service also allows CDChoices to order the number of call paths or “phone lines” that it needs separately from the number of handsets, allowing CDChoices to further optimize costs.

“FirstLight prides itself on our work with businesses of many types and backgrounds here in Upstate New York and throughout Northern New England. Our vPBX service was just the solution CDChoices needed to modernize its phone system and truly enhance the quality of service it provides to the region’s seniors and disabled citizens, all while saving the organization time and money,” added Kurt Van Wagenen, President & CEO of FirstLight.

“We work with a large, very diverse population and changes, especially to technology, can present challenges to some of them.  We wanted a system that would offer the features we needed, but without creating obstacles for our customers, and we needed the system to be implemented through a seamless process. With FirstLight’s vPBX service, our phone numbers stayed the same, voicemail stayed the same, and the entire implementation was smooth. This is a huge win for CDChoices and our consumers,” concluded Elizabeth Martin, Consumer Directed Choices’ CEO.

To learn more about FirstLight, visit

For more information on Consumer Directed Choices, visit

About FirstLight Fiber

FirstLight Fiber, headquartered in Albany, NY, provides fiber optic data, Internet, colocation and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers in Upstate New York and Northern New England with connectivity to Canada utilizing its own fiber optic network, which spans over 190,000 fiber miles connecting in excess of 1,400 lit locations. FirstLight offers a robust suite of advanced telecommunications products, including dedicated Internet access, Metro Ethernet, traditional TDM solutions, SIP trunks, virtual PBX and audio-conferencing, managed commercial wireless systems, and Data Center Colocation. FirstLight’s clientele includes national cellular providers and CLECs and many leading enterprises, spanning high tech manufacturing and research, hospitals and healthcare, banking and financial, secondary education, colleges and universities, and local and state governments. FirstLight is a portfolio company of Boston-based private equity firm Riverside Partners.



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