Skip to main content

WNC Business

Encouraging business growth via improved communication systems

Jan 24, 2024 02:25PM ● By Randee Brown

In 2008, Andrea Robel, a telecom veteran, was working for the US Census Bureau. While marketing census participation for the 2010 Census in 25 counties throughout Western North Carolina, she quickly realized that many rural areas had critical connectivity needs. After attending countless city council, university, and community meetings where the need for improved communications was brought up over and over, she decided it was time to make a move and put her 40+ years of telecom experience and skills to the test. She created Vistanet Telecommunications, providing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to the region. 

To ensure the company met community demand, Vistanet conducted independent studies and surveys in more than 20 counties. Robel attended community meetings and learned the real needs of area businesses. Her bottom-line goal was to bring increased Internet access to the region. 

Robel initially considered fixed wireless services, then learned of Corning’s fiber offerings. She soon realized; however, that gaining necessary local investor support was challenging as fiber was not a widely available technology at the time. 

Acknowledging the region was not ready to fully embrace fiber, Vistanet further reimagined itself. It now partners with all major carriers for fiber and coaxial internet connections in addition to its focus on providing state-of-the-art telephone service. As an FCC-registered phone company, Vistanet is now a one-stop shop for a variety of internet-based telecom services. 

Today, Robel is proud to say that she and her company have delivered and continue to deliver high quality competitive phone and internet service to businesses throughout NC.

“We can custom-design business phone systems that work for any company,” Robel said. “We learn about a business and figure out what it needs and how to make it beneficial, install the system, teach owners how to use it, and train employees on how it works.”

Old landlines are mostly gone, and the majority of communications now happen via VoIP. With the internet carrying phone signals, there is greater flexibility for businesses to do more over their internet connection. 

Vistanet’s services are flexible so businesses are continually supported as they grow. For example, it has a call center service that provides data to businesses that shows how many calls a business is missing and then advises on how to make better use of their communications. They work together to spot patterns of when people are calling and learn how to better manage staff schedules which saves money and increases efficiency. 

These analytics give businesses valuable insight into factors such as growth rate which can help with recruitment, hiring, and other strategies. Vistanet also partners with answering services, and outsourcing these tasks helps small businesses keep costs low. 

“Because of our background and experience, we can pretty much go into any business and make recommendations on how to use these systems to their best advantage,” Robel said. “And, there are no consulting fees.”

Solo entrepreneurs can also benefit, as VoIP services can allow business owners to answer calls to a business number from a variety of devices including computers, tablets, and personal apps. Owners can recognize the difference between personal and business calls, keeping their personal information private while gaining security and peace of mind.

“I know what it’s like to have a business that’s all-consuming; it’s critical to have balance and downtime,” Robel said. “While it’s great to have your business phone ring 24/7, you want to be able to control it and know when family comes first.”  

With technology constantly evolving, Robel regularly attends trainings to keep up with the latest advancements. Her goal is to learn and to understand customers’ needs before they arise, and to stay up-to-date on regulatory issues and FCC trainings.

Robel shared that she has seen growth in her clients’ companies following the implementation of Vistanet’s services. One particular company saw a 20% uptick in revenue because they were no longer losing calls. 

“It’s satisfying to see businesses grow and to add more staff and locations,” Robel said. “We can help businesses with anything telecom, and it’s fun to teach people about the variety of services that can help them to reach their goals. We’re not selling; we’re educating. That’s a good feeling.”

Andrea Robel is the President and CEO of Vistanet Telecommunications. Learn more at