There are reportedly 22 million small businesses in the U.S.\u00a0 Together, these organizations represent significant buying clout. And they deserve reliable network services at reasonable prices, too.This is why we've been examining alternatives for smaller organizations lately. This time, let's look at US LEC, a competitive access carrier providing network services throughout 14 southeastern and mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C. The carrier offers the option of fixed-rate, bundled services in the form of a T-1 line and one of four accompanying Power Paks (service bundles).Power Pak Basic includes just T-1 installation and maintenance. The three other packages add Web hosting, 10 e-mail boxes, 4,000 minutes of domestic long-distance PSTN calling and access to discounted conference calling. From there, the difference in packages entails the carrier installing and managing equipment such as a router, voice gateway and firewall on your behalf, then adding in network encryption.If you value flexibility more than the simplicity of these service bundles, you can instead choose any combination of services you want and apportion them across your T-1 as you see fit in DS0 (64K bit\/sec) increments. These services include local phone lines, Internet connections, frame relay virtual circuits, long-distance connections, ISDN lines, private lines and toll-free voice channels.In addition, US LEC is the first U.S. carrier to offer multilink frame relay (MFR) service so that you can increase your frame relay bandwidth in T-1 increments. Jeff Blackey, senior vice president of marketing, says there is no extra cost for using MFR other than the additional T-1s. The carrier also offers DS-3 services.Pricing starts at $500 for basic T-1 installation and maintenance, but price depends on the site's distance from central office and how many DS-0s of the T-1 are used, Blackey says."A customer doesn't have to fill a full T-1 at every site, but to qualify [for service], one location has to be of T-1 size or greater," he explains.