Michigan county installs new phone system

    In Arenac County, Michigan, legacy telephony infrastructure had created major problems for the local government. This is all in the past, however, as the county's offices are being equipped with a new business phone system that will enable voice over IP calling, dramatically reducing costs while also improving reliability, the Arenac County Independent reported.

    Arenac County Commissioner Mike Snyder told the news source the old phone system began failing a few months ago. Voicemail systems went down in the first wave of the technology's collapse. After that, call transferring went out of service and it was all downhill from there. Before long, residents would call one of the county government offices and find themselves facing a phone system that would keep on ringing without properly moving to the message system or available service representative.

    The new system will eliminate these problems and help the county turn to VoIP in the future. Snyder told the Arenac County Independent the phone installation will cost approximately $34,000. However, the program will save thousands of dollars a month. County Clerk Rick Rockwell explained that the new business phone systems will include approximately 100 new handsets in the main county municipal building, the sherrif's office, county jail, central dispatch and other departments. Snyder said the project will be completed by the middle of January.

    Currently, the phone system will still use the traditional public switching network, but it is designed to do this through the county's T1 network line. Snyder told the news source this move is designed to begin transitioning to VoIP services over time. The county's central dispatch, which handles an especially high volume of calls, will be the first office moved to a VoIP solution. This will happen in the middle of January, with the rest of the county's phone systems switching to VoIP at a later time.

    VoIP services offer organizations a considerable advantage over traditional telephony systems. The public switching network charges, to a great extent, based on distance. This is necessary because of the cost of establishing phone lines around the world. However, internet infrastructure is different, as core monthly costs pay for the telecom infrastructure investments. As a result, VoIP calls are not charged based on distance, using a low set fee instead. This dramatically reduces costs for organizations with multiple branch offices outside of a single local area code.