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Dear campus community,

This message is an update on our Voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone system upgrade, which is making progress, to give you as much information as we can as we approach deployment.

The pilot deployment (IT staff in Dempsey) is on track to take place in April with the “early adopter” rollout (remainder of Dempsey Hall) scheduled for April/May. After we have worked out any unexpected issues with those two groups, we will begin rolling out to rest of campus expecting to complete deployment by end of summer if all goes well.

Before we can deploy the phone system to any given building, the building must be made network-ready, with each building requiring different upgrades to get there, including installing or swapping out switching equipment, running wire, and sometimes replacing jacks. Predicting when a building will be network-ready is difficult to do as there are many variables and very limited systems staff, who are also involved in other tasks requiring immediate and priority attention. For that reason we are not ready to give out any specific projections as to when the VoIP system will be deployed to other buildings, other than “between May and August”.

We are required to give AT&T 30 days notice to cut over the existing phone numbers to the new VoIP system, which we will do as soon as we are confident in the network-ready date for that building. We will configure each new phone for that building in the background, then deliver it to your desk the day of the cutover or shortly before.

This is the most expedient way to move off AT&T phone line charges across the institution as quickly as we can while inconveniencing users as little as possible. Four-digit interoffice dialing will work on the new system, as well as on the old phone lines, but not between the new and old systems. However, the institutional directory will be loaded into the phones for easy look-up, as well as (optionally) your personal contact list.

Meanwhile, we are finalizing the new pricing model and hope to get everyone moved to a flat and predictable rate for both infrastructure costs and phone line charges in the next couple months.

I will continue to provide periodic updates as new information emerges, attempting to balance “enough information” against “too much spam.”

For more information or to monitor the project, please visit our VoIP Project web page. If you have specific questions not answered there, please email helpdesk@uwosh.edu.

Anne Milkovich
Chief Information Officer