The University of Nottingham has embarked on an extensive programme of replacing all its conventional telephone connections with a new network of low cost base voice call facilities accessed via the internet.
To date, in spite of having upgraded only 10% of its phone connections to its new VoIP network, the University has already reduced its phone costs by 60%. The academic centre is now planning, over the next few years, to switch the remainder of its phone lines to the new IP telephony system.
Commenting on the upgrade, the University’s telecoms group leader, Anthony Tunsley, explained that the switch to VoIP was largely undertaken simply because the University ‘needed to cut costs’.
Making the switch, however, has also brought other advantages for phone users within the institution.
Firstly, it has enabled students to contact fellow students more easily within different buildings run by the university without of course the need to pay conventional telephone company call tariffs.
This has not only facilitated greater contact between undergraduates and academics based in buildings throughout the UK; it has also made increased international communication among students and staff more viable since Nottingham University also runs campuses in countries as far away as China and Malaysia.
Secondly, with families of Nottingham University students also able to download the same IP telephony software, it will now be possible for many of the students at the university to communicate with these relatives by telephone without worrying about call costs.
The VoIP system adopted by the University is understood to have been enabled through both a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking facility – whereby the university’s existing phone network has been adapted to make and receive calls over the internet – and the replacement of conventional phone handsets with voice over internet protocol (VoIP) receivers.