Young Harris College was been VoIP for three years now and phone free in
the residence halls as well. We made the decision after monitoring
usage and cost and discovering that students rarely, if ever, used their
in room phone and were instead using their cell phones. We do allow
students to rent a VoIP phone from us if they so choose, and they choose
overwhelmingly not to (this semester we rented two, and those at parent
For safety and security, we do place VoIP phones in the residence hall
lobbies and require the resident directors and assistants to have one in
Todd R. Sharrock
Chief Information Officer
Young Harris College
P.O. Box 68
Young Harris, GA 30582
From: Randy Spydell [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 3:57 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CIO] VoIP and student phones/dormitories
Like many of you perhaps, we are evaluating the costs, benefits, and
pitfalls of moving away from our traditional telephone switch and
implementing Voice over IP. We have watched the decline in use of
residence hall landlines over the last 5+ years. We discontinued long
distance service several years ago and no longer provide phone sets to
students, but maintain the copper plant and dial tone at the wall.
However, like Buffalo reports
<http://spectrum.buffalo.edu/article.php?id=32060> we are seeing many,
even most, of our students using cell phones are their communications
device of first choice.
So, in our VoIP considerations, we're trying to properly evaluate the
place of our investment in telephony services in support of our resident
students. I'd like to hear from any of you who may have wrestled with
some of the issues we see, and from those of you who have wrestled with
issues we haven't been smart enough to see yet.
Here's what we're considering and the questions I see so far:
VoIP for the campus, with analog aggragators to support necessary older
service points, such as dormitories. Yet, this raises the question,
should we maintain dial tone at the wall at all in residence halls? What
are the benfits and drawbacks of phased deployment vs. complete
What are the risk management issues and emergency service issues raised
by discontinuing dial-tone per room? Can blue phones in hallways or
adjacent to exterior entrances suffice? What density of deployment is
prudent? If they (students) don't have sets plugged in the wall, do we
need a prudent number of blue phones anyway?
If we don't provide local dial tone in rooms, should we be looking to
invest in mobile telephony infrastructure with "in-building
enhancements" to support the de facto use of these devices by students?
Is there a wireless/WI-FI/cellular convergence path? We are in a rural
area, so cellular service is spotty and somewhat unreliable, depending
on which street corner you're standing on, how old your phone is, and
who is your carrier.
Do we do this on our own or do we try to partner with a cellular
carrier? GSM or CDMA? If we should go down the partnership road, who has
had success with which carriers? VerizonWireless, Cingular/ATT,
T-Mobile, Sprint/Nextel, All-Tel. And how do I get these folks
interested in small town, small college partnerships? (I've been
unsuccessful with our carriers so far so PLEASE, advice on this is
I'd appreciate thoughts, experiences, suggested roadmaps, and pointers
to useful web sites.
Thanks to all,
D. Randall Spydell
Chief Information Officer and
Director of Computing, Media and Telecommunications
105 Taylor Hall - 600 North Adams St.
Western State College of Colorado
Gunnison, Colorado 81231
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