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Chicago Schools convert to VoIP

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Chicago Tribune reports the largest conversion to VoIP of any U.S. school system. Chicago Public Schools will pay $28 million for the job to be done by Mitel Networks, which will include nearly 700 sites, 17,000 Centrex lines and 24,000 phones, and will take over 4 years to complete. Redundancy will be built-in for added reliability, and some standard telephone lines will be kept as a backup for emergency situations.

VoIP technology is expected to significantly reduce the school system's telephone bills. Plus, teachers will each receive a unique voicemail box with CallerID. The new system will also allow authorities to pinpoint the exact room from which a 911 call is made, another improvement over standard telephone lines.

VoIP is upon us, and it's here to stay, says Don Smith, Mitel chief executive:
"It's really a confirmation that large enterprises have embraced the technology," Smith said. "Today, about 95 percent of all the systems we install are VoIP. The tipping point came perhaps 18 months ago when VoIP overtook traditional technology for us."
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