Phone fixes considered
Aug 07, 2012 (Grand Haven Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP -- Grand Haven Township officials say they are close to mending the phone problems that have plagued the township offices in recent months.
"This is probably one of the most difficult projects that I've worked on, due to the variables," said Mark VerBerkmoes, the township's public services director.
In June, the Township Board spent $16,970 on equipment to make the switch to voice over Internet-based phone service, known as VoIP.
With VoIP, voice traffic is converted into data packets and transmitted over the public Internet or over a private network -- according to Cisco Systems IP Phone Service, the company from which the township is purchasing the equipment. The data packets are converted to a regular telephone signal before they reach the other caller.
The cost included $1,900 for the operating system, $3,800 for two network switches and $9,360 for more than 50 handsets, and a few other expenses. The township budgeted $18,000 this year for flipping to the new phone system.
Officials decided to make the switch after experiencing numerous phone service failures that began earlier this summer. They also received poor service from AT&T, the township phone carrier, township officials said.
"Over the last couple of weeks, we have worked with a number of providers," VerBerkmoes said.
The township ultimately decided to choose 8x8 Inc. Township Manager Bill Cargo said the company services everyone from government agencies to Fortune 500 companies.
"They have to keep their equipment up and running," VerBerkmoes said. "I think that it's a lot better than what we are running now."
Township officials said the contract with 8x8 is for one year. So, if it is determined down the line that the township should go in another direction, they won't be locked into a long-term deal.
Township officials said they hope to have the new system up and running soon.
Phone options are a hot topic in the community, where a consortium is looking at options for local governments.
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