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Broward County rolls out its own fiber ring, shifts to VoIP

Pat Simes, Assistant CIO of Broward County, Florida. | Jan. 27, 2015
Years in the making, network upgrade enables Florida county to improve services while saving a bundle.

The IP Telephony solution was less than half the cost of a non-IP-based system. And since the IP voice packets would be carried on the data network, no additional voice lines or circuits were needed. The team formed a model framework for design, installation and management and set out to migrate every building on the fiber network to IP Telephony.

Within three months of project startup the first site was converted to IP Telephony, accommodating 150 users. Today we have 7,000 IP phones and offer soft phones and even video conferencing for everything from recruitment interviews and seminars to construction management.

As old phone systems are replaced or new locations/agencies added, minimal equipment (usually just phones) need to be purchased. The new IP-based telephone system is scalable to tens of thousands of phones.

All told Broward County invested $2.3 million in capital on the IP Telephony infrastructure, which included telephones, applications, licenses, voice mail, call centers and servers for 30 locations. All work installation work and ongoing management is performed by the department so no additional costs were incurred, although we pay approximately $100,000 per year for operations, which includes manufacturer support. This compares to operational costs of more $700,000 per year with the legacy phone systems.

Both projects were delivered under budget, ahead of schedule, exceeded cost savings objectives, increased bandwidth, improved network performance, added redundancy, lessened the time required for installs, moves, adds and changes, and provided for future growth and expansion of Broward County services to its residents.

Due to the forward thinking of the ETS Communications and Desktop & Server groups, Broward County not only got its 10GigE network but also VoIP!


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