Long-Distance Is Discounted for Tenants of New York City's World Trade Center.
At the conclusion of the service's first year, Guy Tozzoli, director of the World Trade Department for the Port Authority, remarked, "We are very proud that World-Net, the first long-distance telephone service created exclusively for the tenants of a major office building, is very much alive and continuing to grow. During the past month, World-Net members made more than 72,000 long-distance phone calls, saving $49,000 in telephone charges. On an annual basis, this would produce savings of more than $550,000."
Before WTC's tenants could begin to realize such savings, it took two years of research into alternatives offered by various carriers and equipment manufacturers to select a vendor for the project. George Marx, manager of WTC communications, explains. Nearly 20 Vendors Investigated
"We investigated almost 20 companies looking for a package that was cost effective, reliable and adaptable to the needs of our tenants. We finally realized that the only way to accomplish this was by installing a sophisticated switching system on site and providing a staff instantly on call to our tenants. We knew we'd get better transmission quality with this equipment proximity and the availability of dedicated service."
Once the competing vendors were informed of these requirements, the number of finalists dropped to three.
"The first company considered was able to meet all conditions but one," Marx commented. "The organization we selected had to be more than just solvent. It had to be well-established and well-financed, because the project was far too important to place it in the hands of a firm that might not be around in five years.
"The second organization was financially sound," Marx continued, "but offered only a limited basic service."
The third, TDX Systems, a division of Cable & Wireless, met all conditions. It had been in the network management business for years. Installing equipment and providing people were no problem, since the firm already had both of those in New York.
Although the World Trade Center's idea of integrated resources was relatively new, the concept of offering pooled telecommunications services was not; and the vendor had such experience. As a result, it was chosen to be network manager for the nation's largest multi-user long-distance call transmission facility. Calling Is Centrally Supervised
What helps make the WTC's long-distance system successful is TDX's real-time operational control. While individual connections are made using hardware located on the customer's premises, every transaction is supervised by the vendor's host computer at its Virginia headquarters and a completely redundant backup system elsewhere. This centralized supervision constantly monitors performance down to and including local dial tone.
World-Net reaches every phone in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and a large segment of Canada. Subscribers can take advantage of volume discounts and optional account codes of up to 16 digits that identify individual calls. These variable-length codes are fully compatible with any existing accounting system.
In addition to the regular monthly reports, TDX's Capture program provides complete on-line charge-back billing information without the addition of extra equipment or software.
After a year, the system gets excellent marks from the WTC tenants. With the highest concentration of telecommunications traffic for a single building complex in the country, occupants achieve as much as a 30-percent savings over AT&T rates with no degradation of service. Sales/Service Office Maintained
Network management maintains a sales and customer-service office in the building, and tenants can call 611 to report problems or 811 for billing inquiries. However, according to World-Net members, there hasn't been much to complain about.
James Arricale is corporate director of information resource management for Schenkers International, a freight-forwarding company with 28 locations around the country. Schenkers has 14 World-Net trunks. Call-Detail Data Provided
"Most of our business activity is dependent on telephone and telex," Arricale explains. "The monthly breakout of call detail provides us with an indisputable basis of charging for billable communications expense with complete accuracy. It's an extremely important control tool for our business."
Controlling costs involves more than lowering per-minute charges. John Roddy is the office manager for Mitsui--OSK Lines, and international cargo and steamship company also located in the World Trade Center.
"We investigated four other services before we chose World-Net," says Roddy. "Because it's located in the building, we began with line charges two-thirds lower than equivalent competitive services. We simply disconnected eight WATS circuits and exchanged them for dedicated WorldNet trunks.
"We used the same access level, so we didn't have to re-educate our people. Dialing procedures remained identical. And we can save even more money because World-Net gives us Canadian calls in the bargain," he adds. Long-Distance Tab Reduced
The figures verify Roddy's evaluation. Originally, Mitsui's monthly long-distance tab ran $12,000 to $14,000. WATS lowered it to $9,000. With World-Net's service, the charges have dropped substantially further. Roddy was also able to eliminate an $800 FX line to Canada, plus the DDD overflow, which amounted to another $400. That's an ongoing $1200 bonus on top of the 15 to 20-percent savings on long-distance charges.
"World-Net has substantially reduced our bill without any reduction in call quality," Roddy states. "We've received only one busy signal in a peak-traffic period in months, so we haven't had any reason to complain. That's why I can't tell you how fast management responds to a problem."
Charles Waters, assistant to the director of administration at Brown, Wood, Ivy, a large law firm in the building, knows how fast it responds. Problems Promptly Eliminated
"We have a monthly long-distance bill of about $20,000, so we conduct a lot of business on the phone. We have 11 dedicated World-Net trunks; and over the course of the last year, there have been occasional transmission problems. But they have been eliminated as soon as we called for service."
The WTC's sales personnel have learned from experience that World-Net is an added incentive to prospective tenants in a very competitive real estate market. Pooled transmission resources and usage-sensitive pricing means the systems offers a cost break usually available only to large users to any tenant who wishes to subscribe.
Furthermore, network management sees that customers learn to use the system effectively. That often includes going over monthly reports with department managers within individual organizations to help them analyze misuse or abuse. More Services Will Be Added
Within a short time, many new integrated services will be added to World-Net, including a simultaneous voice/data local-area network and a PBX with advance custom-calling features that will offer World Trade tenants the latest communications conveniences without any capital investment.
The last words on the worth of World-Net come from Isobel Alvarez, office manager of the Chilean Trading Company, who simply says, "If we were ever to move out of this building, one of the requirements of any new location would be that it provide a comparable service. So far, I haven't heard of any, so i guess we'll stay."
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|Date:||Oct 1, 1984|
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