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University of Kentucky PBX/key system saves $27,000 per month.

The University of Kentucky (UK) does not think of itself as a city, but its telecommunications need make it one. Nearly 14,000 campus telephones in Lexington and another 1700 telephones at 14 affiliated community colleges serve 63,000 students and 3000 faculty. Some 100,000 telephone calls are made daily from departments and dorms.

If the campus central office were an independent telephone company, it would be Kentucky's fourth largest.

Rick Willmott and Daryoush Marefat, telecomm managers for UK's Division of Communications and Network Systems, control this vast network with two university-owned TGD 4600E PBX switches, six attendant stations at the main campus, 150 Comdial ExecuTech II key systems, and 15 Northern Telecom Norstar digital key systems.

Over the past five years, Willmott has consolidated key system vendors and models and standardize on the ExecuTech II and the Norstar systems. Besides being competitive on price and quality, another factor in favor of UK's selection of ExecuTech II was its made-in-Charlottesville, Va. label.

Willmott, who is now evaluating a new digital key system, the DigiTech, says all of UK's future key systems will be digital to service the sophisticated communications most often needed by the Medical Center.

Willmott likes his existing key system network, estimating it saves the campus at least $27,000 a month by eliminating 1500 previously dedicated lines. The key systems allow departments to share fewer lines while still giving everyone access to telephones. UK also saves by controlling features and vendors.

"Five years ago, we used key systems from more than 10 vendors. We called all the manufacturers and evaluated the systems based on ease of use, flexibility, ease of installation, and a record of being maintenance-free.

"Now, instead of the departments contacting Purchasing about needing a new telephone system, we have our own Communications and Network Systems consultants who help determine departmental needs. We save Purchasing the trouble of dealing with outside vendors' bid specs, and departments the trouble of working with maintenance and service needs," Willmott says.

The same consultants work with fraternities and sororities in selecting phone systems. The community colleges can use UK's consultants to determine their communications needs. The consultants also audit department phone bills for accuracy and potential cost savings as well as occasionally recommending call cost accounty software to control heavy phone use.

UK's campus has 400 direct inward dialing and 285 direct outward dialing trunks. In addition, 36 trunks access the state's private microwave network for administrative traffic. Four T1s, or 96 trunks, connect to Americall, a long-distance service; and seven T1s, or 168 trunks, carry MCI V-net traffic. Several of the community colleges are participating in a pilot project which allows them to access MCI V-net from each campus.

UK resells its student long-distance, Wildcat Calling, and offers different feature packages to undergraduate and graduate students.

All students are charged $20.50 per month for a single-line phone in a residence hall. Undergraduates can have call waiting on their phones. Graduate students are allowed call forwarding and speed dialing in addition to call waiting.

The PBX blocks access to 1-900 numbers, transferring callers to a recorded message denying them access.

Campus users are getting a good service deal from the university. A basic business line from GTE South in Lexington costs $76 per line per month. A residential line costs about $27 per month.

The UK Medical Center on campus has both the heaviest demand and the most extensive use of key systems. Approximately half of all systems are found in Medical Center and hospital departments. Most calls are made directly to the Medical Center, but any call to the main university information number can be transferred to the hospital.

The community colleges are fairly independent users of telecommunications with an average of eight to 10 trunks and 120 telephones at eash site. While simple now, Willmott expects the community college's telecommunications sophistication to grow.

Two community colleges and the university robotics department are part of an interactive video project connecting the campuses by means of a T1 line. Half the capacity is used for full-motion interactive video and half for voice and data services. Willmott sees all campuses eventually being totally interconnected by T1 lines.

Growth will continue at UK, particularly when a planned new library, science building, and medical center are completed. Willmott expects that within three years he will need to add a new digital PBX at a cost between five and eight million dollars to replace the existing system and initially configured to handle approximately 20,000 telephones.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:PBX/Key/ACD Systems; includes related article on videoconferencing
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jul 1, 1991
Previous Article:Washington Research Library Consortium: a well-educated network.
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