Volume 92, Issue 94

Thursday, March 25, 1999


Recommendations hope to slice crime

Psychotherapy guidelines welcomed

Western's phone system to move into the 21st century

Hill cleared path for future campus issues


Caught on campus

Western's phone system to move into the 21st century

By Becky Somerville
Gazette Staff

A looming Y2K problem and a decade-old telephone system has prompted a proposal for a $4.5 million overhaul to Western's lines of communication.

Spearheaded by Michael Bauer, senior director of information technology services at Western, the initiative to replace the existing telephone system goes before the Board of Governors for approval today.

"There is a Y2K problem and we're going to have to spend money to fix it. The system is also 15 years old and in a few years it won't be supported anymore," Bauer said. "We've hit the limit in terms of phone services on campus."

Bauer said the changes to the system will provide more specialized features and give the entire university access to a wider range of services.

ITS and the Property and Finance Committee are currently working with Bell Canada and Nortel Technologies in hopes of ironing out the details of design and implementation of the system.

"[The mass changes are] quite new for a lot of people at Bell. It's the first university which they've done it at this level," said Richard Blore, manager of hardware services and telecommunication for Western.

In addition to changes which will require the replacement of telephones throughout campus, the overhaul will also supply Western residences with an internal phone service including voice mail and call display.

Blore said housing and food services will provide a telephone in each residence room for $20 per month.

Although students will be responsible for long-distance charges, the telephone line will be activated as soon as they move in and they will not have to pay a hook-up charge or for other features on their phones and will save money in the long run, Blore said. "It's certainly a benefit for the university and for the students."

Bauer added while some money has been set aside to finance the multi-million-dollar initiative, the university will rely on cost-recovery as the project evolves.

ITS hopes the changes to residence phones will be in place by September 1999, although the implementation of the new system will take over a year and a half before it is phased in campus-wide, Bauer said.

"It's more convenient as well as it provides a better level of service for the students," said Chris Bumbacco, manager of housing services at Western.

The internal phone service will be cheaper and more economical for students when compared to using a separate Bell system. He added students would be able to opt out of the $20 telephone.

Doris Gray, director of sales for education solutions at Bell Canada, said this type of mass overhaul is a relatively new enterprise for Bell and has been a tough process in the making. She added the primary goal is to have an efficient service ready for Western students by next September.

"This is very much state of the art technology. It certainly will prepare the university to move forward into the next decade," Gray said.

Bill Peel, chair of the Board of Governors, said the recommendation will likely be passed today.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999