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Kingston Switches to Internet Telephony

11 July 2003

The Royal Borough of Kingston has become the first local authority in the country to adopt IP telephony across all its offices.

Systems integrator, Prime Business Solutions was awarded a contract to develop a converged IP network by Kingston and over the course of 18 months, migrated the council's existing PBX (private automatic branch exchange) system to Cisco IP telephony. Some 1,500 extensions had to be replaced council-wide and yesterday signalled the end of the old telephone systems when the last PBX was switched off.

The new system is a key aspect of Kingston's modernisation strategy, both for helping to deliver better services to the local community and providing greater back-office flexibility to council staff.

Pointing out the advantages of the new network, Kingston's ICT Manager Robin Noble said: "Looking forward, we wanted to promote the greater use of hot-desking and remote working to our staff. We have a number of peripatetic staff who work between sites so offering them an office solution with telecommunications and data services at home was paramount in the decision. Our IP network is now definitely easier to manage with greater reliability and we have great features in terms of history of calls, voicemail on e-mail, all coupled with added flexibility and operational agility."

In a separate but related development, Kingston is also using IP telephony technology to deliver council e-services to the public through a series of high street information kiosks called the i+ service.

During the initial phase of the project, members of the public will be able to contact the royal borough's call centre and report problems such as graffiti, abandoned vehicles, broken street lights and other on-street issues.

The i+ network is expect to go live in August.

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