The phone system in Upper Township, New Jersey used to be a bit of a sore subject. Static, interference and dropped calls were common with internal calling between departments and township buildings, as well as external calls with the community. Complaints about these issues from township employees and residents were equally common.
When you have a number of remote sites in your municipality using old digital PBX systems with old IP and digital phones and old copper lines, quality of service issues and downtime are common. The fact is, systems like these weren’t built to support the communication demands of today.
Further complicating these issues was the unwillingness of the telecom provider to address the failing network connection from the building to the street and manage the service issues caused by old copper lines. Not only was there inadequate bandwidth, but the telecom company and the township’s phone vendor seemed more interested in playing the blame game than correcting the problem.
After evaluating several vendors, Upper Township chose Ancero to fix call quality problems once and for all while making the township more resilient to disaster. This would involve upgrading the phone system to Ancero’s Utility VoIP solution, a cloud-based unified communications platform that would overcome the challenges of the legacy system and support growth and innovation.
“We weren’t interested in finding the lowest price,” said Scott Morgan, Township Administrator and Emergency Management Director of Upper Township. “We were looking for a partner who could provide the technical and strategic guidance we need for long-term planning and growth. As a full-service provider, we felt confident that Ancero was the right partner to help us address both our data network and voice network.”
Upper Township had first reached out to Ancero in 2017 to address computer networking issues. By identifying deficiencies in the telecommunications infrastructure, Ancero provided the township with a more robust, stable networking infrastructure to better support their communications needs. It was a seamless transition from one project to the other.
Ancero implemented the Utility VoIP solution. With Internet-based connectivity, the township didn’t have to rely on those old copper lines for communication. Ancero also helped Upper Township navigate a switch to a new telecom provider to resolve connectivity issues and increase reliability.
Unlike the previous phone system, Utility VoIP sits in a hardened, offsite data center. If connectivity is ever lost due to power outage, equipment failure, hurricane, fire or some other disaster, calls can still be sent and received through any Internet-connected device. Ancero also implemented a backup and disaster recovery solution, which is tested each year to verify the system is working and ensure continuity of government operations.
“Fixing call quality issues was our top priority, but we ultimately chose Ancero because their cloud solution also provides built-in redundancy and protection against downtime,” said Paul Dietrich, Municipal Engineer for Upper Township. “If one of our buildings goes down, we could move operations to other location and quickly restore critical systems and data.”
After implementing Utility VoIP, there was an immediate improvement in call quality. Because all remote locations are integrated into the same phone system, communication is seamless between departments and locations, and issues with outside calls have all but disappeared. Internal staff can be more productive because they spend less time managing and maintaining technology.
“We’re not hearing complaints from staff or the community anymore,” Morgan said. “Once we improved the hardware backbone and moved the phone system to the cloud, the problems we had been dealing with for years were solved. We feel more confident in our ability to communicate and collaborate, and the people of Upper Township feel more confident that they can reach us when they need us.”
Upper Township was in desperate need of better call quality, more reliable connectivity, more bandwidth, and the ability to scale as communication needs grow and evolve. Most importantly, the township needed a solution that would ensure continuity of government operations with minimal downtime.
Ancero answered the call, providing the guidance and solutions required to overcome longstanding challenges across the municipality. The Utility VoIP platform and an upgraded infrastructure give Upper Township a rock-solid foundation for maintaining clear lines of communication and implementing additional solutions in the future.
If you’d like to learn how Ancero can help your municipality, township or borough identify and address obstacles to communication, please contact us for a free consultation.