Southern’s telephones receive digital upgrade

Dr. Terri Agee - Vice President for Business Affairs

Dr. Terri Agee – Vice President for Business Affairs

Monique Jamerson

Telephone lines at Missouri Southern seem to be experiencing some technical difficulty, but it will not last long.

On March 23, Southern will installing T1 phone lines which will enable more incoming and outgoing calls on campus.

Steve Earney, assistant vice president for information services, said Southern currently has 47 trunk lines that only allow so many incoming and outgoing calls.

“When perspective students try to reach Southern, they are getting a fast busy signal, which means all the phone lines are being used,” Earney said.

Earney said to fix the problem they have eliminated several of the lines and will be replacing them with T1 phone lines, which are digital.

Three T1 phone lines have been ordered, which equals 72 lines that will be added to the system.

“We needed more phone lines because we could not place the calls we were receiving, nor could we make calls without getting the fast busy signal,” said Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs.

Agee is the person who approved the telephone line switch.

There is also another change that will come along with the switch to T1s.

“The state of Missouri said they would not be able to give us long distance so we had to switch carriers,” Earney said.

He said Southwestern Bell will now be the long distance carrier, and the rates will be much cheaper than before.

He said the previous carrier’s rates were 10 cents per minute at night and much higher during the day. Now the rates will be a flat 8.5 cents per minute.

“The real story is not the long distance switch but having more capacity,” he said.

Stephen Smith, news bureau manager, said he has had relative problems with the phone system.

“On a rare occasion, the phone lines have been down, but they are fixed quickly,” Smith said.

Smith said if it benefits Southern, then it is a good thing.

Marcus Martin, telecommunications supervisor for Southern, said the switch is like going from heavy television screens to the thin, lightweight monitors.

“With the 72 lines, half of them will be used for incoming calls, and the other half will be used for outgoing calls,” Martin said.

He said he has been getting many complaints that people cannot make outgoing calls.

“We could have added more lines to the ones we already have, but it would have cost about $100,000,” he said.

Martin said bringing in the T1 only cost about $11,000.

“T1 are digital and pretty reliable unlike the ‘pot’ line,” he said. “When they stop working, they stop working.”

Martin said he is pleased with how people supported his idea to bring in the new service.

He said it is a pretty good upgrade.

“I am appreciative that when I came up with the idea it was not shut down,” he said.

The idea was received, and the outcome looks positive.

Earney said he is sure the T1 phone lines will make a difference.

Others agree this change will be a good one.

Agee said she thinks it will definitely work in addressing the problem.

“If we can correct the problem, which we will with the T1 lines, we will be able to do our jobs better,” she said.