As telephone engineers we often spot some weird and wonderful phone systems, sometimes the clients ‘comm’s’ room still have old phone systems hanging on the walls dating back to the early 1980’s, sadly some are even plugged into the mains as no-one knows what they are or what they do.


The thing is whilst things are working well there is little reason to change anything, if it works don’t fix it is often the thought behind doing nothing.


As it happens things have moved on, dramatically.  Just like we no longer use semaphore or Morse code (pity) we no longer need to rely on ISDN or analogue phone lines for telephone calls. 

True broadband is delivered via analogue phone line but only as a transport medium plus many places now have Virgin Media or City Fibre connections giving breath-taking speeds for pennies.  Meaning it’s time to review the telephone system or systems you have within your school or practise(s) as ongoing costs of legacy systems and connections effectively make the need to upgrade very urgent, you could even say the existing systems are broken as they are leaking cash by way of line rentals and over the top phone bills.



 A Dentist’s consisted of three separate surgeries in different parts of town. Each location had a Panasonic phone system with two phone lines, around six phones plus an answering machine for out of hours calls. Line rentals, Annual maintenance contracts and visits to site cost the practise over £2000.00 per annum plus the cost of phone calls on top.  Last year they got a grant to upgrade to Virgin Superfast Broadband, all three sites have an uplink speed in excess of 5Mb/s, their Internet use is modest. Each site now uses VoIP, we connected them directly to one of Portel’s Liberty VoIP Cloud platforms cutting out the need for onsite maintenance.  Each site has voicemail, each site may take other surgeries phone calls (overflow) and transfer patients between each other / book appointments etc all as if they are now in one huge Practise. Their outlay to upgrade to VoIP was £1379.82 giving an immediate saving of over £600.00 plus inter-site calls are now free and outgoing calls are at a much-reduced cost, their second year savings will be well in excess of £3000.00.  It’s not just a £3k saving, it means they don’t have to pull in around £6,000 in ‘sales’ to cover the phones every year.  I understand if you are the Practise Manager of an NHS Surgery or a School Business Manager you are not there to make a profit but you are there to achieve the best possible use of the money received every year.  Apart from a much more flexible system the Dentist’s now have access to up to 50 telephone lines at any time free of charge, if it’s really busy on a Monday morning more people can take calls giving their patients a personal service, getting answered by a person rather than a robot or an answering machine.

So less really is more, less pay more return, being a Yorkshireman that seems like a win to me …What do you think ??