On June 23, ITS completed the final port of working phones in its multi-year project to move campus phones from Verizon to AT&T.
This port migrated 3,355 phones in 52 campus buildings. Over the course of the project, ITS successfully migrated 27,962 campus phone lines in 260 buildings.
Groups from across ITS contributed to the migration effort. The core team consisted of ITS Voice Services, Transport Operations and Networking, with project management support from ITS Project Portfolio & Change Management.
The final port began at 8 a.m. and was completed before 10 a.m., said Brenda Carpen, Director of ITS Project Portfolio & Change Management. The port “went smoothly,” she said.
While this was the final port of working phones, ITS Voice Services has one last port to complete. The future port will migrate around 10,664 numbers, most of which are spare or non-working lines. The team expects to wrap up the remaining work by October. That will complete the project well ahead of schedule.
The project kicked off in 2020, when Verizon notified the University that Verizon was eliminating the service the University used. With the Verizon contract ending in 2023, Voice Services took the opportunity to evaluate new phone providers. The team chose AT&T because the cloud-based system included useful new services and features.
Porting is a complicated process and is highly regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The process to move a group of phone lines, when everything goes according to plan, takes 55 days. This timeline includes time required by service providers as governed by the FCC.
For the first time in the multi-year project, the team could not go ahead with a tentatively scheduled port. As one step in many, the outgoing provider must provide a firm order commitment, or FOC, to the new one. The FOC confirms that the provider will hand over numbers on a specific date. For the port originally scheduled on May 19, Verizon did not give the FOC to AT&T as expected.
To give time to resolve the issues, ITS rescheduled the port to June 23. Carpen said that despite having over a month to resolve the conflicts, it “took until the last few days and involved significant communication between UNC and AT&T” for the port to continue.
The final port was a “huge relief” to the Voice Services team and to manager Cheri Beasley. “This will be the first time in over three years that we are not having to ramp right up for another port,” she said. Beasley added that this lets her team “focus on maintaining a manageable workload and introducing new services and features.”
Two popular features made possible by the migration include basic and premium softphone solutions and voicemail-to-email for campus users who do not handle sensitive information. The new phone service also supports enhanced 911 and cloud-based voicemail.
ITS Voice Services can now expand AT&T’s service offerings to campus by rolling out a new call center solution.
Call center solution
Groups across campus — from the Cashier’s Office to Facilities to Memorial Hall to Athletics — use call centers to answer and route calls. Until now, these groups have had to work with external vendors to power their call centers.
With AT&T, ITS Voice Services can offer a centralized campus-supported call center — the AT&T Clearspan Call Center. Clearspan Call Center offers flexible solutions to fit almost all campus use cases. And even better, it also does so for a lower cost than most units are currently paying.
Clearspan Call Center is a highly flexible, feature-rich and fully integrated Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) and call center service. Features include call queue while waiting for an available agent, sophisticated call distribution and routing, conditional announcements, agent availability states, voice messaging automated attendant (phone tree), desktop clients and monitoring and reporting for more complex call center environments. The call center solution includes on-campus support from ITS.
As Voice Services wraps up the final phase of the migration, the team is piloting the call center with a small group of campus customers. General access for the call center solution will be subject to team availability.