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Portage to get new, less expensive phone system

Updated: December 29, 2012 5:46PM



The city of Portage continues to reduce budgetary red ink, not by reducing services but by improving them.

The Board of Works last week approved a contract with Comcast for a new phone system. The current phone system relies on a costly mix of services from Comcast, Frontier and AT&T and will be replaced with a new voice over Internet protocol — VOIP — system.

Comcast sales representatives Andy Quick and Stephanie Traina told the board the switch will take place within six to eight weeks and is being custom designed for Portage.

The city will receive 116 new phones for a total monthly cost of $2,279. Portage now pays about $5,400 per month to Comcast for a fiber-optic system over which calls are routed and about $800 per month to Frontier and AT&T for local and long-distance services. Maintenance charges for the aging current system are $500 per hour when needed. The new contract includes maintenance costs.

Fire Chief Tome Fieffer called the existing phone system obsolete and noted that a switch that routes calls to city offices was installed in 1997. “In phone years, that’s like delivering garbage the way we do.”

Clerk-Treasurer Christopher Stidham downplayed the cost savings and said the most important feature of the new phone system will be the enhanced productivity it offers.

In other business the board approved a request by city Councilwoman Elizabeth Modesto for a new streetlight to be placed at the intersection of Holmes and Swanson Road.



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