County migrating aging phone service to hosted VoIP

The Voice over Internet Protocol phone system, known as VoIP, used by the county government will be migrated off-site adding reliability and redundancy. That was the recommendation of Moore County Information Technology Director Chris Butts at a regular meeting of the Moore County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

The move to True IP Solutions, a technology company based in Hampstead, North Carolina, will mean that undertaking expensive upgrades of the county system will not be needed. That system, now 13 years old, is located at the Rick Rhyne Center and would have been costly, according to Butts. 

The cost of upgrading the current equipment would be $300,000, according to Butts. “By going to this hosted VoIP service, we don’t need that cost anymore,” he said. 

Instead of upgrading and maintaining dedicated in-house computers, True IP Solutions will host everything on multiple data centers. This increases reliability compared with the single system the county currently uses. “If something would happen to our data center at Rick Rhyne, we would lose our phone system,” said Butts.

After going through a bidding process, the county selected True IP Solutions who was the lowest bidder at $129,000 for the first year and $61,000 for succeeding years. The county currently pays $110,000 in licensing and long distance charges. “We are cutting the cost of the phone system in half,” said Butts.  

Chair Frank Quist wanted to make sure the off-site system made the county less vulnerable to a cyberattack. “I think moving it off-site is safer from a security standpoint,” said Butts in response to a question from the commissioner.

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

County commissioners also voted to accept $19.6 million from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. The money, part of the federal government’s American Rescue Plan, is intended to replace lost revenue, stabilize economic impacts and address public health impacts caused by the pandemic.

The county is expecting half of their illegible amount almost immediately with the remaining half coming in a year.

There is a specific way these funds can be used, according to county manager Wayne Vest. “We are still looking into the way these funds will be used,” said Vest. “None of these dollars have been included in the fiscal year 2022 budget allocation.”

“There will be quite a bit of discussion by the board from the perspective of where these dollars will be spent,” Vest said, anticipating debate on how to allocate the money.

Feature photo: Moore County Information Technology Director Chris Butts speaks at the regular meeting of Moore County Commissioners on June 1.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Article and photo by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter John Patota.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email