In 2010 we did an analysis of our VoIP implementation which is where we converted our phone system from CENTREX to CISCO VoIP which runs over Westmoreland Counties Information Systems data network. That analysis shows that this VoIP project reduced our annual phone billing cost by $241,000 a year which comes to $1,205,000 savings over five years. In addition the CISCO VoIP system provides enhanced functionality that wasn’t available from the CENTREX system.
Since the demand for communications bandwidth continues to increase, we made a major change by upgrading our network backbone within the courthouse from Cat5 copper to 24 strands Laser Optimized Multi-Mode Fiber. This project gave us the ability to run true 1 Gigabit data speeds or higher internally within the courthouse. It also gives us the ability to run 10 Gigabit or even 100 Gigabit speeds when the need arises. By pulling and terminating the fiber ourselves, we were able to save over $20,000 on the project. This data highway network is similar to our traditional highway system in that it has major high speed arteries along with some lower speed connections to meet the traffic requirements in order to minimize congestion and maximize throughput.
Another communications area is our fiber network project which connected all our major facilities and the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit which is now our Internet Service Provider. Westmoreland County Information Systems had this fiber network installed back in 2006 but since it has a life expectancy of 20 years it will continue to provide benefits for many years to come and due to the fact that this network is in place we were able to implement the VoIP system as well as implement off-site backup and use the Westmoreland County Intermediate Unit as our ISP.
Just as we need a major highway infrastructure to handle our current and future traffic needs we need a digital highway structure that can support digital data traffic needs which continues to grow and that is what our fiber network provides. This network is like having a California freeway instead of an old country road while paying less than one would for the country road. In 2010 the cost of this project dropped to $880 per month basically for maintenance support for the fiber network. This same network acquired from a major telephone or cable company would cost around $27,000 per month. Due to this project Westmoreland County saved $26,000 a month in 2010 which comes to an annual savings of $312,000.