Public sector cool on VoIP

Survey reveals that UK public-sector organisations are in no rush to install IP-based telephony systems

UK public-sector organisations aren't rushing to install IP-based telephony systems.

In a survey of 400 public sector ICT managers, 42 percent said they don't expect to complete migration from legacy phone switch systems (PBXs) to IP-based networks for three to five years.

Public-sector organisations are interested in IP telephony — almost three-quarters of respondents said they are actively considering VoIP — but they prefer to take a measured approach to any phone-system migration.

When asked about the method of migration, only five percent of respondents overall — and zero percent of educational organisations — said they would employ a "rip and replace" method. The more favoured approach is a gradual migration from existing PBXs to VoIP systems, with 40 percent of those surveyed indicating a preference for an increment approach.

Elaine Axby, principal analyst at Quocirca, said although public sector organisations are interested in VoIP services, migration is likely to take more time than with private companies as they "need to be sure of the technology and the benefits" before taking the plunge.

The survey, which was commissioned by broadband and VoIP company Westell Technologies, queried people from a range of bodies including NHS health trusts, higher education institutes, police forces and local government organisations.