It was a pretty simple suggestion. During the Fall Board Retreat and presenting the draft of the KPA and KPS budgets to the board of directors, we got to the “Telephone” line item. It showed a pretty substantial amount, all based on an average of $540 per month in telephone charges. That included the line service to the central office for several numbers as well as long distance and 800 number costs.
Board member and Past President Dave Eldridge asked if we had looked at VOIP — Voice Over Internet Protocol. In its early stages, I understand VOIP wasn’t all that great — bad connections, dropping calls regularly, those kinds of things. But no we had not researched it. Not long after returning to the office, I started looking into it and getting some proposals.
Those showed it almost too good to be true.
Monthly costs would drop substantially, down by $300 at first blush. Then getting back to the companies, we refined their proposals to see if there were other cost saving measures.
One of those contacted was Impact Communications, a company that has been servicing our telephone lines and service for several years. I learned we were in a contract with them that had just renewed for another year. So in effect, we were stuck with that company unless we wanted to pay a substantial penalty to get out of the contract.
Still, that company came in with the lowest monthly cost. And not only did it include the telephone service, the monthly fee also included new telephones.
That $540 per month we’d been averaging was more than double what our cost would be to go to VOIP. And then came December and January’s invoices. The $540 per month average was $653 in December, $656 in January.
We’ve contracted with Impact to provide the service for us and hopefully all will be in place by the end of the month.
The initial proposal a couple of months ago was $249 per month. A lot more attractive than what we had been paying for typical landline service.
Refining it even further and deleting a couple of phones and lines we no longer need, the price now is $219 per month. A far cry from what we had been paying.
We will also be doing away with the 800 number because it’s not used much at all. Over a nearly three-month period, we had something like 35 calls total coming in on the 800 number. Many people having cell phones cut down on the number of those calls. And it seems many newspapers and others weren’t dialing in on that, just into one of the normal KPA numbers.
It might be something you will want to look into because the savings is substantial. And initial concerns that VOIP was of good quality and had many dropped calls were dismissed in talking with newspapers and other state press associations using VOIP.
We can let you know how it’s going once we make the switch but on the surface, saving some $400 a month makes it a no-brainer.
The main KPA number — 502-223-8821 — will remain the same and the fax numbers won’t change either. Neither will the direct lines for Bonnie Howard (502-223-8180), Teresa Revlett (502-227-7992) and me (502-875-3185). We will notify you when the new VOIP system is in place because the 800 number will be no longer.