Original posting: 6/24/03
Business Telephone Line Recharge Rate
The installation of a new campus telephone system in August, 2002, as a replacement for the Verizon Centrex system allowed us to eliminate Verizon's proposed increase to the telephone line rate of 18.9% and to reduce some of our expenses for providing basic telephone service. We are passing along these expense reductions via the Basic Telephone Line Service recharge rate.
The Business telephone line recharge rate consists of two components: the Basic Telephone Line Service, which supports provision of telephone services, and the Data/Networking Surcharge, which supports some campus-wide data networking services and the campus' connection to the Internet. The current monthly charges for the two components are $19.50 and $6.50, respectively, for a total of $26.00. We plan to reduce the Basic Telephone Line Service rate from $19.50 to $17.50, a reduction of 10.26%, effective July 1, 2003.
We considered reducing our charges for local and long distance telephone calls, but decided to reduce the recurring monthly line rate instead for the following reasons:
- There are many telephone lines on campus that do not make local or long distance calls. These lines are used to receive modem calls, call only other lines on campus, or place only toll-free calls. Reducing the local and long distance rates would not benefit these customers.
- Some academic departments can recover the cost of their telephone calls by charging them to grants. However, they are not allowed to recharge the basic telephone line expenses to a grant; these expenses are paid for by their Supplies & Equipment (sub 3) budgets. By reducing the line recharge rate, these departments will have additional S&E funds to help defray some of their budget reductions.
The number of toll-free calls being placed by customers of the campus telephone system has been increasing rapidly. When we were using Verizon's Centrex telephone service, there was no charge to the campus for these calls. However, when we installed the new telephone system last August, we had to install telephone lines that connect our system to Verizon's local telephone switch (called "trunk" lines) to carry these toll-free calls. The campus now incurs expenses for placing toll-free calls, the cost of these trunk lines.
When we had a campus telephone system prior to using Verizon's Centrex service (between 1985 and 1997), we charged the telephone system customers for placing toll-free calls to recover our expenses of the trunk lines to Verizon's switch. We (and you) would prefer that we not resume this practice of charging for toll-free calls. So, to defray the expense of the trunk lines, we will be converting them to an alternative, less-expensive technology from Verizon. This alternative technology will have an effect on Caller ID data sent whenever a call leaves the campus. Instead of the Caller ID number being the number of your telephone extension, every call will contain the same generic UCSB telephone number (805-893-6000). We will offer an alternative way to place calls if the person you are calling must receive your specific extension number. More information on this change will be provided next month.
Changes to One-Time Charges
When we were using Verizon's Centrex service, Verizon charged us a fee every time a new telephone line was installed and every time a configuration change was made to an existing line. We passed those charges along to the department requesting the new line or modification. Since we've moved to a campus-owned telephone system, we no longer incur these charges from Verizon, but we still incur the expenses of our staff's salaries and benefits to process requests for new lines.
We are retaining the charge to add a new line, because this defrays some of the cost of personnel time used solely for this activity. We are reducing the charge to add a new Voice Mailbox, because it now takes less time for us to process these requests. We are eliminating the charges to modify the configuration of an existing line (e.g., to add or remove a feature package). And, if a new Voice Mailbox is added at the same time that a new telephone line is installed, we will charge only for the telephone line addition. These changes are effective July 1.
New, Optional Features
We will soon be offering two new, optional features:
- Incoming Caller ID service will allow you to receive the telephone number (and name, if provided by the caller's telephone system) of the person calling you, before you answer the call. This service is very similar to the type of Caller ID service you can obtain from Verizon on your residence telephone line. Unless your telephone instrument already supports Caller ID display (some do, including the Panasonic single line telephone that we sell), you will have to purchase a display device. To use this feature, we will have to move your telephone line connection to a new interface card in the telephone switch. We won't charge you to make this change, but it could take us a couple of working days to move the connection. The charge for this feature recovers the cost of the switch interface card required for this function.
- In a couple of months, we will offer an option to have your monthly recharge billing statement delivered to you electronically instead of on paper. This will be an optional service; you will still be able to get a paper copy of your statement if you wish. You'll be able to either print the statement (as a .PDF file) or download it into Excel and process the data as you wish. Since we will save the cost of producing and handling the paper copy of the billing statement, we will reduce the monthly telephone line recharge rate by $1.00 for each telephone line included in the paperless billing. We're still working out many of the details of this service, and we'll send out a separate announcement of how to obtain and use this service as we get closer to the introduction date.
A New Type of Voice Mail Service: A Greeting Only Mailbox
Several of our existing Voice Mail customers use their mailbox only to play a message when it is called, and don't have a need (or desire) to save messages from callers. We've also heard that some departments that place telephone lines on Temporary Disconnection over the summer months would like callers to those lines to receive a message other than our standard message. To respond to both of these needs, we're providing a new type of Voice Mail service, a Greeting Only mailbox, at a rate of $2.00 per month. This service is available now.
This service allows you to record a message that is spoken to anyone who calls a telephone line (and the telephone call is not answered), but the caller cannot leave a message. You might select this service in conjunction with a Temporary Disconnection so that people who call the disconnected telephone line can be referred to someone else in your department. You could also use this service to provide any type of general announcement to people who call the telephone line with this feature. You can change the recorded message as often as you wish, by yourself, at no charge.
Effect of Planned Business Operations Recharge Rate Changes
The table below provides an estimate of the effect of the planned telephone service recharge rates on our business customers. The table lists the average total recharges per telephone line for the line itself (including the Data/Networking Surcharge and assuming that half of the lines have Feature Package 2000, which is $1.00 per month), Local Message Units (calls to the local area) and Toll Calls (long distance calls). The data shows that the average recharges for Local Message Units and Toll Calls have been declining since fiscal year 96/97 due to a combination of reducing the recharge rates for toll calls and fewer calls being placed.
||Average Recharges Per Telephone Line Per Month
||With $2/month line rate reduction
||With paperless billing
|Telephone Line including Data/Network Surcharge
|Local Message Units
|Percent change per year
|Percent change since FY 96/97
Assumptions and Notes
- When Centrex was implemented in the Fall of 1997, an optional Feature Package 2000 service was offered for $1.00 per month per telephone line. The Average Recharges per Telephone Line take into account that approximately 50% of the lines have this feature.
- The large drop in Local Message Units in FY 97/98 was due to the discontinuation of recharges for calls to toll-free (1-800 and 1-888) numbers.
- The steady decline in recharges for Local Message Units and Toll Calls is a combination of the reduction of recharge rates and a decline in the number of calls placed by customers.
A list of all of our fiscal year 03/04 recharge rates is available on our website.
For comments or questions, send email to Vince Sefcik, Director of Communications Services.