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Linking College Phone Systems Will Enable Free Calling Between Schools

Linking College Phone Systems Will Enable Free Calling Between Schools

Seeking the free flow of information between academic institutions on a global basis, the Robertson Education Empowerment Foundation (REEF) has launched an initiative that will link college and university phone systems, enabling free calling between schools. The initiative, known as the Global University Phone System (GUPS), provides Linux software and hardware to link traditional phone networks via the Internet to enable free calling between universities and any Internet connected personal computer. 

“With GUPS, universities can experience substantial cost savings by making calls to other schools over the Internet connections they are already paying for, which reduces their telecom bills,” says REEF director Tina Donaldson. “Equally as important as cost savings is the removal of barriers to encourage the free flow of knowledge from any PC in the world to university campus phones and vice versa free of charge.”

The GUPS Initiative provides universities with a VOIP (voice over IP) system they can easily install and configure to connect their phone networks with other academic institutions around the globe. Calls routed through GUPS travel over the Internet using VOIP, thus bypassing traditional telecommunication charges for phone calls and connecting universities to the rapidly expanding VOIP community.

Institutions from around the world, including U.C.-San Diego, U.C.-Santa Cruz, the University of Oklahoma, the University of the Philippines and Brigham Young University have been successfully routing calls in beta tests. During the test period, thousands of calls were successfully completed between universities and PCs, according to officials.

“We have routed more than 10,000 minutes since June. The implementation of this system was easy and the call quality was great,” says Elazar Harel, assistant vice chancellor of administrative computing and telecommunications at UCSD.

GUPS participants are supplied with necessary software and hardware to connect their existing phone system at no cost from REEF. The GUPS Initiative is now open to institutions throughout the world.

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