States see VOIP coming

National Association of State Chief Officers

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With observers expecting legacy telephone systems to approach extinction in less than two decades, more state governments are looking at Internet telephony.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers this week released a report on issues surrounding voice-over-IP and actions state governments should consider in making the transition.

Iowa CIO John Gillispie, vice chairman of NASCIO's interoperability and integration committee, said the May 4 report took about 18 months to complete. The document, meant to be educational, includes a description of the legacy Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), which could reach its end-of-life stage in the next 10 to 15 years, issues and drivers toward migrating to a voice-over-IP network, and issues related a merged voice and data network.

Several other CIOs said that it appears transitioning to a voice-over-IP network is inevitable because many telecommunications providers are pointing that way.

NASCIO, which is holding its midyear conference in Washington, D.C., this week, also released an issue paper, in collaboration with the National Association of State Procurement Officials, on how to leverage a request for proposals in state technology procurements.

Dick Thompson, Maine's CIO, said states using RFPs is a mature process but there’s a different understanding of how that process works among the various stakeholders. The 18-page brief outlines steps state officials can take in planning, writing and issuing an RFP.

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