2024/2025 Service Definition

Digital Telephony (8x8 VoIP)

About the Service

Prepare your School for the PSTN and ISDN Switch-Off in 2027!

By 31st January 2027 UK phone lines will move from the old PSTN (public switched telephone network) to IP-based digital telephony using a fibre network. In simpler terms your school's phone system and telephony devices will rely on a fibre broadband connection. Our new Digital Telephony Service provides an option for our Broadband and Online Services subscribers to meet this requirement and offers a solution tailored for the needs of schools and multi-academy trusts (MAT).

It features a reliable cloud-based system with versatile features to improve school communication. It is our recommended offering to work with our Broadband and Online Services and Microsoft Teams. (Schools that purchase their PSTN phone lines via Lancashire County Council's BT account will need to have made the switch to digital telephony by December 2025.)

Our Digital Telephony Service is a VoIP (Voice over IP) solution that is simple to use across school and includes additional features to facilitate remote or homeworking telephony. It integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams and supports handsets and headset options for laptops, computers, and can be used from any mobile or internet connection (to support remote school workers as well).

Lancashire County Council Education Digital Services is working with 8X8 a global digital telephony specialist to ensure our Broadband and Online Services subscribers will have everything needed to get up and running with our Digital Telephony service, and we will ensure our broadband network is optimised to work with the requirements for the service.

What are the benefits?

  • Compatibility – Our new service is provided by 8X8 and has been selected for its compatibility with our broadband connections. No need for separate lines for your phone service, it will use your broadband connection to deliver your phone service.
  • Flexibility and Portability - Digital Telephony is designed to work on compatible VoIP phones; a computer, laptop or mobile device. Your external school numbers are no longer tied to a specific location or device, and you have full control over how inbound calls are routed and answered.
  • Visibility and Control – Access to your own management dashboard to manage the system and usage.
  • Scalability – Our Service is designed to scale from the smallest Primary School up to the largest multi-academy trust (MAT).
  • Microsoft Teams ready – Most organisations now manage their incoming calls from their desktop. This new service allows schools to benefit from integration with Microsoft Teams, helping office staff improve the management of voice calls, video calls and messages.
  • Headset ready – Enable busy office staff to have both hands free to type or write notes while taking calls – helps avoid neck strain created by using handsets or the use of speaker phone while typing, to help ensure your school's calls are not overheard and that conversations stay confidential.
  • Simplicity and Familiarity – Digital Telephony includes an option to use the service with compatible VoIP handsets, providing a familiar traditional telephone experience.
  • Secured and Updated – Our Service is configured to secure your voice traffic, and frequent updates to the software ensures that your operations are not put at risk.
  • Cloud Service – Cloud telephony gives your school flexibility and scalability as it doesn't require additional on-premises server infrastructure to be installed at your school.
  • Resilient and Reliable - If your school loses power or broadband, you can redirect the school number to a mobile or provide a recorded message to inform callers.
  • Sustainability – Lancashire County Council select suppliers who demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and environmentally responsible practices.

What's Included?

Service Features

Our Digital Telephony Service provides features that enable the solution to be configured according to your needs, including:

 Feature Description

Number Porting

  • Transfer your existing school number to your new Digital Telephony Service.

Multiple DDI handing

  • Supports multiple telephone numbers, with different functions.

Call Divert

  • Transfer a waiting call to a different person.

Call Queuing

  • Hold calls within a queue when the member or staff, or group is engaged.
Auto Attendant
  • Allow callers to interact with automated voice menus that you define.
Group call pickup
  • Allow staff to answer incoming calls on behalf of other staff members.
Ring group
  • Allow incoming calls to be distributed among a group of staff.
Schedule
  • Manage inbound calls according to school opening hours, and holidays.
Microsoft Teams status
  • Manage your availability for receiving calls using Microsoft Teams status.
Voicemail
  • Can be created per user, or per group.
Call recording
  • Calls can be securely recorded.
Business Continuity Planning Add an automated message or divert your school number to a mobile if your broadband, or school building becomes inaccessible.

Digital Telephony gives you the flexibility to define how to receive calls, you can choose any of:

 Feature Description

Laptop or Computer

  • Use with a wired or wireless headset and get access using Microsoft Teams.

VoIP Phone

  • Desk telephone that provides access to all features supported within the solution.

Mobile Device

  • Make and receive calls on an app, using either a Wi-Fi, or Mobile Data.

Conference Phone

  • Digital Telephony, and Teams solutions for conference and meeting rooms.