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NIUTEL Telecommunications Services
Procedure No. 23-7
Issued 7/2001


The primary function of NIUTEL-Telecommunications Services is the operation and management of the universityís telecommunications and networking communications systems for on- and off-campus facilities. Telecommunications responsibilities include telephone equipment, long distance service, wireless/cellular services, paging systems, telecommunications technologies and services, including the publication of the university telephone directory. Networking responsibilities include Internet interfaces and gateway services, as well as building, enterprise, and wide-area communications facilities. Telecommunications Services is the liaison for the university with Verizon, McLeod, SBC, MCI, AT&T, and other suppliers of communications services. All campus users of communications services are billed for services provided through an interdepartmental billing system. All charges for communications services and corresponding payments to vendors are processed by the Information Technology Services Business Office.

NIUTEL-Telecommunications Services

Telecommunications Services is organized into functional areas: customer support service specialists, installation/repair technicians, information/operator services, and desktop support technicians.

Telecommunications Customer Support

Communications service specialists are responsible for telephone and network service orders, telephone operations, voicemail, voice processing applications, and providing training and consulting in the use of university telephones and voice applications.

Order Processing and Service Requests

All orders are entered by communications service specialists as documented below. Orders are required for all telecommunications requests, including telephone additions, deletions, and changes. Orders are also required for networking additions, deletions, and changes. Service requests are to be placed in writing to Telecommunications Services. Questions concerning orders or service requests should be directed to Telecommunications customer service at 753-0963.

All services are charged back to the user departmentís account (Contractual Services). Additional charges for repairs, software purchases, and equipment or commodities used in providing service are also charged back to the departmentís account.

Requests for Telephone Service (Additions, Deletions, Changes)

Requests are to be made by e-mailing NIUTEL (address located in the GroupWise directory) or a memo on departmental letterhead authorized by the appropriate account fund advisor. To expedite the processing of your order, the following information is needed:

  1. The type of service required.
  2. The department name and account number to be billed.
  3. The name and telephone number of the contact person.
  4. The date when the service is needed.
  5. The location including the building, room, and jack.
  6. Budgetary Advisorís approval.
  7. The type of instrument/equipment/voicemail.
  8. The feature codes desired and key line-up if applicable.
  9. Special needs and services should be specified in detail.
  10. Engineering services can also be requested.

Information/Operator Services

Telecommunications Services offers several options for operator and information services. Live operators answer directory assistance and NIU information requests at 753-1000. An automated voice-activated directory allows directory information for faculty, students and staff 24X7 by dialing 753-4000.

Installation/Repair Technicians

Network Support Services staff are responsible for the installation and repair of all telecommunications equipment and networking cable, terminals, and fiber for on- and off-campus facilities. This groupís workflow comes from work orders written by the communications service specialists and trouble tickets written by Customer Support Center staff. Questions or comments about work orders should be directed to the Telecommunications Customer Support group at 753-0963. Questions or comments about trouble tickets should be directed to the Customer Support Center at 753-8100.

Desktop Support (Office Equipment and PC Installation)

Office equipment and workstation repair and maintenance is a function of Field Service Support staff. Technicians repair microcomputers and attached peripherals. Specifically, the staff is trained in the repair of IBM-compatible PCs, Apple Macintosh computers, Hewlett-Packard printers, general PC component replacement, and software recovery. In addition to computer repairs, this group services all makes and models of typewriters and other office machines as time and parts availability permits.

Technicians are equipped with all the necessary tools and software to isolate trouble and, as necessary, provide for recovery from fixed disk failures, eradicate computer viruses, and restore microcomputers to operational condition.

Repair services are provided on a materials-cost-recovery and/or contractual basis. A 90-day warranty is provided following repairs completed by this unit.

Repair of equipment not covered under a maintenance contract is billed to the department requesting repair services for the cost of materials (parts and supplies) used. Charges for these material costs are made to the departmentís account (Contractual Services).

Installation and repair requests can be made by telephone to the ITS CSC at 753-8100. All service requests (Trouble Reports) should include the following information:

    1. University inventory tag number, for equipment requiring an inventory tag (items not proven to be NIU property will not be repaired).
    2. Manufacturer and model of machine, if known.
    3. Department name, account number, and equipment location.
    4. Name and phone number of contact person.
    5. Description of problem. If possible, a sample of outputs or details on when the problem occurs is helpful.

Field Service Support technicians are not in the position to approve payment for repair services performed by off-campus vendors as a result of direct contact between departments and outside vendors. Repairs made under warranty coverage must be coordinated with the Procurement Department. Assistance with warranty repair will be provided by Field Support staff when a copy of the purchase order is made available at the time the Trouble Report is submitted.

Field Service Support staff may authorize outside vendors to perform repair services when an open order is already in place to cover the repair costs, or when total repair costs are under $500. When this situation arises, the department will be subject to all charges for the repair (parts, labor, travel, etc.) unless the equipment is covered by an annual maintenance contract. Repair charges from outside vendors will be billed to the departmentís account (Contractual Services).

NIU Telecommunications Policies and Acceptable Use Guidelines

Use of University Telephones

The use of university telephones is intended for university business. University business calls include emergency calls and calls that are in the best interest of the university. A telephone call must meet the following criteria to be considered a business call:

    1. It does not adversely affect the performance of official duties by the employee or the employeeís organization;
    2. It is of reasonable duration and frequency; and
    3. It could not have reasonably been made during non-work hours.

Examples of circumstances that fall under the above guidelines include, but are not limited to, the following:

    An employee is required to work overtime and calls within the local commuting area (the area from which the employee regularly commutes) to advise his or her family of the change in schedule and to make alternate arrangements for transportation or for child- or elder-care.

    An employee makes a brief call to a location within the local commuting area to speak to their spouse, minor children, or elderly parent (or those responsible for them, e.g., school, day care center, nursing home, etc.).

An employee makes a brief call to a location within the local commuting area that can be reached only during working hours, such as a local government agency or a physician.

A personal call that must be made during working hours may be permitted if it is: (1) charged to a personal credit card; (2) charged to a home telephone; (3) charged to the called party; or (4) made to a toll free number. For any use of university telephones beyond the parameters of this policy, employees shall be charged the cost associated with the calls.

Collect and Third Party Calls

In general, university personnel are prohibited from accepting collect calls or placing third party calls and charging them to a university number. Most incoming calls to NIU phone lines are automatically blocked from receiving collect and third party calls by all carriers who subscribe to the LIDB database. If your department has a need to receive such calls, special arrangements must be made with Telecommunications Services and Internal Audit for authentication and payment of charges.

900 Type Calls

Calls to 900 area code numbers are generally blocked from originating from any university number. If your department has a need to make such calls, contact Telecommunications Services at 753-0963.

Use of Cellular Phones

Telecommunications Services offers cellular phone service on a rental basis to administrative users. Those interested in obtaining the service must complete the Cellular Service Request Form (refer to Procedure 23-8 for a sample form). No other cellular services except those offered or arranged by Telecommunications Services are authorized for employee use and payment with university funds. All associated costs will be billed to the appropriate department. This policy applies to the use of cellular services paid for by university funds. Because premium rates apply to cellular calls, and because the university promotes safe and responsible use of cellular devices, the following additional restrictions apply:

    1. The call must be placed on a non-cellular phone if one is accessible; and
    2. If possible, the call should be delayed until a non-cellular phone is accessible.
    3. Cell phones should not be used while operating motor vehicles or engaging in other hazardous activities requiring focused attention.

Verification of Telecommunications Charges

It is the responsibility of the Dean, Department Head or person who is fiscally responsible for the account being billed, to verify the accuracy of all charges and note any discrepancies or unacceptable use. A department summary, exception and detail report are sent monthly.

Departments are responsible for maintaining records to justify all telephone charges.