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Incoming Calls to Dorms Now Free

By John A. Hawkinson
STAFF REPORTER

In a partial reversal of a policy implemented last fall, IS&T reinstated direct-dial incoming telephone service to MIT dormitory phones free of charge yesterday.

Students with basic dormitory phone service are still unable to place outgoing calls, even to 800 or local numbers. Prior to September 2005, when a $17 per month full service phone plan was put into place, dormitory phone service provided unrestricted incoming calls and free outgoing local calls.

Yesterday’s change was finalized and announced Thursday by Allison F. Dolan, director of telephony for Information Services & Technology, who said the decision was made jointly by IS&T and Housing.

Dolan said that the change resulted from consideration of feedback, along with a re-examination of IS&T’s cost and service models. She said students, faculty, Campus Police, and others gave feedback, the majority coming from students. Some parents voiced their opinions through Housing, Dolan said, but their comments were not particularly strong.

Housing, which cannot afford to cover $20 monthly for each dormitory phone according to Dolan, will continue to pay IS&T $3 per phone per month. Therefore students in dormitories pay $17 per month for full service while other consumers such as laboratories pay $20.

Continued student interest in transferring outside calls to restricted campus phones helped lead to IS&T’s re-examination of costs. Last fall, two Random Hall students, Anders H. Kaseorg ’08 and Timothy G. Abbott ’07, created an automated system to transfer incoming calls to campus phone numbers.

Undergraduate Association Senator Andrew P. Spann ’07 mentioned the system to IS&T, which reproduced it in December. The IS&T system enabled external callers to dial (617) 324-5996 and then enter a campus extension.

Dolan said she invites feedback on dormitory telephone issues via e-mail to dorm-phone@mit.edu.