How It'll Affect You — Emergency Phones
The telephony renewal project makes special provision for phones that have already been formally designated as emergency phones. (These are normally found in the foyers or stairwells of larger buildings, in large public spaces, as well as at Campus Protection and a few other select places on campus).
Unlike normal phones, emergency phones will not be IP-based. They'll remain traditional analogue phones, and will connect into a separate part of the new PBX system. The reason for this is that traditional phones are powered over the phone line by the PBX, and therefore don't depend on electrical power being locally available. Since both of the new PBX nodes will be located in facilities with redundant power and standby generators, this will ensure that the emergency phones on campus are always available — even when network or power outages affect other phones in the building.
Maintaining these phones will be significantly more expensive than the new IP-based telephones. The analogue ports on the PBX are comparatively expensive, and the University will continue to incur ongoing monthly rental on the Telkom lines that some of them will depend on. Nevertheless we believe that providing emergency phones in this way is very important, since it will ensure that there's always a phone in close proximity that can be used to reach life-line and emergency services such as Campus Protection and the police, ambulance, or fire department.
Remember that you can also use your cellphones to reach emergency services by dialling 112. This is a free call, and does not depend on Rhodes' infrastructure at all.