Carlow County Council Case Study


carlow county councilCarlow County Council is recognised as an innovative local authority that provides a broad range of social, infrastructural, regulatory and promotional services to and on behalf of the people of the County. A wide range of customers make contact with its staff and elected members in relation to its services. With an annual budget of around €50 million, 21 elected members and more than 250 employees, the Council are very conscious of the need to ensure that all services are pursued in a manner that produces a high degree of customer satisfaction.Carlow’s ICT Department plays a crucial role in the provision of Council Communication and information Technology services, hence the need to implement a solution that would provide advanced functionality and continued reliability. The existing Nortel Meridian telephony system was reaching “end of life” and a proprietary replacement would have been extremely expensive, both in the short and long term. Carlow began investigating alternative solutions and Asterisk open source PABX was identified as an ideal replacement.


Carlow County Council selected Asterisk, which fulfilled all its requirements by providing feature-rich functionality and cost-savings, enabling all 17 Council offices to be interconnected using Business VOIP. Following a major virtualisation project, Carlow County Council had a large number of servers which were no longer been used, so Asterisk Consulting suggested re-using such servers to further minimize costs. Following a successful Proof of Concept deployment and given the excellent working relationship between Asterisk Consulting and Carlow County Council ICT staff, the Asterisk open source solution was designed and gradually built over a number of years until all Council offices were fully connected.


Carlow’s existing phone system included a PRI, an FRI and a Quintum appliance. The changeover from the Meridian system took place over a weekend in order to minimise disruption to the Council staff. Furthermore, Asterisk Consulting developed a deployment checklist to ensure that all required functionality was in place before the system went live. The new Asterisk Telephone system includes two servers which act as failover and an IP PBX bridge with echo cancellation. Asterisk Consulting reviewed and modified the Dialplan, given the new routing via Asterisk as the main phone system and configured a further IP PBX bridge as a direct swap-out in the case of an unexpected primary bridge failure; this offered a further layer of system resilience.


Carlow County Council has achieved a superb open source cost effective VOIP solution that offers the possibility to internally manage the new phone system, without the intervention of an external engineer, as with the proprietary systems. Since the initial implementation, Carlow County Council have introduced further features, such as Presence, Instant Messaging, Conferencing and advanced Reporting which have evolved the existing IP Asterisk PBX into a fully functional Unified Communications solution, offering a complete communications structure across the organization.

“Asterisk Consulting's professionalism, continued support and innovation ensured the smooth and successful outcome of this project”.