Phone System Upgrade

As you have all heard by now, the city’s aging phone system is being replaced with a new unified communication system that will provide greater functionality and flexibility for users and enhance the city’s ability to provide the highest quality of customer service to the Carlsbad community.

When will the system be installed?

We estimate that the new system will go live towards the end of July or into August 2021 depending on some external factors.

Are phone numbers changing?

Yes. The city is taking this opportunity to move all phone numbers to the same exchange, so the area code and next three numbers will be the same for all city users. The new area code and prefix will be 442-339-xxxx. This will assist with number portability so that users can take their new number if they move to another city office location.

What will my number be?

IT staff are working on telephone number assignments, with the intention of keeping as many last four numbers (4-digit extensions) the same as they are now. The current plan is as follows but is subject to change:

  • Any existing extensions with 2xxx will stay the same and new direct dial numbers (DID) would become 442-339-2xxx. (The majority of city extensions are in the 2xxx range)

  • Extensions 46xx, 75xx, 47xx etc will change to 5xxx numbers and the DIDs associated with those numbers would become 442-339-5xxx. The plan is to mirror the last 3 digits of the legacy extension (example 4777 would become 5777). The goal is to keep as much consistency with respect to the old extension.

How will we answer calls without traditional desk phones?

The city will be installing softphones for most of the city staff. This means you will make and receive calls on your PC through an application called Jabber. The app will run on your PC or city issued smartphone and will provide all the same features and functionality as a traditional desk phone. Users will have to login to their PC in order to take or make calls. They will also be able to answer calls via an app on a city provided smartphone.


With the new system, PCs will need to effectively broadcast and receive audio. Many people have become accustomed to this over the last year when using systems like Teams or Zoom.

We anticipate that most users will opt for headsets, but there are telephone handsets that can also be used with softphones. Here are the options.

  • Logitech or Cisco Wired/Wireless Headset This may be the most common choice. Many people already have these devices. If you have a headset from IT used for Teams/Zoom, this is what you’re using. This device will also work with Jabber.

  • Plantronics CS540/CS55 (or another Plantronics device) with adapter Many existing phone users already have this device connected to their phone. If you’re satisfied with your current headset, this is your best option. With a simple USB adapter, it can be converted to work with Jabber.

  • Wired handsets If a headset is not desired, then a classic style USB wired handset is available.

How do I find out my new phone number and request a new headset/handset?

Each department has a designated subject matter expert that will work with IT to deliver this information to staff members. When the time is right, the subject matter experts will reach out to their respective teams and give them their new phone numbers and take their headset/handset requests.


I get a notification of voicemails on my cell phone now. Will I still get this?

If you have a city issued cell phone, you will be able to answer calls, transfer calls, and get notifications.

Do voicemails messages go to email?

Voicemail messages will be sent to user’s email, where users can listen to the message, save it, or transfer it to another user.

Will the system transcribe the voicemail into text?

No. Voicemail messages are left as .wav files that users can listen to, but the messages will not be transcribed to text. The system will be configured in such a way that when you delete the email message with the voicemail attached, it also deletes the voicemail in the phone system.

Are voicemails considered public record?

Yes. Whether in your email or not, voicemails are a public record and subject to discovery. This is not new, but the new system could make fulfillment of a public records requests that include voicemail records easier.

Can I use the softphone on my PC at home?

Jabber can only be loaded on city issued devices. If you use a city issued laptop or cell phone off site, you will be able to use the softphone remotely.

We have more than one person sharing a phone/workstation. How will that work with softphones?

IT will look at these situations individually to determine the best way to support the call handling needs and may elect to place a standard desk phone instead of a softphone for these circumstances.

How will we hear an incoming call?

Audible alerts on your PC or smartphone are available for incoming calls, as well as a “pop-up” on your desktop. In some cases, external speakers or bells may be required. IT will look at these situations individually to determine the best way to support the call handling needs.

What will we do in our conference room?

The city has purchased high quality speakerphones specifically designed for conference rooms. In some instances, the existing conference rooms will also continue to be used on the new system.

Will everyone else be able to make conference calls?

Yes, this is a standard feature.

Our phone numbers have been used for years. How will we avoid this being a major issue?

To avoid service interruptions and to accommodate the community, the city will keep certain departmental numbers that are well known to the public.

How will the new phone numbers be communicated to the public?

Existing departmental numbers and those deemed critical to retain will continue to ring into the system for normal call processing. Those numbers that will be changed (most current user telephone numbers) will be intercepted with a message instructing the caller to use a dial by name directory to reach the intended user. This configuration will be in place until the need for them is diminished. We will be able to see metrics for how often old numbers are dialed. Post go-live there will be communications about this as relevant. Users will be encouraged to provide their updated telephone numbers to their contacts.

What will we do about business cards, stationary, and other printed materials?

The city understands that issuing new telephone numbers will require updated printed materials and has included this cost in the overall project plan. Now that new numbers have been assigned, departments should plan on procuring new materials charging the cost to the project. Contact your department subject matter expert for more information.