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Cambridge University is to install voice over IP (VoIP) handsets to allow students to collaborate on projects more easily.

The university will be supplied with 20,000 VoIP handsets under a deal with BT, Cisco and PTS Consulting - the university's IT consultancy supplier.

Ian Lewis, director of university computing services at Cambridge, told computing.co.uk: "As one of the world’s leading universities, Cambridge is keen to attract and retain the very best students and researchers.

He added: "Part of that involves providing thoroughly modern facilities that reflect our forward-looking relationship with technology."

The announcement of the project comes as more and more businesses and public services come around to the benefits of VoIP, which can offer free peer-to-peer phone calls and can significantly cut running costs.

Last month, the NHS begun trials of the system for London Trusts as part of a programme of modernisation for its services.

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