Surry County

Virginia’s Surry County government deploys world-class cloud communications in the middle of a broadband desert
Surry County logo


expected annual savings by replacing previous mobile services with RingCentral


reduction in hardware after consolidating all telephony onto RingCentral


shared cloud platform for message, phone, video, SMS, and fax
Residents depend on our agencies every day for essential services, and our previous VoIP system made it nearly impossible for those employees to stay accessible during COVID. RingCentral has made all the difference in our ability to work from anywhere, communicate in whichever format the situation calls for — whether that’s voice or text or video — all while keeping our county’s telecom costs low.

Delon Brown

Director of IT

Providing essential services for an underserved area

For the 7,000 residents of Virginia’s Surry County, the county’s government administration provides a wide range of quality-of-life services — from animal control, to trash disposal, to emergency services, to assistance for seniors and families in need.
And unlike most local governments across the United States, Surry County faces added logistical and technological challenges to delivering critical community services. For example, this rural county covers enormous geographical territory relative to its population. Where the average US county has 87 people per square mile — and Virginia itself has 202 — Surry County has only 25 people for every square mile.
But it was the government’s other ongoing challenge — the region’s technological constraints — that led Surry County to the unified cloud communications solution from RingCentral.
Surry, Virginia

The lockdowns underscored the need for flexible, mobile telecommunications

For many years, Surry County’s administrative employees — as well as the agencies they supported, such as the school board, sheriff’s office, and circuit courts — relied on traditional telephony infrastructure. Delon Brown, Surry County’s IT Director, explains that the region’s rural nature meant phone service options and capabilities were extremely limited.
“Surry County has been called a broadband desert because we’re rural, out of the way, and cover a huge geographic footprint,” Delon says. “Because it’s difficult and expensive to provide IT communications to an area like ours, we had only a few choices of carriers and services.”
Prior to the pandemic, and just before Delon joined the team, Surry County migrated to a VoIP phone system. “When that system worked, it was fine. But it had limitations in functionality — like the ability for us to easily make adjustments to our employees’ phone services. And the big shortcoming was that it basically offered no ability to telework.”
When the COVID lockdowns went into effect, and Surry County’s employees were forced to vacate their offices, the administration quickly realized how detrimental it could be if government employees were inaccessible to the county’s residents — particularly at such a difficult time as the pandemic.
“Our Department of Social Services had to keep functioning,” explains Delon. “These are the people fielding child-care assistance requests and providing nutritional assistance to at-risk families. We did our best to equip these employees with mobile services and to forward office calls to their homes or cell phones. But that solution didn’t scale — and I knew we could never again afford to be in a position like this, where our essential workers didn’t have the communication tools they needed to serve the people counting on them.”
Hearing about the Mitel-RingCentral partnership, we knew we would be moving towards a good direction considering RingCentral’s strong experience as a cloud communications provider and hearing the stories of other local governments who overcame similar situations like ours.

Delon Brown

Director of IT

A trusted IT partner recommends RingCentral

As Delon explains, Surry County’s longtime consulting partner, IPC, helped the organization vet several cloud communication providers. As a reseller of both Mitel and RingCentral solutions, IPC introduced Delon and his team to both of these options.
“There were a lot of factors that made RingCentral stand out as the right choice for Surry County,” he says.
“The interface was so user-friendly that I knew our end-users would pick it up with no trouble. The admin portal was so intuitive that we’d be able to easily go in and set forwarding and routing rules, change voice prompts, and add users anytime. But the key for me was that RingCentral has clearly been around the longest and has the most experience providing reliable, flexible cloud services. And that earned our trust.”

Improving employee workflows — and service for the county

By deploying RingEX (Message, Video, Phone), Surry County has been able to give its employees the ability to call, chat, SMS, meet, and even fax from anywhere, using any device equipped with the RingCentral softphone or mobile app. That capability, Delon explains, has helped the staff improve their workflows and provide better service to constituents.
“RingCentral’s cloud software simplifies our operational workflows as it provides our teams with the ability to set custom work hours, voice promptings, IVRs, auto attendant, all from within the RingCentral web portal. The RingEX and Microsoft 365 integration has also improved our business continuity.” In fact, Delon adds, “this added efficiency and mobility means we’re able to deliver better service to the residents who need us.”

Benefiting from the RingCentral-Mitel partnership

The fact that RingCentral and Mitel are now working together, Delon explains — and that IPC is a partner to both companies — helped improve Surry County’s migration in ways that Delon didn’t even realize until after they had happened.
“Because IPC’s teams are tightly connected with both RingCentral and Mitel, we got the benefit of Mitel’s Migration Accelerator service for our switchover to RingCentral,” he says. “IPC used that process to port over our numbers so quickly that within a couple of days everyone our entire administration was running smoothly on our new RingCentral platform. I was expecting a little more turbulence during the migration, so that was a nice surprise.”

Lowering telecom costs

Delon also points out that although his organization considers the migration to RingCentral a massive upgrade in flexibility, reliability, quality of service, and functionality, Surry County’s new unified cloud communication solution is actually costing less than its previous phone system.
We’ve gained all of these amazing benefits — unified communications, mobile apps, intuitive user and admin portals, and an outstanding partner in RingCentral — and we’re spending less than we were for a service that wasn’t even meeting our needs. Just eliminating the mobile services we had to roll out during the pandemic is going to save us about $45,000 a year, all thanks to RingCentral.

Delon Brown

Director of IT

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