Dorm phones get scarcer, but now you can order them online

Here's more proof that college students consider traditional phones outdated: the campus permanently disconnected more than 3,500 phone lines this summer, thanks to plunging demand for residence hall phone service.

And in another bow to the online age, the campus has rolled out an automated phone ordering system for residence hall customers who do want the service. They can place orders through the MyPhone Web portal.

Communications Resources, part of Information and Educational Technology, disconnected the 3,500 lines. The move freed phone numbers and cabling for use in parts of the growing campus where they've been in short supply.

The phone service infrastructure in the residence halls had not changed since 1987, when each hall had a dedicated line and each room had a phone number. Cell phones were not yet common, and many of this year's freshmen hadn't been born.

Demand for UC Davis residence hall phone service has fallen this decade, mirroring a national trend.

Meanwhile, Communications Resources sees the MyPhone project as the prototype for automated service order processing for administrative customers.