Telecom Carriers are Decommissioning their Copper Wire-based Networks in the US
As someone that was pretty much born into the telecommunications industry, I was utterly flabbergasted when I heard of the final D-day for the end of Plain Old Telephony Service (aka POTS) in the United States. I have been selling POTS services for 20+ years for businesses to use for various devices. I am keenly aware of all the businesses still using POTS lines to support fax, alarms, point of sale, and other vital services that stay connected and maintained on a POTS line.
Plain Old Telephony Service (POTS), the legacy analog copper phone line, is being phased out. Like pagers or the telegraph. Or even laser disks. It is old technology that is simply too expensive to support over newer solutions offering more flexibility, cost savings, and simplified management. In contrast, this isn’t generally as much concern to businesses for their voice phone system, as most organizations have already migrated to a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) platform by now. But several businesses are still hanging onto their POTS line for simplified individual connectivity, which will pose a massive challenge for the collective number of devices and systems engineered to use on a POTS line for monitoring and signaling.
Major telephone providers have already started phasing them out, while the USA FCC has issued Order 10-72A1 that mandates that all POTS lines in the US be replaced with an alternative service – such as fiber or wireless connections – by August 2, 2022.
The FCC will allow carriers to stop selling copper telephone lines, which means your fire and security systems may need to migrate soon. As in, five months soon. The challenge carriers face is with new technology trends of wireless and VoIP telephony, it has dramatically changed the need or demand for traditional POTS lines. It is a no-brainer for carriers to phase out POTS as maintaining complicated, outdated service for a decreasing user base has become unsustainable.
FCC reports the number of POTS lines in the U.S. declined from 122 million in 2010 to 41 million in 2019. Several telcos are on a path to drop POTS lines within five years. Rates for remaining POTS lines are rising as providers are forced to support their remaining POTS infrastructure for a drastically smaller pool of customers. According to the Bureau of Labor, POTS charge rates increased 36% from 2010 to 2021, even as mobile phone rates have declined.
I wanted to provide an alternative list for our customers of connectivity solutions for the devices mentioned earlier that are currently connected via POTS lines. Using a modem with POTS has been a fast and easy method to add communication devices for operations or management to a range of systems over the last 50 years. It has also been implemented into regulation, such as NFPA 72 and UL 864 for life safety platforms. These regulations specify the functionality of POTS, that Five nines availability, into regulatory statutes that drive enterprise implementations.
It is of our utmost priority to guide you on how best to manage and maintain these systems for your business while also continuing service as needed (for example, with an alarm or fire system). Most organizations have multiple POTS lines for burglary alarms and fax, and often for other retail business systems like an ATM machine. ClearlyIP has a clear plan for this transition as a critical 2022 activity for many organizations.
Customers will be recommended to move to an online fax solution. The benefit of this is that they can send a fax virtually anywhere, from any device. The ClearlyIP ‘Sendfax.to’ solution offers businesses the ability to still use faxing but sending and receiving through email. Good news, if you still want to use physical fax or a combination of physical faxing and sending/receiving faxes via email, a customer can purchase our ‘SendFax.to Device’ and connect up to two fax devices to a single SendFax.to Device.
Fire & Burglary Alarms
Alarm monitoring with cellular communication is now the most reliable means of communication for security systems. You can also use an ATA, however you will want to check with your local and federal government regulations to understand the requirements in your area before making a decision on connectivity.
Point of Sale System
POS is a point of sale system. Your connectivity depends on the type of POS solution you implement. There are many different types of POS devices, including smartphones, tablets, mobile POS, card and chip readers, touch screens, computers, self-service kiosks, and terminals. Other POS-related devices include barcode scanners, cash drawers, keyboards, and receipt printers. The varying types of POS solutions require different connectivity, and it really depends on the POS provider which method of connectivity you use.
Several of our customers have moved to use an ATA connected to their VoIP platform. We are happy to recommend a solution for your specific needs.
In the USA, you do not currently need a POTS line, and cellular is an approved connection. A17. 1 Elevator Code is the code for all of the U.S. and requires a dedicated phone line and a cellular elevator phone line meets this requirement. You can cut the cord on elevator phone landlines and transition to cellular lines, which work with new and existing elevators for significant savings.
Gate or Door Entry Systems
Some access gate systems simply need an internet connection or cellular line. A door release system that unlocks the door when the visitor presses ‘9’ on their phone can be connected with cellular or an ATA, or you can upgrade to an IP-based Door Entry Phone that can connect to a VoIP System via an FXS Device. Our ClearlyIP 745 PBX Appliance comes with a FXS Port.
Businesses may use cellular backup compared to POTS as an inexpensive and effective backup solution to their VoIP system. ClearlyIP Trunking offers built-in cellular failover for customers. Businesses can set up automatic call forwarding of the VoIP system to the cellular service; in the event of an internet service outage or power interruption.