POTS Lines - Going the Way of the Blackberry

Tom Collins
Post by Tom Collins
March 15, 2022
POTS Lines - Going the Way of the Blackberry

A long time customer forwarded me a notice that they had received from Verizon about a planned network change. It read like this:

“Verizon intends to retire the copper facilities at your serving wire center. After the retirement of the copper facilities, Verizon will: (1) no longer offer services over copper facilities; and (2) cease maintaining the copper facilities.”

She asked me… “will this have an impact on my fax, elevator and security lines? I think the “C” in the EoC service you provide us as a backup Internet connection, stands for copper. Will that be affected, too?”

Sadly, the answer is yes and ever more sad is that she isn’t the only one to receive this message. Now that the global pandemic has started to subside, Verizon is getting back to their planned transition off the copper telephone wire network affectionately known as POTS, for Plain Old Telephone Service.

Copper wires were once the cornerstone of modern business communication. They have served everyone well over the years, but as readers of this blog know, something more modern and valuable has taken its place. Fiber and VoIP are far surpassing the capabilities of POTS and traditional telephone lines are rapidly declining and will soon be gone. And by soon, I mean the summer of 2022.

Carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Lumen and others, have already started retiring the copper wire network and equipment. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued Order 10-72A1 that requires that all POTS lines in the United States be replaced with an alternate service – such as fiber or wireless connections – by August 2, 2022. This is not a drill, people… AUGUST 2, 2022!!!

As carriers and the FCC are actively working to retire copper lines, POTS has become unreliable. Ceasing POTS services will force businesses to replace the service and if you haven’t done it already, the replacement will have to come rapidly. And if you don't replace it, you may find a carrier that still supports copper wires, but it will be very expensive and unreliable as the physical network will unlikely be maintained. Here is how your business can adequately prepare for the upcoming changes.

CloudFax

Rather than using POTS lines to serve fax machines, many of our customers have switched to CloudFax service. CloudFax enables faxes to be sent/received from telephone numbers using email. An alternative feature is using a web browser to log into a portal and sending or receiving faxes, securely. Lastly, if you MUST use a physical fax machine, it can be connected to an appliance which will then send/receive faxes using IP. Again, this is all done securely and the services checks the boxes for regulatory compliance such as HIPAA, Sarbanes/Oxley and all others.

ATAs

You may have legacy devices that cannot be converted to IP. These conventional devices can be a vexing problem. There are many examples of out-of-date devices still in use within businesses and these legacy devices require POTS lines to operate, ranging from fire alarm panels, building entry systems, emergency elevator phones, and printers. It is often assumed that these legacy devices cannot transition to a VoIP system because of their conventional regulatory requirements. However, Atlantech Online has a solution. Instead of your conventional legacy device connecting to a POTS line from the ILEC, we can install a terminal adapter (ATA) and simulate a POTS signal to your device. The “call” can then be carried over your IP Network to our voice switch(es) so it can connect to its destination. This solution is not only effective,it is less expensive than POTS service, so it’s a win-win!

 

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IP Connection

Digital Transformation was already part of business vocabulary and its use grew exponentially during the global pandemic. Many systems were quickly retooled and transformed in order to be fit for use by remote workers and automated systems. Many of the conventional devices referenced above, such as building entry systems, have been transformed from legacy analog formats to capabilities for use over an IP network. This is most clearly illustrated with credit card processing terminals. You can even process a credit card transaction using your mobile phone! You should check with your equipment vendor for any analog systems you still have in use that leverage POTS lines. Chances are good that they or a smart competitor has an IP-enabled version that can meet your needs and help you eliminate the need/use of POTS lines.

UCaaS from Atlantech Online

Reach out to use today and get a plan in place for replacing any services you have that are delivered over POTS. I also recommend checking out this in-depth guide on cloud-based and unified communications: 10 Questions to Ask Before Buying Unified Communications as a Service.

This guide will help you evaluate cloud and unified communications providers and ensure you know the right questions to ask so you can make the best decision for your company.

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Tom Collins
Post by Tom Collins
March 15, 2022
Tom is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.