End of Life (EOL) is coming soon for Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). In August 2019 the FCC issued Order 19-72A1. The legal document requires service providers in the USA to replace all POTS lines with some sort of alternative service by August 2022. That’s about six months away. So, why should you care?
After all, most telephony and unified communications services are now delivered as Voice-over-IP (VoIP), typically using fiber-optic (or perhaps coaxial) cabling—or high-speed wireless broadband services, such as 5G.
Yet many enterprises, transportation services, and industrial operations still use analog POTS lines (delivered on copper cable) for business-critical phone and fax, as well as safety and security applications that include:
- Voice delivered over analog lines (emergency phones for example)
- Fax delivered over analog lines
- Fire Alarms
- Fire Panels
- Control Panels
By some estimates, about 24 million specialty lines supporting such safety devices and services remain in use today. These essential security and safety services (typically installed locally on the business premises) are usually connected to a remotely-located monitoring system using POTS analog phone lines.
In the first category above (analog voice lines) there is a major subcategory. We have written about it before on this blog. See . . .
>>UC for Hotels, MTU/MDU or Campus Environments
with Analog Phones (Part II)
Alas, telecom services providers will be pulling the plug on POTS by August 02, 2022. Verizon and others will officially retire (de-commission) their POTS lines forever.
So, we are fast approaching the end of the line for analog POTS services.
That means most customers must have an alternative service by August, but for Verizon Business (VZB) customers, the deadline is even sooner. VZB POTS users must change to a new service by April 30, 2022 or face disconnection.
Back Story: Copper Gets De-Commissioned
Ever since VoIP services became a real thing, carriers have been working to taper down and eventually eliminate services delivered over the copper cabling plant: including legacy POTS lines, digital subscriber lines (DSLs), primary rate interfaces (PRIs), and private data services. Carriers have raised prices, left maintenance and support contracts un-renewed, and even required customers to convert to VoIP-based services that run over fiber optic cabling.
For customers that didn’t get the hint, things have changed. Big time. Verizon Business has announced that all customers with a VZB POTS line must migrate to a new service no later than April 30, 2022… or be subject to disconnection.
Verizon Business operates in about a dozen states, and the notification only mentions POTS lines. Still, this policy has significant implications that reach far beyond VZB’s purview.
Now, what’s to be done?
How can we keep these must-have legacy POTS-based services alive in the new world of ALL-IP?
The short answer: use a VoIP gateway.
But not just any VoIP gateway. You don’t want something built overseas that doesn’t work or works for a little while and then breaks down.
SmartNode is world-renowned for quality, reliability, and stability. Patton builds SmartNode VoIP equipment in Gaithersburg, MD, USA. If you’re ever in the DC metro, come see us. We’ll show you around our manufacturing floor. We’re open weekdays from 8:30 AM to 5 PM.
You might find it interesting—and helpful—to have a look at how some other people have done it. Patton has helped a few organizations with their…
We’re also pretty good at setting up…
Patton can help you figure out the best way to solve your situation and the best devices to use for your network environment.
If you want help setting up a solution for your organization, give me a call or send me an email and I’ll hook you up. If your problem is over my head, our world-class Technical Services team (my dear husband, Danny Staub, is the team leader) can step in to help.