The need for POTS Replacement and the FCC’s Forbearance Order 19-72A1
POTS lines (Plain old telephone service) are analog signal transmissions conducted over real copper wires (twisted pair) using an outdated dial-up infrastructure. It is the current phone call service that people and companies use. However, POTS technology stems from Alexander Graham Bell’s original phone system, which was established in 1876.
To give you some perspective, the Windows OS has been around since 1985 and in that time there have been 27 iterations, 39 versions, and 59 editions. Meanwhile, this technology is well over 100 years old and hasn’t changed much at all.
In terms of features, POTS doesn’t have caller ID, call waiting or voicemail. You also can’t transfer calls or use three-way calling.
As a result of all these factors, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has been considering replacing POTS with VoIP service. However, there has been significant pushback from companies and individuals who rely on POTS lines for business or personal reasons.
Why Is It Necessary to Replace POTS Lines?
There have been no fundamental changes in the POTS line technology for almost a century. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deemed these analog phone lines obsolete, prompting them to conclude that POTS lines are no longer viable and urging providers to turn off the copper wires. The FCC’s order states that resellers and consumers using POTS line services must transition to another service by August 2, 2022.
Due to the services being discontinued, the two immediate results are a continuous decrease in support and a continual boost in monthly costs.
The lack of innovation and advancements with POTS technologies have made it difficult for service providers to maintain the quality of their copper wire networks.
As a result, companies are being forced to increase prices to make up for the lack of new features and capabilities. This price hike is likely to continue as the technology gets older and more outdated.
What Is VoIP?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a method for taking analog audio signals, like the kind you hear when you make a phone call and turning them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet. VoIP has been around since 1995, but it has only recently become popular due to faster Internet speeds and more reliable service.
Benefits of IP-based phone systems
There are three main reasons why people switch to IP-based phone systems: the expense of POTS lines, lack of monitoring and remote management capabilities, and lack of support. Each one of these issues is enough on its own to warrant a switch to a new system.
The ecosystem of the POTS Line
When we talk about copper POTS systems, the first thing that comes to mind is usually phone or fax lines. Although this is true, the system includes a wide range of products and use cases. For example, most elevators, emergency call boxes, and alarm systems rely on POTS lines for their operation. The Blue light towers on college campuses that are backhauled by POTS lines to get calls out to the internet are another usage case. Furthermore, most fire alarm systems require POTS lines for their operation.
We realize that it is an intricate component that affects every company, individual, and industry only after we comprehend the scope and significance of POTS Line technology and all of the mission-critical systems it influences.
What Does the FCC’s Mandate Mean for Businesses?
The FCC Forbearance Order 19-72A1 requires that all POTS Lines in the U.S. be replaced with an alternative service by August 2, 2022, essentially putting an end to traditional analog copper POTS line systems. This decree also means that the infrastructure which provides emergency communications for our various mission-critical systems must be replaced without any disruptions—despite the fact it is aging and constantly falling apart This great challenge of this replacement mandate can provide difficulty for businesses, individuals, and industries.
The main consideration, aside from the need to repair such a vital component, is the urgency of addressing it. Keep in mind that major systems such as voice and fax lines, credit card machines, HVAC systems, ATMs, elevators, security systems, fire alarms, and other important components will not operate correctly or at all. This disruption may result in revenue loss, production disruption, and customer dissatisfaction for your company. However, if we consider the many other systems disrupted by this technology, delays in response times, inability to communicate distress, and even mortality can occur.
Options for Replacing a POTS System
The implications of replacing POTS are significant and far-reaching but understanding how to effectively replace the technology is necessary to minimize negative impacts. There are two primary methods for modernizing POTS Line technology – VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and cellular – but there are distinct differences between them. For example, Cellular signals use radio frequencies whereas VoIP Lines format audio into signals that carry along before reverting to audible form.
POTS lines are more expensive than VoIP and Cellular, but both cellular and VoIP are cost-effective compared to POTS. The primary distinction between cellular and VoIP is in how they send data signals: while VoIP uses packet-switching, cellular relies on circuit- switching. Circuit-switched networks keep the line open while protecting it from nonessential traffic.
However, VoIP lines utilize private and public networks to transmit data in smaller fragmented packets that are comparable to those used on the Internet. This method can introduce distortion and anomalies owing to surrounding traffic and thus alter route choices. There are also concerns about the lack of security for the data being sent. VoIP calls are especially vulnerable to being hijacked or subjected to DDoS (distributed denial- of-service) attacks because VoIP utilizes non-encrypted data packets. In addition, call tampering can cause VoIP calls to become uninterpretable, which makes VoIP unreliable in emergency situations.
Cellular uses a dedicated line from a telecommunication company, ensuring that data is more reliable. The other main difference between VoIP and Cellular is that the latter requires backup power. VoIP software works best when electricity is available, but it is possible that your power may go out at any time. Because VoIP technology relies on continuous power to maintain internet connectivity, an outage might render your security
system useless. Cellular solves this problem by allowing you to use emergency calls while the power is out.
The Most Advanced POTS Replacement on the Market
Makena IT Group is a Hawaii based company that provides several solutions, including IoT, business communications, POTS replacement, and work-from-home. Makena IT’s all-in-one technological approach delivers Internet access, voice communications, and collaboration tools into a single platform that benefits every part of your company.
Makena IT group immerses you in simplicity from complexity by integrating everything you need to operate your company efficiently into one location. It all begins with your capacity to establish a dependable, stable, and efficient internet connection, no matter where you work from home, in an office, or somewhere in between.
Makena IT Group solution makes use of POTS-in-A-Box (PIAB) technology. The PIAB is engineered for easy POTS line replacement. With advanced tone stabilization and built-in management tools, you’re able to manage your device from any location.
Today’s solutions need intelligence to fulfill your demands at the highest resolution. The PIAB is a smart solution for POTS replacement at the highest level of quality. The PIAB simplifies your complicated problem by delivering:
- Use Customer Ethernet or Dual SIM card slots for LTE coverage on AT&T/Verizon networks.
- Built-in Router functionality
- Specialty codecs/signaling for burglar and fire alarm transmission
- Analog modem data support
- Highly reliable Fax-over-IP delivery
- Extended battery life
- Fully functioning hosted PBX
With Makena IT Group, you can have peace of mind knowing that your business will always be online. Our failover solution is reliable and easy to use. We offer three ways to back up and simplify your existing network:
- As your primary router with a backup
- Provide backup when you have a router or an extender
- Enterprise failover
Each Enterprise failover situation is unique, so you should speak with your network administrator before taking any further steps. A standard Enterprise failover application could involve installing PIAB onto a Firewall as part of a network, PBX, or VOIP failover plan.
You may take advantage of this functionality by using an Ethernet connection to your firewall’s LAN out port and connecting it to the inbound WAN port on PIAB, then configuring for in/outbound access in the event of a mainline internet outage. You can also use a Static IP Assigned SIM card to provide another layer of security to this scenario.
With our ATA-based POTS replacement solution, businesses can manage an extensive number of devices with just one analog telephone adapter. For example, if a business requires an ATA POTS lines router instead of the regular Connect series routers, we provide that as an add-on to their service.