So, where can POTS (plain old telephone service) fit in an evolving market, and when should customers opt for newer, feature-rich alternatives? Both POTS and newer Internet-based services present efficiencies for diverse telecom focuses. And, smart organizations understand their distinct connectivity focus and how to translate their unique usage needs into the right mix of telecom solutions. As long as the cost doesn’t exceed the benefit of having a backup resource preventing business disruption, POTS is likely to survive.
Mix of POTS and Evolving Technologies
The Benton Foundation presents an interesting hypothetical scenario: What if all voice services were replaced by completely Internet-based solutions? Without regulation, telemarketing calls would have no limits and emergency 911 calls would lack the location visibility necessary to ensure a quick arrival. Also, depending on the particular state’s local laws, there are current requirements for elevators and fire alarm system connections that a VoIP system could not easily meet.
- Therefore, despite the archaic grouping it frequently receives, POTS lines are not going anywhere anytime soon due to their numerous benefits, including:
- POTS requires a lower startup cost and can be turned up more quickly than IP-based services.
Business lines can be cost advantageous when coupled with flat rate long distance features, which can help save businesses a lot of money per minute.
Preparing for the Future
IP-based telephone systems, as well as cable modems, DSL and fiber-optic systems, still provide the POTS interface that all businesses know and love. Most households are already wired for these traditional systems and it makes converting from legacy POTS systems to IP systems easier without any infrastructure modifications.
Allowing a smooth flow from legacy POTS to IP systems is feasible where organizations deem it necessary, but it depends on the connectivity requirements and particular needs of the user. The process of transforming POTS lines to IP systems in specific areas is becoming more and more popular, and one of the biggest advocates for this transition is AT&T.
In the past, AT&T decided to shift to a complete IP network by 2020. They started making plans to shut down some of their copper resources this past quarter in order to start the changeover. The reason for the shift was covered in AT&T’s SEC filing, where declining customer demand for legacy voice and data products made the move necessary.
There are other carriers who see a declining role for copper as well. Verizon has been stripping out old copper lines in favor of newer fiber lines. They have been selling off their unwanted wireline assets to Frontier since 2009. More recently, there is a deal in place for Frontier to purchase even more wireline assets worth approximately $10 billion. With the biggest carriers pushing for a change, it’s clear that there are more options out there, but copper still remains a relevant option to support a comprehensive telecom portfolio.
Selecting the Best Option, and Partner
A Communications Engineer at a Pennsylvania Hospital discussed with the Source One team that:
“There is no definitive ‘right or wrong’ telecom option. There are, however, strategic choices that can be made in how you choose to allocate your communications safety nets.” For example, POTS lines can always act as a back-up plan for when all other safety protocols fail, especially relevant in a hospital environment.
The same strategy applies to any business: assess your specific need, and know that there are flexible telecom options to optimize that. Also, prevent future problems by understanding your current inventory of phone services and plan accordingly when looking to newer technology. While easier said than done, partnerships with industry experts can add significant value to this process. The Corporate United telecommunications partnership with Source One makes sure that your program is using the right systems, with the right features. To keep your telecommunications program ahead of industry trends, contact your Corporate United member development representative today.
This blog post was a collaborative piece between Corporate United and our supplier partner, Source One. We thank Source One for providing valuable information that guided this discussion.
Jacquelyn Palantino: Senior Analyst at Source One Management Services