Death of the phone line?

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The reliable old POTS line (Plain Old Telephone Service).  Is it on life support and about to breathe its last?  Traditional phone carriers are losing thousands of customers per year nationwide and some are seeking to get out of the business or sell it off.  How many of you still have a landline at home?

Yet many business applications still run on standard phone lines such as voice lines, fax machines, fire alarm lines, and elevator lines.  We will find traditional copper lines harder to get in the near future and need to make plans for change if we still have them (AT&T in Illinois is pushing regulators to allow them to get out of this business).

So what options do we have?

Voice Lines

Many of us have already converted to IP-based phone lines or hostedIP-based phone lines or hosted VoIP, but there is still large number of businesses (especially small business with less than 6 lines) that still use traditional copper.  There are a variety of options available depending on the quality of Internet connection you have available to you, but many companies now offer either POTS line replacement via the Internet, or a complete replacement of the customer’s phone system with hosted VoIP.  However, if you are in an area without affordable, high-quality Internet service, this is not an option for you.

Fax lines

Many people are moving towards e-fax.  This service can work quite well for both inbound and outbound faxing. In some cases, people like it better than traditional fax since they can easily forward it to email. Some customers have simply replaced their fax machines with a scanner.  Moving towards e-fax, however, can be a challenge in industries that require compliance such as healthcare (HIPAA). In this case, you must be able to find a HIPAA-compliant e-fax solution to make the switch.

Fire Alarm/Elevator Lines

Until recently, most cities/counties did not allow you to use anything other than a landline for these systems.  However, most now realized that landlines are going away and they must change with the times. Most places now allow some type of cellular solution to replace landlines for fire alarm and elevators.  Check with your service provider to see if this is an option for you.

The telecom world is changing quickly and we must all change with it.  Rest in peace, old faithful landline. We will miss you.

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