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On August 22, 2022, FCC Order 19-72A1 went into effect, so carriers no longer have to support copper lines. This change has left many organizations scrambling for long-term solutions, creating demand for POTS in a Box.
While POTS — plain old telephone service — hasn’t been fully decommissioned, this new change has opened the market so that costs are deregulated.
Some telecom providers are looking at this as an opportunity to push customers toward alternative solutions, and as a result, the market for POTS replacement is growing rapidly.
POTS in a Box enables organizations to move away from traditional POTS while ensuring that things requiring a phone service, especially those related to life and safety (like fire panels and elevators) are covered.
POTS in a Box: The Basics
The functionality of POTS in a Box involves linking your conventional phone line to an IP-enabled apparatus connecting to the Internet. This configuration enables users to place calls to any destination while retaining familiar features and services.
POTS in a Box users can leverage amenities such as VoIP, sophisticated unified communication services, and cloud-centric applications. It’s an ideal solution for organizations aiming to enhance their telecommunication networks without overhauling their infrastructure.
This approach offers countless benefits, from a seamless transition with the retention of all features and increased reliability to cloud integration, scalability and geographic flexibility.
Some common practical reasons people choose POTS in a Box include:
- The need for compliance.
- Supports various protocols for fire and security alarms.
- Elevator monitoring, including alarms for emergency communications.
- Legacy fax transmissions.
- Supports analog machine-to-machine needs.
- Network failover.
For example, in the hotel industry, guest safety is paramount, and that means ensuring lights never go out and alarms are always functional. POTS in a Box is used to ensure fire panels, elevators, or fax machines are uninterrupted during a power failure.
One of the biggest reasons people have retained their traditional POTS service is for resiliency should the power go out. With POTS they’re provided with power from the central office and don’t require anything from the customer’s side to work.
Many times, migrating to a POTS in a Box solution causes concerns about losing that backup should the power go out. The good news is that hardware and service providers have thought of that.
POTS in a Box hardware includes a battery backup so that any fire, alarm, safety, or elevator lines can continue operating until power is restored. As battery backup has minimal function, 4G/5G/LTE cellular radios are built into current solutions. They’re specifically designed to be low-power draw to extend the life of the internal battery backup.
Key Considerations When Purchasing POTS in a Box
When deciding if POTS in a Box is right for your organization, there are three key areas to explore further to ensure you make the best possible choice.
#1. The Right POTS Plan for Your Organization
Like any technology transition, you need to ensure you have a plan in place for success.
When considering the shift to POTS in a Box, you’ll need to take a full inventory of all locations, departments, employees, invoices and costs involved. That’ll give you an accurate view of what should factor into your decision-making process.
Location and local requirements will greatly impact your overall strategy.
Case in point: Fire codes vary by municipality, and not all areas allow for VoIP lines for fire alarms. Any POTS in a Box solution should meet local fire code requirements to avoid fines, or more importantly, any potential safety issues
Also, you’ll want to look at whether you need the same solution for every location or different ones based on the location’s unique needs. For example, if you have a location with lines that are in a basement, you may need additional on-site implementation support and will want to choose your supplier accordingly.
#2. The Regulatory Environment
With FCC Order 19-72A1 in effect, the market is quickly evolving. Carriers are taking this opportunity to shift to fiber-optic lines which are easier to maintain than copper and are viewed as the future of their business.
Multiple carriers have indicated they’ll be ending POTS service in the coming months and years. The reality is that even if your copper lines aren’t yet decommissioned, your carrier will likely be requiring you to switch to a new service in the near term.
One of the biggest impacts of the FCC order is that pricing for POTS has been deregulated so prices have increased sharply. There’s no longer a price cap for POTS making costs unpredictable.
#3. The Cost of POTS vs. POTS in a Box
With traditional POTS services, you can expect to see the monthly cost of the line, taxes and any licensing fees. With POTS in a Box, there’s about a 17% reduction in the costs (by region) between taxes and fees and the LEC on the regular POTS lines.
Plus, POTS lines include fees related to FLSC, but POTS in a Box doesn’t have those fees yet.
If POTS in a Box is the right fit, this is the ideal time to switch to a POTS replacement solution while reducing costs. Being proactive will help you ensure that you’re not taken by surprise by decommissioning or racking up needless costs by making the transition.
The age of your current equipment currently being used will also be a factor in transitioning to POTS in a Box. If you have lines that nobody is certain which each one is used for, or if your lines are double punched (e.g., a panic button AND the fire panel operating from one line), you’ll likely save money by adopting POTS in a Box.
While there may be some initial trepidation to make the switch — as is often the case when adopting new-to-you technology — the functionality and accompanying support from your POTS in a Box provider mean that the cost savings can add up quickly.
Replacing POTS: Now or Later?
POTS in a Box solutions address the immediate challenge of POTS decommissioning and offer a platform for embracing advanced communication technologies.
The reality is that POTS is dying, and it’s not a matter of when you’ll need to shift, but rather, if you do it now proactively or if you’re forced to do so in the future.