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After 120 years the standard telephone will finally be dead!

Today seems to be a significant day of change. It started with a news item on the radio this morning with the statement that the major TV channels are looking to replace broadcasting over the airwaves by just streaming live TV over the internet.

Homes will never look the same as the aerial becomes a thing of the past. I wonder if anybody remembers standing on one leg trying to get a better picture on the TV with a pair of bunny ears in hand.

This morning I attended a customer review meeting with a major carrier, they announced that they have a massive project underway to replace the humble telephone by the end of 2020. The plain old telephone or POTS line is being retired along with it other copper buddies like Centrex, ISDN BRA and PRA lines. While I already knew this, it’s still a bit of a shock. I mean the plain old telephone hasn’t changed much over the last 120 years after first being introduced in the late 19th Century. The only real technological advance was the addition of tone based dialling in 1963. This fantastic feature took decades to roll out. Remember how trendy it was to finally push a button to dial instead of using your finger to drag around the little dial? It was time-consuming and painful to dial a “1” until about 1985.

I suppose this impending retirement is long overdue. However, it is not without its problems. The POTS line operates without power. Technology such as faxes and alarms often need it. There are still a large number of organisations that use Business Telephone Systems that rely on copper lines. Moreover, for those organisations that have undergone office relocations, the frequently used Customerlink or exchange diverts may also be grandfathered!

Replacing these services can be daunting, but most are easily swapped out with the introduction of fibre and SIP. However, it is still essential that you identify the purpose of the currently used POT’s lines or exchange diverts before moving them off to new technology. Unidentified services can be a risk to your organisation especially when the service provides emergency communications. Auditing our client’s infrastructure takes time. The most challenging step is identifying and removing unnecessary lines without removing critical connections, e.g. lift phones or for any alarm.

So it’s timely now to review your organisations’ infrastructure and discuss with your service provider what alternatives are available and how they would work for you to futureproof.

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