Is Plain Old Telephone Service Really Dying?

Is Plain Old Telephone Service Really Dying?

on ATT towards Durham city
on ATT towards Durham city (Photo credit: sleepyneko)

This was a discussion on a LinkedIn telecoms group.  Let’s survey some expert answers submitted:

  •  “ I can see POTS becoming a premium service for those needing fax, elevator phones, alarm lines, emergency phone services…and a host of new “circuit based” essential services.”
  • “We never know..POTs is too good to die, in cases where security of data is highly required…”
  • “ No matter what ever is the advent of VOIP and wireless technologies, the high secure connections, like Police stations etc still mostly rely on POTS..”
  • “POTS will live for a long time,but it has peaked. Even today many “POTS” services are delivered over VOIP. POTS will slowly die. But that valuable copper pair into your home will carry so much more – it’s a shame to have any wasted.”
  • “The challenge is not the death of POTS, it is the delivery of theses services migrating away from traditional copper based exchange powered services to IP based premises powered services….”
  • “My point of view is POTs will gradually lose its’ market as fiber is adopted and becomes a new transport to customer premises instead of copper (there are several regions in the world where it has already happened).”

My experience

Uganda - mobile phone charging service
Uganda – mobile phone charging service (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTS is not always fail safe.  Let me share my experience, after I share some background.  I have the following:

  • A measured rate, minimalist ATT land line.  I have a mix of cordless and cord phones.
  • A Comcast powered NetTalk phone system, with a cordless phone system
  • A Boost mobile phone (i.e. Sprint system)

During this summer, we had a big storm. All the power was out for three days.  And I’ve learned some things from this experience.

For one thing, more folks were talking on cell phones.  There were times the circuits were at capacity and you couldn’t get through.  I couldn’t charge up the cell phone – except in my car.  The car charge was nowhere near the charging capacity of the wall charger.  It took much longer to charge in a car.

A Japanese cell phone with various stickers an...
A Japanese cell phone with various stickers and charms attached to it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now for the ATT network.  While you are supposed to always get through on a basic phone (i.e. one not powered by electricity), it went out for a few hours.  My neighbor – whom I will call by a fictional name Jay – also experienced this problem.  Jay is now deceased and I wrote about him recently – under his fictional name. He couldn’t get though either on his ATT line.  Our lines were dead.  I had to go to COD to file an online complaint.  Jay called his in with his cell phone.  It took a day or so for ATT to restore the lines remotely.  Was the problem caused by storm damage?

Needless to say, NetTalk was dead in the water – just as any VOIP solution would be.  The only redeeming consolation was that I was paying a fraction of what Comcast or Vonage would charge me.  And I won’t even comment on Magic Jack.  If you read my earlier posts on the topic, I’m certainly not their biggest fan. Perhaps in the future, I can use a Wifi NetTalk device within the COD network, or use Skype on my laptop.  Is this a good backup plan?

Academic and business blog posts

Here are some blog posts I recommend from academic and business acquaintances of mine

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