An End to an Era: POTS and ISDN Phased Out on August 2, 2022
- 3G was not the only technology to sunset in 2022.
- August 2, 2022 marked the end of POTS and ISDN service in the United States.
- Various technologies will be impacted moving forward.
3G hasn’t been the only casualty of the smartphone wars. On August 2, 2022, POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) ended. POTS was the original phone service that ran on copper wires and was used by nearly everyone worldwide. ISDN was a newer technology that allowed for digital data and voice to be transmitted over the same line. It was used by businesses and some high-end consumers.
The end of POTS and ISDN came about because of the increasing popularity of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services such as Skype and Google Voice. These services allowed users to make calls over the internet, bypassing the traditional phone networks. As more and more people switched to VoIP, the demand for POTS and ISDN dwindled. The final straw came when the major phone companies announced they would shut down their POTS and ISDN networks.
This was a major blow to the traditional phone industry, struggling to keep up with the changing times. Many people saw the end of POTS and ISDN as a sign that the traditional phone industry was finally beginning to crumble.
How Did POTS Lines Work?
The POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) telecommunication service used a copper wire telephone line for transmitting voice signals to a customer’s premises. The POTS network was supported by a central office with a large switching system. The copper telephone line from the central office was connected to the customer’s premises, which terminated in a telephone jack. Customers could plug their telephone into the jack and initiate or receive a call.
When POTS was first introduced in the late 1800s, it used a rotary dial telephone. A customer would pick up the receiver and rotate the dial to generate electrical pulses. These electrical pulses were used to select the correct route and switch the call to the called party. In the 1970s, POTS was upgraded to use touch-tone signaling. This allowed customers to use push buttons on their telephone to generate the electrical pulses needed to switch the call. This was a more efficient way of dialing and resulted in shorter call setup times.
POTS lines were also used for data services such as fax and dial-up internet. However, these services were limited by the slow speed of the POTS network.
5 Uses of POTS Lines in the Past
Here are five examples of how POTS lines were used before they came to an end on August 2:
- Alarm systems: Many alarm systems use POTS lines to send signals to a monitoring center. If the alarm was triggered, the monitoring center would receive a call and dispatch the police.
- Telephone polling: POTS lines were commonly used for telephone polling. Pollsters would call a random selection of people and ask them questions about various topics.
- Fax machines: Fax machines use POTS lines to send and receive faxes. This was a popular way to send documents before the advent of email.
- Fire alarms: Some fire alarm systems used POTS lines to notify the fire department when an alarm was triggered.
- Credit card machines: Many credit card machines use POTS lines to transmit data to the credit card company. This was before the days of wireless credit card terminals.
What Happened to POTS?
POTS lines started to be phased out in the late 2000s as customers switched to new technologies such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). VoIP allows customers to make telephone calls using a broadband internet connection. This offers many advantages over POTS lines, such as cheaper call rates, higher call quality, and the ability to make calls over long distances.
What Happened to ISDN?
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) was a digital telephone service that was introduced in the 1980s. ISDN was capable of carrying both voice and data signals. This made them popular for businesses that needed to transmit large amounts of data. However, ISDN was also expensive to install and maintain. Eventually, cheaper alternatives to ISDN began to emerge, and ISDN began to lose popularity.
I Am Still on POTS Lines. What Are My Options?
Ever since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its order to end POTS and ISDN services in the United States on August 2, 2022, there has been a lot of confusion about what this means and what options are available to business owners and individuals who still rely on these services. Many providers have already transitioned to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and are no longer offering POTS or ISDN services. VoIP is the least expensive and most reliable option for business phone service.
For those who are still using POTS or ISDN, there are a few options available:
- Move to VoIP: As mentioned before, VoIP is the best option for business phone service. VoIP is less expensive than POTS or ISDN and offers many features that these legacy systems cannot match.
- Use a POTS to VoIP gateway: A POTS to VoIP gateway is a device that connects your POTS line to a VoIP network. This allows you to make and receive calls using your POTS line, but the calls will be routed over the VoIP network.
- Use a VoIP provider that offers POTS emulation: Some VoIP providers offer POTS emulation, which allows you to keep your POTS line active. Calls made to your POTS line will be routed over the VoIP network, and you’ll be able to use your POTS line as you always have.
- Use a landline: If you still have a landline, you can continue to use it as your primary phone service. However, landlines are becoming increasingly expensive and don’t offer the same features as VoIP.
It is important to consider maintenance fees and costs for those who continue to use POTS lines. You will likely be responsible for the repairs if problems arise with your POTS line. Therefore, you will likely rely on independent contractors to perform any necessary repairs. The infrastructure to support POTS lines is no longer there, and it will only become more difficult and expensive to find independent contractors willing to perform repairs. Therefore, it is important to have a plan to transition to a new phone system. Additionally, you should have a backup plan in case your POTS line goes down.
The Bottom Line
With the end of copper telephone wires, we are walking into a new domain of digital life. POTS and ISDN are like old friends to whom we have to say goodbye. They have faithfully served us for many years, but it’s time to move on. We have to be grateful for the technology that we have today. It’s hard to imagine living without it. We have come a long way since the days of the telegraph and the Pony Express.
The world is changing, and we have to change with it. POTS and ISDN will no longer be a part of our future, but Alvarez Technology Group will be. With some research and development, we will be able to provide you with the latest and greatest technology. ATG is committed to providing our clients with the best possible service. We will continue to offer the same great service that you have come to expect from us.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you in any way that we can.