Folks, the literal writing is on the wall; it’s time to move to VOIP and retire your copper phone lines. Even if you’ve already switched your phones to VOIP, there may be be something you’ve missed!

Three years ago the FCC issued an order that officially allows telephone companies to abandon copper phone lines anytime after August 1st, 2022.

The Communications Act of 1934 previously guaranteed that telephone service be available even in remote areas at an affordable cost. After August 1st, 2022, your local telephone company will no longer be required to sell, support, or repair your business phone lines. Also, affordable cost goes out the window. VOIP provider Ooma says businesses switching to them are fleeing phone bills of $80 to $120/phone line per month, with huge repair fees when things break.

The FCC is allowing the phone companies to take this aggressive approach for two reasons. 1. the data supports it; US telephone companies reported 121 million copper POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines subscribed in 2010. As of 2022, that has dropped to 31 million, and will likely cease to exist by 2026.

2, telco’s have shown the FCC that they have plenty of shiny new VOIP products to sell you, so you shouldn’t be left without a solution.

In reality, even if your business has switched over to VOIP, you may have overlooked some older devices that are still connected to telco copper. Here is the list of what you may have missed:

Lifeline Devices

  • Burglar alarm
  • Fire alarm
  • Sprinkler alarm
  • Elevator phones
  • Emergency phones
  • Panic buttons
  • TTY terminals for the deaf

Business Critical Devices

  • Fax machine
  • Credit card terminal

Aroostook County Specific Devices – You know who you are

  • Potato house ventilation systems
  • Private gas pumps

If you have any of these devices operating in your business, you should discuss with your original equipment vendor and plan to move these devices over to a solution that does not require a copper line from your telco. Even if you can’t do so prior to August 1st, you should be making progress towards it.

For those of you who don’t have any VOIP products at all, as I said, the writing is on the wall and now is the time to switch before your telco gets a chance to increase your bill. Reach out to your local vendors and see what they have to offer! Greenmark IT is now a CLEC and has a full line of hosted VOIP products including business phone systems with 70+ features like SMS, voice recognition, mobile app, and more! If you would like more information, please fill out the contact form below.