Replacing POTS Lines Becomes Necessary for Fire & Intrusion Clients
Over the last few years, telecommunications have been migrating away from traditional land lines and toward fiber-based lines and wireless communication. In the past, FCC regulations have kept rules in place that ensured POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) was still an option for consumers who wanted to continue using it. But those regulations have ended, and with that is coming the end of POTS.
This article will explore the relevant need to proactively identify fire and intrusion clients who are still using POTS lines and upgrade them to wireless communication networks now.
Now is the Time to Identify Customers on POTS
This changing technology comes as no surprise to the fire alarm monitoring industry. As early as 2010, the FCC and the NFPA 72 have been accommodating the shift away from POTS, providing definitions and requirements for the use of cellular transmission paths. That transition ramped up in 2019, when the FCC began allowing telephone providers to stop maintaining copper POTS lines.
Then in August 2022, upgrading to newer communication networks became critical when the FCC removed the price cap on POTS service. In the wake of that deregulation, telecommunications providers are blazing forward, abandoning POTS lines and moving customers to VoIP services without even having to notify them of the change.
What Does This Mean for Fire Alarm Monitoring?
Your commercial fire and life safety monitoring clients might be converted from POTS to VoIP by their phone providers without their knowledge, which could impact the reliability of their monitoring systems.
While VoIP is a widely used technology for phone service, it’s problematic for monitoring centers. Security integrators do not recommend VoIP for three main reasons:
- Signal Errors
VoIP is designed to transmit voice rather than data signals, which can lead to communication errors with the central station.
- Modem Reliability
It requires internet connection to a modem. During internet or power outages, anything relying on VoIP transmission would not work.
- Varying Compatibility
The technology of service providers varies, leading to a higher a chance of compatibility issues with your customers’ security systems.
It’s time to take control of these circumstances and reach out to your clients with answers to questions they might not even know to ask. In doing so, you can bring them more reliable services at lower costs.
Reduce Costs for Clients and Increase Your RMR
POTS customers are finding their communications bills continue to rise. Telephone service providers are increasing their rates on POTS lines for multiple reasons, including deregulation, rising cost of maintenance and to push their customers to newer technology. POTS lines will continue to degrade in reliability and increase in service costs.
How to Transition Your Clients
To effectively upgrade commercial fire and intrusion customers away from POTS, use the same process you used for 2G and 3G cellular sunsets. Schedule visits with your clients to review their account status and discuss how necessary upgrading has become. During this review you can assess their needs:
- Educate them on the concerns about VoIP and the benefits of cellular.
- Show your value to these customers by ensuring they don’t get caught in a situation where they have a critical event and their communications are not getting through to monitoring centers.
- Upgrade their contract and equipment to improve the longevity of their system.
- Get referrals. They might have contacts in a similar situation.
- If customers have already moved to VoIP, offer to provide cell backup to ensure communications will always reach monitoring centers effectively.
As you can see, the long-awaited sunset of POTS is upon us. Anticipating needs in this evolving market helps you adapt and take control of changing circumstances, increase your RMR and provide better options for your customers.
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