a phone with the words 5 reasons copper lines are being abandoned

Say Goodbye to Copper Lines

There are a multitude of reasons copper lines are disappearing and being replaced with fiber optic infrastructure. From limited bandwidth to cost-effectiveness, copper lines simply cannot compete with fiber optic technologies for communications.

Copper landlines are an outdated technology, increasingly viewed as the equivalent of two cans connected by a string. They are much less efficient than newer communication technologies. This legacy technology is not able to handle the myriad of voice and collaboration features many modern businesses require to stay competitive.

Making the switch to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is no longer a question of If, but When. This period of transition presents a tremendous opportunity for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and their customers to create flexible, cost-effective, as-a-service plans to easily grow to meet business needs.

Phone Network in Transition 

The FCC public notice of copper line retirement was expected. The big telephone operators have been warning of the change and preparing for it. While the FCC deregulation didn’t mandate a nationwide shutdown of Plain Old Telephone services (POTs), it paved the way for the transition, ready or not.

The 2019 order from the FCC removed the obligation for telcos to maintain copper landline infrastructure with the goal of incentivizing them to invest in new technologies and digital infrastructure.

  • AT&T plans to decommission 50% of copper by 2025
  • Many telco providers are no longer accepting orders for new service after September 2024
  • The average price of POTs is skyrocketing

While the abandoning of copper landlines impacts all areas of the USA, some regions are being harder hit by the change to fiber than others. Rural American areas in particular frequently lack the infrastructure for fiber optics. Many residents are still relying on copper landlines. Many lower-income and communities of color depend on traditional landlines due to cost or the lack of alternative solutions, like high-speed internet.

two different types of telephone services and networking

Regardless of these shortcomings, the industry focus is on transitioning to VoIP and mobile phone plans. The first tech transmits digital phone calls through the internet, while the second requires a robust cellular network. Building reliable infrastructure for either communications technology in lower income and rural areas is a slow, ongoing process. However, telcos, local communities and policymakers are working towards a transition to communication solutions that address the needs of vulnerable populations.

5 Reasons Copper Lines Are Being Abandoned

Here are five of the key reasons why the FCC and telecommunications companies in the United States are abandoning copper lines.

Aging Infrastructure

Most of the copper landlines still in operation are decades old. Maintaining these copper landlines has become increasingly expensive and difficult. Replacing aging and deteriorating copper systems is a financial burden telecom companies no longer wish to support.

Declining Demand

With the rise of mobile phones and VoIP services, the demand for traditional copper landline phone services has declined significantly. Maintaining an antiquated, redundant network for a dwindling user base is simply not economical for major telecom companies.

Changing Technology

Advancements in fiber optic technology have made it more affordable and easier to deploy. Together with developments in voice, messaging, meetings, fax, and collaboration technologies transmitted via the internet, fiber is an attractive option for companies seeking to invest in a more future-proof infrastructure.

Limited Bandwidth

Copper landlines simply cannot handle the ever-increasing demand for high-speed internet and data transmission. The DSL option for internet access is transmitted via copper lines, and therefore also being abandoned. Fiber optic cables offer significantly higher bandwidth, enabling faster internet speeds and supporting new technologies like streaming services and cloud computing without restricting or interfering with voice calls.

Cost-Effectiveness

Transitioning communication services to a fiber optic network offers long-term cost savings for telecom companies and should benefit their customers. While the initial investment in fiber is higher for the telcos, its lower maintenance costs and energy efficiency lead to significant savings over time.

The Opportunity: Moving to Unified Communications

There have never been more avenues for organizations and businesses of all sizes to move to VoIP communication systems on their own terms. Rip and replace is not the only option. A business can choose to transition with a SIP Trunking system that allows them to maintain much of their traditional equipment, or move to a full cloud communications platform. There is a lot of room for customization, and the benefits of moving away from traditional copper landlines are many.

  • Cost Effective
  • Scalable and Flexible
  • Simplified IT Management
  • Mobile and Remote Work Support

Enterprise-class cloud-based platforms are not just for big business anymore. NUSO offers small and medium enterprises a feature-rich, reliable, and customizable solution to support all the communications needs of any organization or business, regardless of location or size. 

Learn more about why MSPs choose NUSO for their communication offerings.

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