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Nothing’s Easy: Decommissioning Challenges for The sunsetting of P.O.T.S.

As we have written over the past few months, some telecom carriers have announced that over the course of the second half of 2022 they will begin to decommission POTS service. However, not to be missed in that announcement is the fact that along with the end of POTS is the demise of all other copper-based services, including legacy services such as PRIs, trunks, DIA (dedicated internet access), and copper-based DSL. The carriers’ internal strategy was to leave it up to their account teams to notify their customers. That strategy does not bode well for customers who must now pick up the pieces and act quickly to transition away without loss of service continuity.

But all is not lost. Solid planning that includes a MACD roadmap is a good way to start moving forward. IT teams along with their TEM partners must have a good understanding of what services are currently being used, what the actual user needs are, and a step-by-step plan to migrate to new platforms. There is no lack of service options for the transition, but it’s imperative that you spend some time to find the best fit for your company. We have helped many of our customers transition to services like broadband, POTs-in-a-Box, wireless data, SIP trunks, and other IP services. If you don’t already have a TEM partner helping you, it’s time to find one—quickly! You don’t want to be doing this yourself; it’s complicated.

Pulling an inventory of the sunsetting, copper-based services, and being clear about what your company doesn’t really need anymore is vital to the planning and successful transition to a digital world. For example, Low-bandwidth data services are available that run over the copper network such as DSL, 56kbps, ISDN-BRI, and legacy PBXs. There are still a lot of legacy PBXs that can work to support SIP trunks that support a PRI, analog, or SIP handoff. Customers can get the benefit of fiber services without having to “lift and shift” their telephony equipment.

Another very good approach is fixed mobile wireless. This is where a carrier puts a radio or microwave antenna on the customer building and points it to one of the carrier locations, creating a point-to-point connection. The carrier location is fiber equipped and connected to the carrier's data center.

Also to be considered is mobile broadband. In this case, the carrier will provide a cellular router and a data plan. The cellular router can be connected to the customer's local area network like a regular data circuit. The fixed-mobile wireless and mobile broadband are quick and easy to deploy, so they may serve as a solid alternative to your current environment.

What comes next? IT managers along with the help from TEM partners must identify what copper-based services they have in their infrastructure. Second, validate that these services are necessary for the IT environment and pull reports from carrier portals. Then, talk with your telecom account teams for assistance in finding these end-of-life situations. Create a migration plan to meet the challenges of the sunsetting of services. Yes, it’s complicated and potentially disruptive, but with some planning, help from your TEM vendor, and the support (forced or otherwise) from your carriers you’ll make a smooth transition to the future.