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Hello from SpyGlass’ Technology Audit Insider — your trusted resource for challenging the technology cost status quo with industry-leading trends, insights, and tips.

Do you rely on plain old telephone service (POTS) lines? With an estimated 40 million POTS lines in the U.S., it’s not surprising that many businesses still do. But whether you like it or not, the POTS copper-wired telecom networks are reaching retirement after almost 150 years of service.

In 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved telcos to end their service of POTS lines — especially among their business customers — if they provide an adequate alternative. With more efficient fiber-based networks and copper lines more expensive for carriers to maintain and support, the FCC has ordered POTS services to end by August 2, 2022.

But the FCC’s order is not a mandate. Instead, it allows carriers to run the telco show by deactivating and/or raising prices on existing POTS lines. You can continue to use POTS but at a steep cost, with pricing projected to be thousands of dollars more per month.

To help your transition from POTS, SpyGlass SnapShot Audit experts offer some top facts to help cross over into new telco territory and save.

POTS Fact 1: Old Telco Inflates Costs

The sunsetting of POTS lines may mean nothing in the short term. POTS will continue to support business-related applications including voice phone calls, fax machines, elevator call boxes, fire and burglar alarms, and HVAC systems. Currently, one POTS line averages $65 – $100 per month.

But it’s important to keep an eye on your carrier’s changes. Earlier this spring, AT&T announced its plan to decommission 50% of its legacy copper network by 2025, with fiber-based services to replace legacy POTS. To incentivize customers to move away from POTS, carriers are increasing rates. After August, POTS costs are set to increase, with prices estimated to increase as much as $750-$1,300 per line.

As you begin turning to POTS alternatives including 4G LTE, 5G, and VoIP, it’s easy for remaining on-prem telco service costs to run under the radar. A thorough technology expense management (TEM) audit can find the source of slow budget leaks including:

Not disconnecting legacy services after implementing new technology
Moving to a new location, with circuits/lines at the old address remaining active
Going with the telco vendor status quo due to a lack of time and connections to shop for a better deal

POTS Fact 2: New Telco Era Billing is Tricky(ier)

Transitioning to a POTS alternative solution that satisfies the FCC order and meets the demands of the digital age can be tricky. But the addition and eventual replacement of services make an already lengthy technology invoice much more complex.

Telecom invoices can be thousands of pages long, making them hard to interpret. Add in new technology requirements such as increased cloud bandwidth costs, on top of must-keep current on-prem line items and your bill becomes even lengthier and confusing.

As your business needs change with the sunsetting of POTS, it’s important to get visibility into your technology billing. Knowing what to look for takes years of experience and industry expertise — two traits SpyGlass is known for. And to keep getting answers to your billing questions after a SnapShot Audit, SpyCare™ combines cloud software, access to our experts and help desk, valuable market data, and annual optimization in a single managed service to prevent overspend in month one, instead of months or years.

POTS Fact 3: Monitor Your Current Technology

Despite advances digitization offers to overcome the POTS landscape change, poor inventory management can lead to paying more. Across the wide variety of industries SpyGlass serves, forgotten, unused services add to the bottom line.

As carriers discourage continued use of POTS by increasing pricing, not renewing contracts, ending maintenance and support, and requiring customers to move to fiber-based services, it doesn’t mean your transition will automatically eliminate on-prem legacy landlines. Losing track of your tech inventory can make it hard to keep ahead of contract terms for both on-prem and alternative technology services. A SnapShot Audit gives you the big picture of active and inactive contracts across voice, data, internet, and mobility, in addition to cloud solutions — and provides solutions to welcome a new, organized telco era.