VoIP vs Landline (POTS)


Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), most commonly referred to as a landline, is the traditional telephone service every business is familiar with.

Telecom carries have long held oligopolies on business telecommunications services but the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the first major overhaul of the US telecommunications law in 60+ years, broke up Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), introduced Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs), and included the "Internet" for the first time with the goal of regulating its broadcast communication capabilities.

The 1996 Telecom Act required incumbent carriers to interconnect networks with new entrants to the market. Prior to the legislation, incumbent carrier could use their dominant positions to freely restrict competitiveness by denying network interconnections, setting absurd terms and conditions, or rates designed to undermine new competitors.

The introduction of CLECs opened up local, regional and national markets by providing a "pro-competitive, de-regulatory national policy framework designed to accelerate rapidly private sector deployment of advanced information technologies".

With the acceleration of competition, innovators aggressively developed Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which finally offered an affordable alternative to traditional landline service.

Landlines for Business

Most businesses rely on landlines for telecommunications services. Landlines have long been proven to be one of the most reliable and secure methodologies of communicating. Several factors make landlines a critical component for a company's or organization's normal business operations.

A business's security concerns and contingency planning for fault-tolerant networks requires one or more landlines due of the following:

  • Business Continuity - it is well known that VoIP services do not function at all without both power and an internet connection. In the event of either power failures or internet connectivity outages businesses can rely on landlines to deliver both internet connectivity and voice service; carriers often cite an uptime of 99.999% of the time the telephone is taken off-hook.
  • Emergency Services - 911 is available on all landlines whereas e911 service via VoIP systems will not work without both power and an internet connection.  For this reason, alarm companies require the use of landlines for their security monitoring systems.
  • Quality of Voice Service - due to the wide distribution and availability of landlines, analog voice service retains a very high quality of service.

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