POTS replacement: A guide to upgrading or replacing your plain old telephone service line with wireless technology

Author: Rose de Fremery

Date published: April 25, 2024

Once considered the standard for telecommunications, traditional analog phone lines are being phased out. In 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued Order 20-152, which calls for modernizing the country's telecommunications infrastructure and recognizes the need to replace aging phone lines with modern digital communication services. Telecommunications providers are no longer required to sell or maintain these older phone lines, which have become increasingly costly to administer in recent years. As a result, businesses and public sector organizations may soon need to upgrade or replace their POTS lines. Here's a guide to POTS replacement, what it involves and how to navigate this mission-critical transition with minimal disruption.

What does POTS mean?

Plain old telephone service line (POTS) is the original analog phone line system originally used to make and receive phone calls. Accordingly, businesses traditionally relied on POTS lines to communicate with customers and business partners over the phone. These analog phone lines are falling out of use in the era of digital transformation, as many businesses and organizations have switched to unified communications systems that use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology to facilitate voice calls, video calls, messaging and more.

Even businesses that have long since transitioned to digital telephony may still be dependent on POTS lines without realizing it. POTS lines support several other key business technologies such as fax machines, private branch exchange (PBX) phone systems, meter readers and some credit card processors. Analog phone lines also can play an important role in safety and emergency response. They can be found in critical life and safety systems, elevator emergency phones, security and fire alarms, and blue-light call boxes.

Now that the FCC has announced it is time to transition away from legacy POTS lines, businesses and organizations should upgrade or replace them. The process can be a more complicated undertaking than it first appears, largely because analog phone lines provide critical connectivity for phone calls as well as other essential business technologies and safety-related services. Moreover, each business may have its own unique requirements. What works perfectly for a small business might not be ideal for an enterprise or a public sector organization, for example.

Verizon POTS replacement solutions

Verizon has a flexible range of wireless POTS replacement solutions to suit any organization, whether it's a coffee shop, large retailer or hospital. POTS Simple Voice offers Business Phone Connect which is an easy-to-use wireless device (analog phone adapter) for phones, fax machines, credit card readers and more, while a POTS Feature Rich Phone System like One Talk delivers advanced communications features that today's busy office professionals depend on to be productive. Meanwhile, POTS Life & Safety solutions can help make sure that essential services like security alarms, fire alarms and elevator phone lines keep working normally. Here's a look at how a few different kinds of organizations—a small business, an enterprise and a school district—might use these POTS replacement solutions to keep their critical communications intact.

Small business wireless POTS replacement

Take a local boutique as an example. In addition to sourcing fashionable clothes and accessories its customers find appealing, it also needs reliable business communications to thrive. A small business like this one might have two POTS phone lines: one for answering customer calls and another for a fax machine. The boutique might also have a POTS phone line that is connected to a security alarm. For internet service, this shop might have a 25 Mbps broadband internet solution in place.

Given the need to replace aging infrastructure, this boutique may soon be looking for a viable phone line replacement if it hasn't done so already. It could take advantage of a Simple Voice solution such as Verizon's Business Phone Connect, an easy-to-use wireless device featuring an analog telephone adapter. This device could connect to the shop's phone, fax machine and alarm, providing a reliable POTS replacement with minimal disruption. Should it choose, the boutique could also upgrade to an LTE Business Internet solution that supports all of those devices and provides ample opportunity for future growth.

Enterprise POTS replacement

An enterprise with multiple offices likely has substantially different requirements from a small clothing boutique. For example, a company that manufactures travel accessories might have dozens of office buildings, each of which could have as many as 25 feature-rich phone lines to support daily business communications. It might also have five alarm lines and six elevator phones to ensure proper safety and security. Each location could have a 100 Mbps internet connection supporting the company's digital connectivity needs.

In this case, too, it is essential to have a viable POTS replacement for each of the phone lines that are currently in use. Yet, because the business relies on feature-rich phone lines, a standard phone line replacement may not be sufficient. This company could benefit from a POTS Feature Rich Phone System solution such as Verizon's One Talk phone system, which offers a device and feature-rich replacement solution to support how busy office professionals work today.

Then, there are the alarm lines and elevator phones. A POTS Life & Safety offering such as those provided by Verizon partners CSG and MarketSpark can address their unique requirements, making it easy to convert these essential systems from analog POTS lines to digital and wireless technology. Lastly, an LTE or 5G Business Internet plan could enable all of these devices and systems while providing ample connectivity to support the company's overall business goals.

Public sector POTS replacement

Public Sector organizations have their own unique needs when it comes to phone line replacement. A courthouse complex that might include multiple buildings that rely on 50 feature-rich phone lines and 40 fax lines for daily communications. It might also rely on multiple alarm lines and several elevator lines to keep the occupants safe. For overall internet connectivity, it might have a robust 100 Mbps internet connection.

A comprehensive POTS replacement solution using wireless technology is necessary to keep all of these systems and services running smoothly. Verizon's One Talk phone system could provide the feature-rich phone capabilities that the organization requires, while a POTS Life & Safety offering like Verizon partners CSG or MarketSpark solutions could handle the fax, alarm and elevator lines. A dedicated wireless business internet solution from Verizon, such as 5G Business Internet, could provide all the necessary connectivity while leaving plenty of capacity to support other critical applications and uses.

Why Verizon

When looking for a POTS replacement solution, it is essential to find the right provider. Not only is it critical to have reliable service from a partner with deep expertise in telecommunications and network connectivity, but it's also important to work with a provider that understands and can meet your unique business requirements. Verizon has flexible and reliable wireless POTS replacement solutions that can keep your business or organization connected nationwide, whether it's a local coffee shop, a hospital, a local municipal building or a large firm with multiple offices located across the country. These solutions allow you to manage, implement and support your mission-critical telephone service using a network you can trust.

Next steps

The time to begin your wireless POTS replacement journey is now. Talk to a Verizon representative to find out which phone line replacement solutions can help your business or organization transition from a plain old telephone service line to a modern digital infrastructure.

Learn how Verizon's Business Internet solutions deliver fast, affordable and reliable connectivity virtually anywhere you do business.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.