Calling time on copper phone lines

In the late 1980s the village where this writer lives was experiencing major problems with phone calls either being cut off or dialling tones simply not being there. Eventually it was acknowledged that the phone line to the village simply was too old to cope with demand and needed replacing. In the interim a number of ‘temporary’ measures were put in place.

Over time, pressure on the phone lines was eased as more people switched to mobile; but to date the phone lines have still to be replaced. It’s looking likely that they never will be, as the drive to switch off the old copper lines and replace them with fibre to the premises continues apace.

According to Ofcom, the aim is to have upgraded all landlines to digital by the end of 2025. Whether this is feasible remains to be seen. Certainly at the end of March 2022 BT announced that it was temporarily pausing its digital voice rollout until solutions can be found for potential service disruptions caused by storms or power cuts. That need for ‘always on’ connectivity has been brought into sharp focus by the storms earlier in the year. These highlighted the potential dangers faced by customers, particularly the elderly and those in remote areas without a good mobile signal, not being able to call for help if the phone lines are out.

That being said, there are many advantages to be found from internet calling (VoIP). Certainly for businesses the cost savings which can be found from channelling calls over VoIP have helped to reduce telephony costs whilst encouraging more open communications. For example, those signed up to Callagenix IP can call other Callagenix IP telephone numbers without incurring call charges. As a result, businesses with multiple offices or home workers all of which are signed up to the Callagenix IP system can encourage their people to call each other without worrying about incurring exorbitant call charges.

Outbound call changes too can often be far more cost effective when they originate from a VoIP system. Here again this can help to encourage calling to customers or suppliers without having to factor a costly phone bill into the equation. Know your customer is paramount to good business relationships and the more you can chat, the better you are able to build up an understanding of your customers and their requirements.

One of the downsides of a reliable VoIP system used to be the need to have a fast and reliable broadband connection, something which in the past was not always available. Thanks to the rollout of fibre, more and more businesses are able to make use of VoIP systems to make high quality calls. On a note of warning, it does pay to choose your chosen VoIP system carefully. Some systems are designed to compress calls down to as low as 15Kb/s whereas business grade systems tend to look for an upload and download bandwidth of 100Kb/s; thereby helping to ensure that calls are crystal clear and stable.

Written by Alison