I have to talk about the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) sunset again. In the last few weeks I have dealt with a serious POTS/VOIP issue.

Telephone communication is going totally to Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) in the near future. The fact is, AT&T offers Uverse. This is VOIP telephone service, television and internet. COX Cable offers VOIP telephone services but they don’t call it that.

A huge number of homeowners and renters don’t have a phone in the home anymore.  They have a cell phone and they are happy with that. It is this reduction of telephone subscribers that is killing POTS. It is expensive to maintain the POTS network with fewer and fewer subscribers. It only makes sense that it will come to an end.

On June 5 I got a call from a member in Montana regarding problems with one of his alarm monitoring toll free numbers. I opened a service ticket with our long distance provider regarding the issue. They tested the circuit and found no problems.

I make contact with our provider, sometimes multiple times each day in an effort to find a resolution to the problem. It appeared to me that VOIP was involved and probably the problem. I was constantly told this was not the problem.

Finally on June 15 I joined a conference call between our provider, Verizon, myself and our member in Montana. Our member was at a customer location and able to send test signals. Both our provider and Verizon monitored the test calls and reported that their equipment showed the call to be high quality. I reported that we didn’t get the signal at the central station so their information was not correct.

I again voiced my thoughts regarding VOIP being a problem. The Verizon rep stated the trunk between our provider and Verizon was a SIP trunk. A SIP trunk is basically a VOIP connection between two PBX’s. I ask when the SIP trunk service began. It was reported to have begun on June 3, the day our problems began.

We were able to get our provider to request our toll free numbers be moved off the SIP trunk and this happened on June 16. Problem solved, but it took almost two weeks.  Our member in Montana replied that he talked to the telephone providers in Montana and was told the POTS would not end in the near future in Montana. This however didn’t stop someone in the line from installing a VOIP connection that destroyed alarm communication.

The problem is only going to get worse. You have to take steps now to get you alarm systems off POTS. There are several options including cellular radios, IP monitoring and the AES radio system. Even if everything looks good today this can all change overnight.