Taking Advantage of Great Phone Features

What To Do When Your Phone Company Eliminates POTS

The more phone companies decide to stop maintaining the wiring associated with traditional landline services, known as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), the greater the risk that one day your phone line might be the next one in line for a change. Phone companies aren't getting rid of landlines as a whole, but they are switching over to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which sends voice data in a different manner than POTS lines do. If you have a security alarm that relies on your landline, then you need to know what to do should your POTS go poof.

Find Out VoIP Requirements

It is possible to have your alarm system work with VoIP, as long as your VoIP service can translate and recognize the alarm system data. Traditional home alarm systems send data to the monitoring center over the POTS line just as if it were regular sound. However, VoIP lines are essentially broadband lines, and any sound that goes through them is treated like broadband data and not sound. Some VoIP systems are able to appropriately translate the sound from an alarm system into data, while others are not. So you have to check with your phone company to see if alarm company monitoring signals are recognized properly by the company's VoIP system. Unfortunately, there's no way for you to know this yourself unless you ask the company.

Is a Cellular Plan Available?

Another option is to switch your home alarm system notifications from landline to cell phone. It's become very common for alarm companies to hook up everything to a cell phone number. Given the steady move away from landlines to cell phones, it was a necessary survival tactic, and one that's of great benefit to you. Contact your alarm provider and see if they can switch your current system to a cell-phone-linked version.

Can You Switch Landline Providers?

As a last resort, you could see if you could switch landline providers. When a phone company stops offering POTS and starts using VoIP, it doesn't remove the phone jack—it just sends the VoIP signal through your home's cable connection. So if you switch to another phone company that still uses POTS, you'd keep everything connected to the phone jack. Of course, this option may become less viable as time goes on and more companies switch over to VoIP.

If your phone company announces it's moving away from POTS, don't assume your alarm system is going to be useless. Talk to your alarm provider about the VoIP and cellular options. Chances are you're not the first customer to encounter this switch, and the alarm company will know what to do.

For more information, talk to companies like ASI.