What is POTS?

Many people with phones in their homes have a type of telephone service called Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). POTS is often referred to as landline or traditional phone services because it was the first telephone service used for households. The specific POTS definition is a voice-grade telephone line offered on a publicly switched telephone network (PSTN). POTS is different from VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), which is a digital telephone service that transmits voice calls over the internet. Below is everything you need to know about POTS lines and major changes by the FCC.


POTS is different from VoIP because it requires an analog telephone line that is connected directly to a public switched telephone network (PSTN). This means the telephone service is routed through physical phone lines and not over the internet. POTS also uses copper-wire technology, which allows for a consistent connection with minimal interference or latency.

POTS is Used By Many

An estimated 100 million people still have POTS landlines in their homes due to its reliability, cost, and features. POTS lines are traditional copper wire-based phone lines that offer voice communication to businesses and households. POTS is great for businesses because of its reliability and features, while consumers often choose it due to cost savings or the lack of availability of other options.

Modern Uses of POTS

Although POTS has existed for more than a century, the technology is still used today in many households and businesses. It is most commonly used to make voice calls, but it can also be used for other purposes such as alarm systems, fax machines, and modems. In addition, some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) use POTS lines to provide dial-up internet services.

Legacy Devices

You might hear the term “legacy devices” when reading about POTS. Legacy devices are telephones and other pieces of equipment that use traditional copper-wire technology to communicate with a public switched telephone network (PSTN). Examples of legacy devices include corded phones, fax machines, modems, and alarm systems.

The FCC Making Changes to POTS

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made several changes to how telephone companies offer POTS services in recent years. While POTS is a great tool for businesses, it often falls short when compared to modern broadband services. To address this issue, the FCC has made rules that require phone companies to offer high-quality service and make POTS available in areas where other services are not yet available. The FCC also has a number of programs designed to help low-income households get access to POTS lines. The FCC requires any changes to legacy lines be accessible, ADA-compliant, and affordable for all consumers.

The Bottom Line

With the FCC making changes to POTS lines, technology is still a relevant and important tool for businesses and households. POTS offers reliable voice communication with minimal interference or latency, cost savings over other services, and features such as alarm systems, fax machines, and modems. However, for more modern services such as broadband, consumers should look into other options that are available in their area. By understanding the ins and outs of POTS lines and staying up to date with FCC changes, you can make an informed decision when choosing a telephone service for your home or business.

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