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Should Customers Be Aware of the Switch to VoIP?

by Bhagwad Park

posted in Communications

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Slowly but surely, VoIP is replacing the aging copper line networks that humans have relied on for decades. In large parts of the developed world, consumers and businesses no longer use the plain old telephone system. While individual households are interested in reducing their monthly phone bills, enterprises switch to VoIP in order to take advantage of the advanced business class features.
Nevertheless no country has completely phased out copper line networks yet which means that only a portion of the population is on VoIP while others continue to use the more traditional landlines. For the most part, phone carriers are more likely to have switched densely populated urban areas over to VoIP since it is more expensive to lay down new cables in remote and rural areas.
However the transition to VoIP is not always smooth for everyone and there are still issues with VoIP that need to be resolved, even if they only affect a small portion of consumers. Quite a few industry professionals argue that consumers need not know if they are using VoIP or copper lines as long as they get service. In reality, most consumers are not aware of the switch since they don't face any issues with the new VoIP service.
VoIP problems
The necessity of having power for phones to function and poor integrating with 911 services are two of the biggest issues for operators phasing out copper lines and switching to VoIP. Both of these may not actually be problems for many people - especially those who have multiple devices and uninterrupted power connections.
Unfortunately the same circumstances do not prevail all over the country. People living on farms, rural or mountainous areas may have only one landline with access to 911. The power may be knocked out due to storms or other natural disasters. Such situations can adversely affect rural populations, elderly citizens and small children.
Perhaps this is why the FCC has mandated several new rules for phone carriers that include full disclosure about the impending transition to VoIP in any area. Operators also have to provide equivalent service with similar terms and conditions to ensure that no one loses access to critical emergency services because of exorbitant prices or intermittent power supply. While there may be no need for most people to be aware of the switch to VoIP on the part of phone operators, it can be vital information to certain consumers.
About the Author: Bhagwad is an expert consultant on business VoIP.
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