Why Providers are Cancelling Copper Lines

What is POTS & Copper Phone Lines?

POTS originally stands for the Post Office Telephone Service. POTS dates back from when we relied on telephone operators to connect callers to their destinations. When the service moved away from the post office and operators, the term was changed to Plain Old Telephone Service.

Although the name changed, the same copper lines were in place and in use. What telephone companies did was begin expanding the underground copper line networks, adding thousands of miles to their service area.

Learn more about what POTS is here.

Why is Your Provider Cancelling Copper Lines?

It may seem illogical, and even unfair, that in-use lines are being terminated and canceled. If it is not yet service disruption you are getting, then it is getting costly plans to upgrade and change the way you work by companies with unreliable solutions. But Why?

The first thing to keep in mind, some copper lines have in-use and repaired since the 1950’s and was popular before then all the way back when telecommunication was making its debut against pen and paper.

Why providers are terminating copper lines:

  1. Maintenance.

The time, cost and materials to continue repairing copper phone lines just aren’t worth the outdated technology anymore. Copper lines are buried 18-32 inches below the surface which takes time and manpower to even get to the lines needing repair. The placement also means they are more likely to be damaged.

  1. Demand.

Despite the majority of small managed businesses operating with 10 or less employees still on copper phone lines and systems only meant for those lines, the demand isn’t great enough for telecommunication providers. The rise of Fiber Optic is cheaper and carries more than just phone lines.

  1. Bandwidth Concerns.

Bandwidth concerns are also a factor. Copper lines are greatly limited when compared to fiber optic cables. Copper lines run off electricity compared to the light fiber optic uses – copper running an average of just 10 gigabits per second, fiber optic at a staggering 100 gigabits per second.

How does This Affect You?

It may not if you already on fiber optic cables, otherwise it is a matter of time.

Factors that may increase your likelihood of using copper lines or outdated equipment:

  1. Your building was built before 2001. You may still have copper lines used inside your building, or leading to your building, however the older your building is the greater the odds you are running off copper.
  2. The further out of the metroplex you are. Most providers have been quickly switching to fiber optic since 2021 in higher demand areas.
  3. You haven’t upgraded your phone system since 2010. As fiber optic became popularized, equipment became operable by both it and copper, if not only fiber optic. You will want to make sure your phone system will not become inoperable after making the cabling change.


Business operators should plan for upgrading their internal wiring, and have their phone system verified to be operable with their new cabling. The crucial thing to keep in mind during this time is the future. What cabling will you need today, and in the years to come? Will your phone system keep up with your business growth, or need another upgrade 2 years down the line?

What Next Steps Should You Take?

Now what? How do you know if you need to take action, and if so, what is that action?

If you have received a letter or notice from your provider, the time to act is already here for you. Otherwise, we recommend having an expert survey your business to verify your current cabling and if you need any changes for the near future.

Options are your next priority if you are moving away from copper lines and equipment. There are fiber optic VOIP solutions you can go with, just as there are premise based phone systems that run off fiber optic cabling. How do you know the right phone system for you? Create a checklist of the features you need your phone system to do, and talk with experts to keep your business ahead.