“MP’s will lose their landlines …”.

“MP’s will lose their landlines as national copper shortage means suppliers can only offer Skype”.

This was a headline article in the Telegraph printed on July 7th – illustrating just how much is NOT known about modern Voice over IP [VoIP] phone systems. I felt that this article was bereft of accuracy – I had to comment …

The article tells us that “the traditional copper-wire telephone network is to be phased out of Parliament entirely …” The first thing to note is that VoIP phone systems use cat.5e and cat.6 copper networking cabling – just like computers do. 305 Metre boxes of cat.5e cable are still readily available and priced similar to what they were 12 months ago [what copper shortage?]. For many years now, businesses have been cabling cat.5e outlets for both computers & telephones and using adaptors where the phone-set has the old-style BT plug on it. So – despite what we are told, the death of copper cabling is not yet on the horizon.

“MP’s and peers will use the Skype internet telephony service …” That’s interesting! Skype has grown as a peer-to-peer communications tool, using PC’s to switch calls between parties across the world wide web and due to several key service outages, has had to grow up from the original peer-to-peer model, into the full client-Server system it ‘so didn’t want to be‘ when it was conceived. How long should we wait for the first news of security breaches when somebody intercepts a Government call at their PC?  The article goes on to tell us that “officials believe the new system will provide ‘equivalent’ levels of protection against eavesdropping …”   There are many ‘secure’ Phone systems available that are capable of encrypting VoIP calls – but that’s not the normal mode for Skype! These VoIP systems are also designed to provide call flow management so that incoming calls can go to departments rather than trying to find individuals – as well as providing a full suite of audio and video-conferencing as promised by Skype. If there was ever a case for having a secure on-premises phone system solution rather than putting every private ‘internal’ call across the Internet – then you’d think that this would be it!

Hosted Skype extensions for the Government – What are they thinking?

“BT is planning to phase out its traditional telephone network across the country by 2025 – replacing the system with VoIP which uses fibre optic cables”. BT’s core switching services may go VoIP by 2025 and be on fibre-optic back-bones, but there will be a lot of copper lines out there delivering broadband services to both homes and businesses. It’s been difficult enough getting to deployment targets for high-speed broadband – so – is getting fibre to every home & business by 2025 a reality?  Your broadband service [on a local copper line] is going to remain a very cost-effective replacement for your ISDN and analogue phone services for a long time past 2025!

“There had been a failed procurement with no bids received for supporting a copper-wire system, showing that there was no longer any alternative to a VOIP system.” This is also interesting – We sell a lot of VoIP phone-sets and currently, a VoIP phone with a fibre-optic interface is pretty rare! [and if you can find one, it will be very expensive!].  The phones we use will typically have two RJ45 data sockets on the back, to allow connection into computer network using ‘copper’ cat.5e or cat.6 patch-cabling. The phones have two connections so that if you only have one network data socket at your desk, you can cable this to the phone, and then from the phone to the PC – and that will provide ‘copper’ access for both network devices.

In summary, VoIP systems do use network cabling based on copper wire pairs. VoIP systems currently use ‘gateways’ to interface analogue and ISDN telephone lines, as well as connecting VoIP SIP Trunk services – so it is possible to use your current lines and numbers along-side additional SIP Trunk capacity to take advantage of lower ‘line/channel’ costs and cheaper call tariffs. Those legacy line interfaces can be phased out between now and 2025 – and replaced with SIP Trunk channels without requiring any phone system or handset replacement. You can also ‘port’ your numbers from the analogue and ISDN lines to SIP Trunk services without disruption. A VoIP phone system is not a radical system change that you are forced into, it’s a natural technological progression integrating with new and existing services, on existing network cabling & hardware.

About the only thing the Telegraph gets right, is that VoIP is now the standard for telephone systems.

Give Foxhall Solutions a call at – 01787 320402 – if you’d like to get the full story about a future phone system for your business.

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