So here we are in early 2015 and i thought we should have a discussion about the future of the PSTN and where we are going in the Thompson/Okanagan with VoIP telephone service. First a quick definition of the acronyms before we dive in.
VoIP- (voice over Internet protocol) - Method of sending voice telephone calls over an IP network usually the Internet. PSTN- (public switched telephone network)- Regular dedicated analog telephone lines like we are all used too.
VoIP is not new to Canada as the technology has been around for over a decade however the full transition away from PSTN to VoIP has certainly been a much slower process than some experts had predicted. Why? A long list of reasons from comfort with status quo to trust issues to a very real problem with inadequate networks. But make no mistake about it...VoIP is here to stay. A prime indicator of this is the fact that most major telecommunications companies are transitioning their back-haul networks over to VoIP. Offering VoIP to their end customers has proven to be more of a challenge for some of the following reasons:
Inadequate Internet or network connectivity to the end customer business location. VoIP is time sensitive network traffic and as such data transmissions between to callers need to be timely and correct. If this is not the case we end up with "Call Quality" issues that i suspect every reader has experienced at one time or another.
Customer confidence. Some business owners, typically those who are 50 or older, simply do not trust or want to deal with using an Internet connection for their phone calls. Even though there is typically cost savings associated they are not worth the hassle (in the business owners opinion). Add the this that PSTN lines have come down in cost and are more competitive with a VoIP service.
Reasons users choose PSTN lines over VoIP
So where does that leave PSTN? Good question and I suspect the answer is "slowly diminishing over time". There is still a place for good old fashioned analog telephone lines. 1- Emergency lines for building alarms, Elevator panic phones, Fire alarms 2- Rural areas of BC that are still inadequately serviced with Internet access. 3- The older generation who quite simply do not need or want any more technology in their lives.
Primary Draws of VoIP Service
So we know that technology is always changing and moving forward and we should expect that one day in the future PSTN lines will no longer be in use or supported. It only makes sense for business owners to spend recurring dollars on ONE quality Internet connection that can in turn handle Internet, Mail, Telephone, Credit Card Processing..... instead of having to pay for individual connections for individual services. In my opinion however the telecommunications companies and Internet Service Providers (ISP's) still have a little more work to do to deliver consistently good quality voice and video connections specifically in rural, non-urban areas.