Why the End of POTS Means Big Business for Fire Integrators

The End of Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is permitting carriers to turn off POTS lines in what it’s calling, “copper retirement.” Most phone companies are no longer maintaining existing powered infrastructure and are instead replacing it with VoIP and TCP/IP. An estimated 10,000 hardwire phone lines are terminated in the U.S. each day. Phone companies have probably already switched these end users to VoIP, but many end users are keeping phone lines just for the alarm system.

What This Means for Fire Integrators

This is a huge opportunity for integrators to be proactive and approach customers about replacing their phone lines with a cellular solution. In fact, if you’re not going after these opportunities, this is a threat to your business, as other integrators won’t hesitate to discuss options with your customers.

Cellular is the best option for both customers and integrators. Cellular eliminates many of the power and reliability problems that plagued POTS. Additionally, with cellular, the communications path is under the control of the integrator rather than the customer.

The customers’ phone lines are going to go out anyway, so integrators can help them stay ahead of the game by replacing POTS with cellular solutions before their phone lines cause any issues, saving the customer a ton of money in the process. By implementing a modern commercial fire cellular communication technology, your customer can cancel their phone lines, which are expensive to maintain. Better service at a lower cost is a no-brainer for end users and an easy sell for integrators.

A cellular solution provides much easier and faster communications with the control panel. It is the best available at this time, providing better protection against hacking compared to IP-based solutions. Additionally, it gives power supervision from the control panel and troubleshooting capability from your computer or smartphone. Best of all, you get more money, and your customer gets to keep more money, since they’re paying you a fraction of what they used to give the phone company.

A Cost-Saving Solution

Napco’s StarLink fire commercial fire alarm communicators replace POTS lines quickly and easily. The communicators are Verizon-based (soon-to-be AT&T LTE service as well) and work on any FACP, 12V/24V. They are more reliable than POTS, reporting on North America’s most cyber-secure, wireless networks to Napco’s UL-listed network operations center. Additionally, they comply with NFPA 72 Code and UL standards. Napco also offers dual-path communicators that use cellular and IP communications for jurisdictions where this is required. To ensure a seamless implementation, Napco provides step-by-step instructions to guide the integrator through all the tests required by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).

Since this solution allows end users to terminate their phone lines, they cut costs that would typically be paid to the phone company.

Savings breakdown:

Cost to maintain two copper POTS lines for one fire panel ~$150/month = $1,800/year

Cost of one StarLink communicator ~$60/month = $720/year

Annual savings = $1,080

What customer would say no to a better, more reliable system at a lower cost? And these savings are per fire panel; many organizations have multiple locations, meaning potential savings in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

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