Saturday, July 20, 2013

Copper Phone Lines – End of the Road or Just the Beginning?

As the Bell companies continue to migrate their service focus away from their legacy copper networks, pushing new technologies like FIOS, Ethernet, fiber, satellite, and wireless, are businesses witnessing the end of an era?

Copper lines are in every neighborhood
Copper phone lines have been around since the invention of the telephone in the late 1800’s.  Alexander Graham Bell is credited with designing the first electromagnetic  telephone in 1876.  Copper lines have been in use ever since.  The number of copper lines in the United States peaked at 186 million in 2000.  Since then, more than 100 million lines have been replaced with newer technologies.

Today, the legacy copper network is expensive for the incumbent local carriers to maintain, and they continue to move resources out of the copper network and into the new transport methods.  The copper wire gets wet during storms and corrodes, causing outages and requiring constant repairs.  But what happens to us, the consumer, who has relied on “copper” to form the backbone of our national communications networks for the last 130 years?

Manholes can be a disaster for a repair tech
The decision by the bell companies to reduce their support structure for their legacy networks has opened a door of opportunity for a few wholesalers to enter the market and offer consolidated billing services, discounted rates, and an exceptional customer experience.  While it’s common to hit an IVR platform, and be placed in a call queue for up to 20 minutes when calling your local phone companies, using a wholesaler can deliver calls answered by a live person, within as little as 8 seconds, 24x7x365.

Another benefit delivered by these wholesale providers is the ability to consolidate billing across traditional company boundaries.  If you own a 
multi-location business, and have offices in Verizon territory in the northeast, locations in AT&T’s footprint in the south, and others in Centurylink’s territory in the northwest,  you now have the capability to combine all these locations on to a single invoice, with a single point of contact for all your moves, adds, changes, new installs, billing questions, etc.  The service comes with an online web portal, providing your business with unmatched visibility to your services, circuit inventories, repair tickets, adds, changes, and installs.

As the wholesalers work through agreements with the various bell operating companies, switching your services to one of their platforms is as simple as signing a “Letter of Authorization” or “LOA”, and having an electronic transfer occur.  The lines physically remain on the Bell network, with only the customer service and billing functions being moved.

The best part of all is because of the massive buying volumes the wholesalers bring to the market, among all these benefits comes the best one of all, a reduction in price of up to 30% off tariffed rates.

If you are interested in learning how to take advantage of a wholesale arrangement for your business, please reach out to me @davehanron on Twitter or email me at and I’ll be happy to assist you.


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