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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Why the Phone Keeps Working During a Power Failure

I thought I would write this one as the first storm of the season hit Florida...It might help.

A recommendation has been made to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that by 2018 it should phase out traditional phone service, known as the public switched telephone network (PSTN). HOLD ON…THAT IS JUST 5 YEARS FROM NOW!

Some of the providers of PSTN say regulations require maintenance of outdated infrastructure, hinders progress and ties up money that could be better invested in new technology. Besides, they say use is on a downward trend. Some small companies question the motivation, saying it is likely an effort to allow these companies to operate in a less-regulated Internet-based telephone environment.

While it is true that use is dropping off, many people keep traditional phones in case of emergencies. If you have to plug your phone or phone system into a power plug, you will lose service when the power goes out. How will that impact your business?

With a traditional phone the only connection is the single plug (RJ11 for POTS, Plain Old Telephone Service) that brings both power (50 VDC) and signals to your phone from a telephone switching center. The wires to your phone are unique to you, unlike the shared wires that bring the 120 VAC power to your home. More often than not the phone lines are run underground and not as susceptible to storm or accident damage as are power lines. When the power goes down the phone company provides generators for its switching operations that keep the system and your traditional phone operational. Remember, if your phone requires a separate power source, as most do today, it will not operate under these conditions. This is a case where older is better.

Cell towers also use generators to deal with power outages so long as the cell towers are operational, but the mobile devices depend on batteries that need to be recharged.

Remember that wireless works only when the power is up and the batteries in mobile devices hold on as well.

Maybe in five years the technology will move on to help with this.

What exposure does your business have to power failures? Do you have a plan to deal with this? If you are operating when your competition is not…you have a competitive advantage. But think about all those others in your supply chain. Can they stop your business? Select those that won’t.

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

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