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Telephone network/technology transition

What is the telephone network/technology transition?

The telephone network transition involves your traditional local telephone service provider replacing all or part of its existing copper-based network infrastructure with optical fiber, coaxial cable or a fixed wireless technology.  This new network infrastructure also may include a change to network equipment that uses Internet Protocol (IP) to transmit voice communications.

How does the telephone network transition affect telephone/voice service subscribers?

A telephone/voice subscriber is most affected when their traditional local telephone service provider replaces the part of the network that extends to the subscriber’s home with fiber. 

The Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) requires phone companies to notify customers and issue a notice 90 days before making any changes to their network.

Can a service provider change the network they use to provide my service without my consent?

Yes, your traditional local telephone service provider can replace its copper-based network without your consent. However, you should receive notification of any replacement that extends to your home.

Will I be required to upgrade my service and/or pay for features I don’t want as a result of the telephone network transition?

No, if you are an existing customer who only receives traditional telephone service, you cannot be required to subscribe to additional services, such as broadband service or television programming.

What is the difference between telephone service provided over the existing copper-based network and telephone/voice service provided over optical fiber, coaxial cable, or via fixed-wireless technology?

Telephone service provided over the existing copper-based network typically continues to work during a power outage.  However, telephone/voice service provided over optical fiber, coaxial cable, or fixed-wireless technology usually needs back up power, such as a battery, to continue operating in the event of a power outage. 

What are my residential telephone/voice service provider’s obligations?

Before making any changes to their copper network, your service provider must:

  • Inform you that phone service will not be available in the event of a power outage, unless you have back up power.
  • Offer you the option to buy a backup battery that will last for at least eight hours when the power is out.
  • Provide information to help you make an informed decision about whether to purchase backup power.
  • Tell you how to properly use backup power – including how to test, monitor, and maintain it – and tell you what would happen to your back up power under varying conditions.

What questions should I ask my traditional local telephone service provider?

 Some questions you may ask are as follows:

  • Is the company transitioning from a traditional copper network to an advanced fiber network?  If so, will fiber run all the way to my home?
  • Will this transition be to an all IP network?  If so, how will this affect my service?
  • Will my existing devices and electronic equipment such as a fax machines or home security system work with the new network?
  • Will my medical devices that rely on the telephone network, such as a heart monitor work, with the new network?

You may also want to contact the manufacturer of your medical device to confirm that your device will continue to work properly.

  • Does the company provide battery backup systems for its customers or do I need to buy one myself?  If the company provides the backup, what is the cost?

List of traditional local telephone companies:

http://www.puco.ohio.gov/puco/index.cfm/docketing/regulated-company-list/?IndId=57

Where can I find more information about the telephone network/technology transition?

The FCC’s page on Tech Transition:

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/tech-transitions-network-upgrades-may-affect-your-service

 

If you would like to know more about the PUCO or have utility-related questions or concerns, contact the PUCO at:

(800) 686-PUCO (7826)

www.PUCO.ohio.gov