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Copper Phone Line Price Increases and How to Avoid them with POPP Business VoIP Line Service

Clients Ask:

In 2019, the Federal Communications Commission issued an order that allows regulations set back in 1996 to expire, giving Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers like CenturyLink/Lumen freedom from price controls and wholesale requirements.

The orders mean that following the deregulation, these incumbent providers can increase the cost of services provided on older copper wires and, eventually, retire those legacy technologies as next-generation solutions become available. As a result, Competitive Local Exchange Carriers like POPP will have to pass on those recurring costs to their customers as the incumbent carriers phase out old copper-based services.

Fortunately, there are modern, reliable alternatives to legacy phone technologies that don’t rely on old copper wiring while still providing all of the services businesses need to stay connected. Through a variety of Voice over IP (VoIP) and cloud-based solutions, your business can build a stronger foundation for long-term growth, sometimes at a fraction of the cost of legacy technologies.

POPP is a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC), meaning we lease copper lines from Lumen, provide the dial tone on your phone lines, and complete your calls. We’re also the company you call when you need to make changes, or need service. Lumen as the Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) is the company that owns all of the copper lines (aka copper loops) that are in the ground and on the telephone poles. In order to get your service from POPP’s datacenter to your building, POPP leases a copper loop (a pair of copper wires) from Lumen. Lumen is also the only company that can maintain and repair these copper loops when repairs are necessary.

As a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier, POPP has leased copper lines at wholesale prices from our provider, CenturyLink/Lumen, and then passed the savings onto our clients. Clients with copper lines from POPP have saved up to 40% over what they would have paid by getting the line directly through CenturyLink/Lumen. Since our beginning in 1981, our goal has always been to help our small and medium sized business clients here in the Twin Cities save money on high quality business communications services.

A phone line purchased directly from Lumen is currently about $50/month. However, with no price regulation from the FCC, Lumen is free to adjust those prices as they see fit. Costs for the copper loops that POPP leases are expected to continue to rise, and POPP’s prices will have to rise accordingly. There is currently no published schedule for when, how much, or how often rates will increase.

Copper phone lines are known by many names, including:

  • Business Phone Lines
  • Central Office Lines or COLs
  • Plain Old Telephone Service lines or POTS lines
  • Land Lines
  • Analog Lines
  • Voice Lines
  • Fax Lines
  • Alarm Lines
  • and more.

Old copper phone lines deliver dial tone to alert callers or devices that it’s ready/OK to dial your destination telephone number.

The FCC has only lifted the regulations affecting the pricing that ILECs like CenturyLink/Lumen must provide copper lines at, which has resulted in CenturyLink/Lumen raising the rates for POPP to lease those copper lines for our clients. The FCC has not specified that copper lines must be disconnected by any certain date.

At this time, the FCC has not mandated the retirement of copper-based phone lines.

No. Due to the FCC’s deregulation of CenturyLink/Lumen, Lumen will no longer allow POPP to lease any new copper lines, therefore we are unable to provision any additional copper phone lines for your business. If you require additional lines, we can supply them using our POPP Business VoIP line service, which will save you money over traditional copper lines while providing the same features.

At this time, only the lines we’ve notified you about are affected by these price increases. However, we’ve been notified by our supplier, CenturyLink/Lumen, to expect price increases on any services delivered by copper loops. Examples of other services that use copper loops are DSL, T1, and Ethernet over Copper.

You can upgrade your old copper services to a next-generation Voice over IP solution. POPP has two different solutions that work to replace your Central Office Lines by putting you voice services over the top of your existing internet services.

A) POPP Business VoIP Lines: VoIP lines are a direct replacement for most Central Office Lines. POPP installs equipment at your site that provides the voice lines over the top of your internet connection. These lines work just like your current lines. If you have an existing on-premise PBX that needs a PRI or SIP trunk, this product can also provide you with and has the same features as those services.

NOTE: VoIP lines are not suitable for fire alarm panels because VoIP lines do not work if the building loses power. Fire alarm panels must remain connected to Central Office Lines or be converted to a wireless solution with battery backup provided by the fire alarm monitoring company.

B) POPP Hosted Microsoft VoIP Phone System: This is a fully-featured, fully-managed cloud phone system with the ability for employees to work from anywhere. It is built by Microsoft and integrates with the Microsoft Office suite you most likely already use in your business, This system utilizes your internet connection and replaces both your existing phone system and your current voice connections (POTS/Central Office Lines, PRI, SIP Trunks, etc.)

These solutions can provide you with similar and next-generation communication capabilities and may save you money vs. the increasing cost of copper connections.

To schedule a free consultation to upgrade to next-generation VoIP lines or the POPP Hosted Microsoft VoIP Phone System, please fill out the form below.

A POPP Business VoIP line is a service that POPP offers as a suitable replacement for many copper lines, which will help to avoid cost increases affecting copper lines. Voice over IP, or VoIP, is voice traffic that is converted into data packets and delivered to you over the top of your internet connection. POPP Business VoIP Lines offer the same features as your old copper lines, but are not subject to the price increases that are affecting copper lines due to the FCC deregulation of CenturyLink/Lumen.

Fire code does not permit fire alarm lines to be moved to VoIP service, because VoIP Lines work over the top of an internet connection and therefore will not function during a power or internet outage. Fire alarm panels must remain connected to POTS/Central Office Lines, or you may contact your fire alarm monitoring company and inquire about specialty cellular solutions with integrated battery backup that are approved for use with fire alarm panels.

Maybe. Elevator code specifies that elevator call box lines may only be moved to VoIP if there is a building generator and/or battery backup in place to provide standby power to all phone and internet equipment on site necessary to keep the elevator line functional for at least 4 hours. Clients who elect to move elevator lines to VoIP are solely responsible for the installation, maintenance, and sizing/performance of standby power systems.


Yes, so long as it is not critical that the line functions during a power/internet outage. If you need the line to function during a power outage you will need a battery backup system. Examples of device lines include fax lines, gas meter lines, credit card lines, and door entry lines.


Orders will be processed on a first come, first served basis. Once your order is submitted, you will be contacted by your POPP Order Processing Specialist to schedule your conversion. Depending on order volume, this may be as little as a few weeks or a few months. A POPP technician will be dispatched to your site to install the VoIP equipment, perform the conversion, and test. The downtime should only be a minute or two per line.  Lines converted to POPP Business VoIP Lines will be billed at the lower Business VoIP Line rate, and will not be subject to the price increases affecting copper lines due to the FCC deregulation of CenturyLink/Lumen.

Links to Google Searches to Learn More:

What is the average cost of POTS lines?

Why are old copper networks being deregulated?

What is FCC order 19-72a1?

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