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Friday, December 2, 2022

Is this the end for the fax machine?

The fax machine will soon be consigned to the trash of history.

The equipment, sometimes known as a facsimile machine, was formerly a common sight in British businesses.

Now, though, Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, is soliciting feedback on proposed amendments to telecommunications regulations that might formalise its obsolescence.

Telecom operators would no longer be compelled to provide fax services under the universal service duty (USO).

Ofcom said, “We are proposing amendments to the rules.”

BT and KCOM are the current authorised telecommunications companies responsible for universal service in the United Kingdom (in the Hull area only).

In 2003, when fax machines were more widespread and fewer people used email and online message services, Ofcom established the USO.

The USO requested fax services from BT and KCOM.

Not only are alternatives to fax machines now more readily accessible, but the conversion of telephone networks to internet protocol (IP) technology means that fax services can no longer be guaranteed to function in the same manner.

Last year, the agency conducted extensive consultations on this matter: “We believed it was acceptable to withdraw fax from the USO given its low continued usage.”

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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