We have just received our first inbound VoIP call. Our first call to our home that did not arrive by means of the copper wires that are strung from the pole on the street to the corner of our house. These wires only serve the pigeons and other wild birds who perch on them and leave their mark on my car. And our first call on our 21st century connection was about bingo at the village hall!
It's been a very long time coming. Aside from a 2 year sojourn overseas, I have lived in houses with BT (or GPO) voice lines provided over a twisted pair copper wire for 50 years. Today is the first day of our post-BT copper life. Our house (and my business) has been switched over to a voice over IP (VoIP) service delivered via our fibre broadband. The copper to fibre broadband switch took place over a year ago but I hung on the BT voice line for no rational reason.
Ironically it was a letter from BT that prompted the switch. A new OFCOM regulation compels BT to offer a lower cost line rental deal to households without broadband and their letter explained this. I imagine the reason I got this letter is that they knew that I was no longer getting a broadband service over their Openreach network, which is used by many broadband service providers as well as BT themselves. But I had fibre broadband delivered across another physical network so I was ineligible for this offer. So I started to look at the options and settled on a VoIP service from Vonage. For less than the £18 per month line rental I could have unlimited calls to UK fixed and mobiles.
So here I am sitting in my post BT, post copper world. My old number has been ported to the VoIP service and we have received our first call. I worked in the telecoms industry for the first 20 odd years of my career and much of the work I did was related to providing voice telephony equipment to BT or its UK competitors. Back in the 1990s all the talk was of VoIP but it's has taken 20 years for it to arrive in my house. I don't feel particularly sad or emotional but I think it is right that I should at least mark the day of the end of my relationship with copper delivered voice.