Plain Old Telephone Service

What Does Plain Old Telephone Service Mean?

Plain old telephone service (POTS) is an analog telephone service implemented over copper twisted pair wires and based on the Bell Telephone system. This system connects homes and businesses to neighborhood central offices. A central office is ultimately connected to other offices and a long distance facility.


Due to its reliability, POTS is used more widely than any other telephony system.

Techopedia Explains Plain Old Telephone Service

Plain old telephone service is a voice grade telephone service. It continues to be the basic form of home and small business service connection to telephone networks around the globe. POTS includes bidirectional or full duplex voice band paths with frequencies limited to 300 to 3400 hertz (cycles per second). POTS also includes call progress tones such as dial tones and ringing signals, subscriber dialing, operator services such as directory assistance and long distance calling, and a standards compliant analog telephone interface.

The computerization of telephone exchanges in the ’70s and ’80s made features such as voice mail, call waiting, caller ID, enhanced 911, Centrex and speed dialing available to subscribers. The extensive availability of POTS allowed new forms of communication devices, such as modems and facsimile machines, to use POTS for digital information transmission.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…