FAX Services set to become nearly obsolete thanks to proposed Ofcom rule changes

The UK’s communications regulator Ofcom has announced changes to telecoms rules, meaning that there may not longer be an obligation for telecoms firms to provide FAX services to their customers.

Previously, there was a requirement for telecoms operators to provide FAX (formally known as facsimile) services under the legally-binding Universal Service Obligation (USO) rules, although these rules only apply to BT and KCOM.

However, the USO was initially set up in 2003 when fax machines were far more prevalent than they are today and people were less connected by services such as email and online messaging, which are now ubiquitous. The FAX is now viewed by many as an outdated form of communication, which has led Ofcom to propose that the requirement to provide FAX services be removed from the USO.

In a statement on the proposal, Ofcom said: “We previously consulted on this subject last year. We considered it was appropriate for fax to be removed from the USO, given its limited ongoing use, as well as the fact that developments in technology now mean there are a range of alternatives available for people to use."

"Not only are alternatives to fax machines now more widely available, migration of telephone networks to internet protocol (IP) technology means fax services can no longer be guaranteed to work in the same way."

Ofcom adds that alternatives to FAX include email and document sharing services.

The move to full fibre (FTTP) broadband lines and all-IP (Internet Protocol) based phone services (VoIP etc.) have also served as major factors in the decline in fax services. However, it has been noted that FAX machines, which were once a regular feature in British offices, are unlikely to die out completely, as they are still heavily used by the NHS.

Ofcom is now inviting comments on the implementation of this proposed change by 28th November 2022 and says that it expects to publish a final statement by early 2023.

Contact us

hSo ISO 9001 Seal
hSo ISO 14001 Seal
hSo ISO 20000 Seal
hSo ISO 27001 Seal
Cyber Essentials logo
Internet Service Providers Association logo
Internet Telephony Service Providers Association logo
LINX logo
RIPE logo
AWS Partner Network logo
Microsoft Partner logo
Crown Commercial Service supplier logo