The downfall of the fax machine

The fax machine was once a revolutionary and incredible invention that was used in offices around the globe.

Now it could be marked as obsolete by the UK communications regulator Ofcom.

Fax machines allowed users to send exact copies of text or images to others using telephone lines.

These were widely used for large transactions of money.

An Iconic moment that saw basketball superstar Michael Jordan send the message “I’m back” to the Chicago Bulls using a fax machine as he announced his comeback from retirement.

Fax machines have also been used in the Football scene to complete player transfers however, this method has since been ditched for emailing scanned documents.

Now, fax machines are used in a handful of workplaces like law enforcement, medical administration, and conveyancing.

Reports suggest there are still a few hundred currently operating fax machines in the NHS.

Although, since 2018 there has been a ban on the NHS from buying fax machines and they aimed to have them entirely out of use by 2020.

Ofcom has proposed a change to the universal service obligation (USO) rules, which would mean that telecom providers wouldn’t need to provide services for fax machines.

The USO is a set of rules that ensure there are phone services available to everyone in the UK.

At the moment, there are two telecoms providers for universal service in the UK, one being BT and the other KCOM, although this is in Hull only although they have a business centre in London.

The USO was set up in 2003 by Ofcom, during this time, fax machines were popular and widely used.

Nowadays, people are communicating via emails and social media which is a lot easier and quicker as most people have a mobile device that has more functions.

BT and KCOM were required to do fax services due to Ofcom creating the USO.

Ofcom has said, “not only are alternatives to fax machines more widely available, migration of telephone networks to internet protocol technology means fax services can no longer be guaranteed to work in the same way.”

Last year Ofcom said “We considered it was appropriate for fax to be removed from the USO, given its limited ongoing use” now they have proposed such actions.

Ofcom is expecting to have a published statement by earlier 2023 regarding their proposal for the fax machine, as they want to take all opinions and comments into account.

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