UK regulator Ofcom considers scrapping requirement that BT provides dedicated landlines for the devices at affordable prices

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British communications regulator Ofcom said it had started the process to scrap legislation compelling BT, the former state-owned monopoly, to provide dedicated landlines for the devices at affordable prices. The move could sound the death knell of the fax machine, just over 30 years after it revolutionised office life. The facsimile machine, for our GenZ readers, first commercialised by Xerox in 1964, became a ubiquitous feature of offices around the world from the late 1980s but has since been displaced by a combination of email, scanners, cloud, and instant messaging services. Though the fax has been rendered obsolete in most work environments, it is still used in the healthcare sector, which has been slow to digitise. The legislation, known as the universal service obligation (USO), compelling BT to provide dedicated fax services dates back to the privatisation of the former state monopoly in 1984. This required the company to maintain a full national telecoms service including to less-profitable rural areas. It was later updated to include the provision of fax services. The Ofcom consultation comes after the government last month removed fax services from USO.

UK regulator Ofcom sounds death knell of the fax machine