Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator in the UK, has announced a consultation which could lead to telecoms providers no longer being obliged to provide fax services.

With the ubiquity of data based telecoms provision, such as over Internet Protocol (IP) technology, fax services do not operate in the same way as they were intended. Additionally, users have long migrated away from fax transmission, towards email and online file sharing.

COVID has further accelerated this shift, with more and more people working at home, entirely online, and in a paperless environment. In this context, fax has a limited function.

Increasingly, legal and financial transactions can be conducted using electronic signatures and certification, reducing the need for transmission of images of original documents signed in pen and ink.

While this change will only have direct effect on the UK, similar moves are afoot in other countries, including even Japan, where the fax machine has remained popular for business and government communications.

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