THE plug is set to be pulled on fax machines.
The communications regulator Ofcom is proposing a change to rules meaning fax facilities would not have to be provided by telecom companies.
In 2003 when Ofcom set up the universal service obligation fax machines were more prevalent and far fewer people were connected by email and online messaging services.
A spokesman said: “Currently, our telephone universal service obligation, which ensures that a minimum set of phone services are available at an affordable price to people across the UK, includes fax.
“However, the technology has become increasingly outdated and the phone network used to deliver messages is also being upgraded.
“Once this is completed, fax services can no longer be guaranteed to work in the same way.
“As a result, we’re proposing changes to the rules.”
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Fax machines became an office staple in the 1980s and 90s.
A 2020 Freedom of Information request found 653 were still being used by police forces, fire services and councils.
More than 800 are still used by the NHS.
BT and Hull telecom firm KCOM are the providers responsible for universal service.
But BT said: “There is now such limited demand for fax services.”
Ofcom plans to publish a statement on changes early next year.