How Broadcast Fax Works

Broadcast fax allows you to send more than once fax.
Broadcast fax allows you to send more than once fax.
Photo courtesy Dreamstime

Broadcast fax is the ability to send a single fax to more than one person at the same time [source:]. Some fax machines can scan a document once and broadcast it to multiple recipients. But, when most people talk about broadcast fax, they're referring to third-party services that use fax server technology to send a single fax to hundreds or thousands of recipients at once.

Broadcast fax is a powerful tool for public relations professionals, who routinely send time-sensitive story ideas to hundreds of targeted journalists and publications simultaneously. According to a report by Davidson Consulting, broadcast fax was a $200 million industry worldwide in 2006.

Unfortunately, broadcast fax is also a powerful tool for fax spammers who flood thousands of fax machines with unsolicited "junk fax" advertisements, despite strict, Federal anti-spamming laws.

In this HowStuffWorks article, we'll look at the technology behind broadcast fax, its real-world applications and the legal issues surrounding its use and misuse.

Let's start with a look at fax servers, the key technology behind broadcast fax.