Why You Need To Know About The PSTN Switch Off
What is the PSTN and ISDN Switch Off?
Analogue (copper) lines have formed the infrastructure for our telecommunications for over a century, but it’s now an obsolete technology that BT has decided to retire in favour of a fully digital fibre network. They’re planning to switch off both the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and ISDN data services (ISDN2e and ISDN30e) by 2025, which means every business and household in the UK needs to find an internet-based alternative for their voice and phone systems beforehand. It’s less of a problem for households as most of us haven’t used landlines in years and already rely on mobile devices for our communications, but businesses on the other hand are a different matter.
Who does the switch off affect?
Every business across the UK will be affected by this change, regardless of company size. Failure to take action could result in business disruption.
Phone systems aren’t the only thing that run over PSTN though. Other services like alarms, CCTV and EPOS systems also traditionally rely on copper phone lines to communicate with their providers. However, as with voice, IP solutions and alternatives are already available, and your existing provider is more than likely already rolling them out. If you haven’t heard anything from them yet, we recommend getting in touch to find out if and when they’re planning to upgrade your service to digital.
When is it happening?
You’re no longer able to purchase traditional PSTN or ISDN phone systems from BT and soon even wholesale providers won’t be able to place any new orders on the PSTN network. In fact, in some areas of the UK the Stop Sell on these services has already been enforced and new customers in these locations must take up an internet protocol (IP) based service instead.
Services will be withdrawn entirely by the end of 2025.
What do I need to do?
The time to switch to IP services is today. A lot of businesses are already using VoIP technology (Voice over Internet Protocol) because of the advanced telephony features they offer as well as reductions in call costs and a whole host of other benefits. Additionally, with the rise in people working from home, the flexibility that VoIP provides through built-in mobile apps and softphones means that staff can take and make calls from anywhere in the world as if they were still in the office.
As the switch off grows closer demands will rise so preparing for it now sidesteps any possible delays and issues with legacy systems no longer being supported.
What is a VoIP system?
VoIP phone systems for businesses use virtual phone lines called SIP channels to route calls to and from your workplace over the internet. It’s hosted in the cloud, so there’s less upfront hardware costs compared to traditional phone systems and it means that even if you have an outage in your office, you can still pick calls up over a 4G/5G network via your mobile phone. For a full list of features and benefits of VoIP click here.
If you have any questions or concerns that you would like answering, please feel free to contact one of our friendly staff who will be happy to talk through it with you.