The end of the landline

Telephony 28th November 2023

BT Openreach announced the end of PSTN and ISDN in 2015 and began shutting down UK networks in 2020. But with many major events taking precedence, the PSTN and ISDN network switch-off has had little airtime.

To help highlight the significant change we have put together a summary to help you to understand what is happening and how you can prepare for the changes.

What is the 2025 PSTN switch-off?

The big switch-off is being driven by the telecom operators, to save money maintaining a legacy system, that is becoming obsolete. The ageing copper wired telephone network, often referred to as a landline, is struggling to keep up with the demand coming from your business communication every day.

The 2025 initiative will digitise the network and switch off PSTN and ISDN, replacing the copper network with fibre optic cables.

What is PSTN?

PSTN stands for Public Switched Telephone Network. This traditional analogue phone network for telephone communication via landline connectivity. This was first introduced in the 1800s and is made up of copper wired above and below ground.

In recent years businesses have been encouraged to transition to VoIP networks, meaning all phone calls and communication will take place via the Internet.

What is ISDN?

Integrated service digital network (ISDN), was introduced in the 90s to first introduce high-speed internet services.

As of 2025, you will no longer be able to purchase ISDN connections or PSTN circuits. Between April and December 2025, there will be a forced migration to VoIP networks.

How will the PSTN switch-off impact businesses?

All businesses that are currently using ISDN and or PSTN will be impacted, but if you are still using landline connectivity and devices you will feel the effect of this change the most.

There are other devices that use PTSN technology that also need to be considered, this will include alarms, CCTV, door entry systems and EPOS (electronic point of sale) systems, telecare, and critical care services and more.

This is a huge change that can have wider-reaching implications if you do not get ahead of the change prior to the mandatory switchover in 2025. It has been reported that 70% of businesses were still reliant on legacy networks at the end of 2021.

What if you wait to prepare for the PSTN switch-off?

To be blunt, you shouldn’t wait it out! You should start reviewing your communication infrastructure now. If you wait until 2025 demand for VoIP services will be very high as this will impact home users as well as businesses. You also risk being unprepared, some of your services may not be easy to transition and you could risk your business operations and continuity.

What are your options to get ready for the PSTN switch-off?

VoIP will become the technology behind your communication infrastructure, this will allow you to communicate over the internet via voice, video, images, and files. Part of your communication may already be using this technology if you are using applications such as Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp and FaceTime for calls and video.

What are the benefits of VoIP?

Greater flexibility, allowing teams to collaborate using different devices, with the same number from anywhere with WiFi.

Cost-effective, large capital investments will be replaced with manageable monthly fees.

RingCentral has reported that cloud PBX customers, for example, save on average 42% on their monthly phone bills, with some saving as much as 70% when they switch from ISDN and PSTN lines.

Summary of benefits:

  • Easy to buy and easy to set up, auto-provisioning allows for quick installation and no capital expenditure.
  • Significant cost savings.
  • Flexible and scalability, you are not tied to a location and the system can grow with your business.
  • Avoid system failures/outages, you only require an internet connection for the system to work.
  • Avoid having your manufacturer end support of an old phone system.
  • Improved experience for your customers.
  • Increased productivity and collaboration.

We have prepared a 6-step guide to assist with you assessing your business and getting ready for the changes.

If you would like to understand more and arrange a short demonstration, contact our team today.

Further reading:

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