The end of the landline

Telephony 28th November 2023

BT Openreach announced the end of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) in 2015, with the first UK networks being shut down in 2020. However, with so many major events taking precedence, the PSTN and ISDN network switch-off has received very little airtime, leaving many people unaware that it is taking place. 

In this blog post, we will explain the network switch-off in further detail, what the expected changes are and tips on how business owners can prepare for it.

What is the 2025 STNP switch-off?

The big switch-off is being driven by telecom operators who want to avoid spending money on maintaining an outdated legacy system. Every day, the ageing copper wired telephone network, also known as landline, struggles to meet the demand generated by your business communications. The initiative is already underway, with the ability to purchase landline and copper networking systems limited and unavailable in many parts of the UK. 

The switch-off will digitise the network by turning off PSTN and ISDN and replacing the copper network with fibre optic cable.

What is PSTN?

PSTN is the traditional analogue phone network for telephone communication via landline connectivity. This was first introduced in the 1800s and is made from copper wire 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?

ISDN was first introduced in the 90s to begin the establishment of high-speed internet services 

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

How will the PSTN switch-off impact businesses?

If you currently use ISDN or PSTN, you will be impacted; however, you will be most affected if you are still using landline connectivity and devices.

Other devices that use PTSN technology also need to be considered. This includes alarms, CCTV, door entry systems and EPOS (electronic point of sale) systems, telecare, critical care services and more.

This is a huge change that can have wider-reaching implications if you do not get ahead with it before the mandatory switchover in 2025. It was 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. As a business owner, you should start reviewing your communication infrastructure as soon as possible. As the initiative is already being rolled out, and the switch-off is underway in across the country, waiting until the last minute could be detrimental. By 2025, the demand for VoIP services will likely be extremely high as the switch-off will impact home users as well as businesses. By waiting until the last minute, you also risk being unprepared, which means that some of your services may be difficult to transition, jeopardising your business’s operations and continuity.

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

VoIP will become the technology behind your communication infrastructure, allowing 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?

Some of the benefits include:

  • Greater flexibility, allowing teams to collaborate using different devices, with the same number from anywhere with WiFi.
  • It’s a cost-effective system, as large capital investments will be replaced with manageable monthly fees. RingCentral has reported that cloud PBX customers, for example, save 42% on their monthly phone bills on average, with some saving as much as 70% when they switch from ISDN and PSTN lines.

A summary of the benefits:

  • Easy to buy and 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 hope you found this information useful and if you haven’t already, will begin to look into switching to a VoIP network as soon as possible. 

For more information on the big switch-off and the VoIP network, get in touch with a member of our team today.

Further reading:

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