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The BT Openreach 2025 PSTN And ISDN Switch Off

18th March 2021

What is happening?

In 2025 BT are switching off their Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) services and by that point, every phone line in the UK will be digital. This will affect all residential and business customers and aligns with the Government’s promise to see 15 million premises connected to full-fibre by 2025. 

For businesses there can be a lot to think about. It is not just your phone services you need to consider, you also need to think about services that run on your phone line using the existing PSTN network. For example, security alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems, CCTV and fax machines. 

It is not only in the UK that the migration to digital is taking place. As technology evolves, phone companies around the world are adapting. The switch-off is already underway in countries like Germany, Japan and Sweden, with Estonia and the Netherlands already having completely switched off their networks. 

Why is it happening?

Technology has evolved significantly and quite simply the PSTN network has become out-dated and costly to maintain. The infrastructure has been in place so long you probably do not even notice the overhead telephone lines strung across our landscape anymore and you will consider even less the web of cables buried beneath the ground, most of which have been in place for decades.

What are the alternatives?

Of course, the retiring of the telephone network as we know it would not be happening if there was no new technology to replace it. Below is an overview of digital solutions.

VoIP: stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and allows you to make and receive phone calls over the internet. 

SIP: stands for Session Initiation Protocol and rather than just sending voice data like the VoIP phone system, SIP will send and receive any multimedia data such as video calls.

SoGEA: is a product that enables users to purchase a broadband connection without a phone line. With the rising use of mobile phones, many of us no longer use our landlines to make or receive calls. Therefore, if you do not require a line for calls but you need a broadband service then SoGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access) is the answer. 

4G & 5G: With the development of 4G and 5G networks across the UK, another alternative is to use your mobile phone as you main point of contact rather than having a traditional landline.

What you require of your telephony will dictate which solution is right for you. 

What are the benefits?

More often than not change is not welcome, however, moving to this newer technology offers the same benefits as we see now and some new ones, including:

  • Lower costs
  • Greater mobility/scalability
  • Call statistics more easily accessible
  • Changes can be implemented quicker e.g. call routing and diverts

When do I need to act?

Many businesses have already adopted a digital model, moving their communications to the cloud, making calls over the internet and embracing video conferencing. If you have the supporting infrastructure, then there is no reason why an educated and planned migration to digital lines cannot be considered now.

It is important to start to think about your move sooner rather than later as there could be a lot to plan for (remembering what we said about security alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems etc.). Although we would not recommend waiting until the last moment, you must have the appropriate resources to accommodate digital telephony. By migrating too early you could generate an array of issues in functionality, subsequently, having a detrimental impact on your business operations. 

Have more questions? 
Here, BT debunk 10 myths about digital phone lines:

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