The PSTN/ISDN Switch Off – It’s 2021, but what’s happening in 2025?

The PSTN/ISDN Switch Off – It’s 2021, but what’s happening in 2025?

2025 is a big year in telecommunications, why? Because British Telecom will permanently do away with analogue phone lines. Lots of business owners have many questions, and as a result do research online to try and get a fix on what’s going to happen, and how it affects their enterprise. Another question that sits in the back of the mind, is ‘What do I need to do as a business owner to both prepare and hopefully benefit from this transition?’. Next Communications have been advising companies ever since the announcement was made. Read on to discover the answer to all of those pertinent questions and be ahead of the game.

What Is the PSTN Switch Off?

BT has announced its plans to switch off all public switched telephone network (PSTN) services by 2025. The PTSN consists of telephone lines, cables, cellular networks and other hardware necessary to allow traditional analogue telephones to communicate with each other. It brings together the circuit-switched networks to provide the infrastructure and services for public and corporate telecommunication in the UK.

Although the switch-off is scheduled for 2025, BT has already started phasing out ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) and PSTN back in 2020 and will stop allowing businesses to acquire these services.

What’s Replacing PSTN?

From 2025, all consumers and businesses will make phone calls over broadband using VoIP systems. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows voice communications over IP networks such as the internet. VoIP does not require a circuit-switched network. Instead, data is transmitted over a digital network in chunks or ‘data packets’. BT plans to switch to a system where all voice calls are internet-based and delivered via a fibre network, correlating with the upgrade of fibre networks across the UK, to support the shift to VoIP telephony.

VoIP calls can be made using a wide range of devices, including desktop computers, mobile phones, landlines and pretty much any other internet-ready device. For businesses, VoIP systems carry many huge advantages including lower running costs, no need for cumbersome on-premise hardware, and upgrades are more often than not actioned at the Data Centre source, where your businesses VoIP systems are managed from.

Quite simply, IP telephony saves businesses money, as it requires no new hardware to be purchased and allows low-cost international calls. VoIP offers the ultimate flexibility as calls can be taken from any internet-enabled device worldwide. Good VoIP providers offer a wide range of advanced business features too, such as audio conferencing and inbound call management, meaning it’s easy to adapt the service to meet operational needs and goals.

How Will All of this Affect My Business?

Well over 2 million businesses across the UK will be ultimately affected by the PSTN switch off, and a large number of SMEs still rely on landline telephones. If this is your business, start planning for the switch now. There are a multitude of reasons to move to VoIP. With a good VoIP provider, the shift can be simple, quick, and it could save your business a lot of money! The other point to consider is the flexibility of a VoIP Solution, and the options are many.

So, What Are My Options?

Depending on your operational and financial requirements, you can choose an on-premise VoIP solution or opt for a hosted service based in the cloud. The latter is a progressively more widespread choice, as it requires little or no storage space and none of the worry or cost of maintaining equipment as was traditional with ISDN phone systems. With a cloud-based solution, your business can use all the necessary technology and gain all of the functionality it needs for a small monthly per user subscription. Upgrade and add features as your business scales or remove services you no longer require; Cloud Based VoIP Systems offer the ultimate in flexibility - . Many providers offer flexible contracts, so it’s easy to make changes as business needs develop.

A Summary of Key Info

You may be feeling that there’s a fair amount of confusing terminology within all of this, if that’s the case, here’s a short guide that may help.

  • PSTN — Public Switched Telephone Network. All of the technical equipment, such as cables and telephone lines that allow traditional telephone communications to take place.
  • ISDN — Integrated Services Digital Network. Launched in 1986 as an advancement on traditional landlines, ISDN allows the simultaneous digital transmission of voice and data services, enabling features such as video conferencing, which were previously unavailable.
  • VoIP — Voice over Internet Protocol. Allows voice communications over IP networks such as the internet. VoIP calls only require an internet connection and can be made on many different devices without the need for traditional landlines.
  • Hosted or Cloud-Based Voip — a hosted telephony solution uses VoIP and is based in the cloud, which allows small businesses to access all the features and functionality of VoIP without having to purchase, manage or maintain hardware on-site.
  • 2020BT to restrict businesses ordering PSTN or ISDN connectivity as it begins to phase out these services.
  • 2025 — BT will switch off all PSTN and ISDN services.

Whilst the jargon and acronyms may seem baffling, switching from analogue to VoIP is as straightforward as making the decision to discover what’s ideal for your business. And let’s not forget, it’s also likely to deliver a host of operational and financial benefits.

We’ve compiled a helpful Quality Provider Checklist to support businesses in some of the key considerations when looking for an alternative supplier of Telecommunications. Click here to view the checklist.

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