The ISDN Switch Off – What’s Happening?

In 2025 BT is switching off their Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) services. This change will affect all residential and business customers and aligns with the Government’s promise to see 15 million premises connected to fibre by 2025. 

For businesses, it will not only mean that your phone services are affected but also services that run on your phone lines using the PSTN network. This will include services such as EPOS machines, alarm monitoring services, fire monitoring services, and lift emergency phones.

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Technology has evolved significantly and quite simply the PSTN network has become outdated and costly to maintain.

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. Over the last several years, telephone systems have been developed to use IP.  This allows telephone systems to use standard Internet connections.  Along with this new technology are many new terms and technologies including:

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.

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

What are the benefits?

Moving to this newer technology offers the same benefits as we see now and some new ones, including:

  • Lower costs
  • Mobility – greater choice of telephone hardware.  You can continue to use a telephone handset as well as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, PCs and Macs.
  • Scalability – telephone systems can easily scale along with your requirements.  Whether it is simply an additional user, or a brand-new office location.  At its simplest form, you simply require Internet connectivity
  • 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 and resources to do this will become limited nearer the deadline date. For more information on TruStack’s hosted telephony system, TruStack Voice and TruStack Unified Communications, why not join our Lunch and Learn on Thursday 19th August 2021.

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