The traditional landline phone system used here in the UK, known as the Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN for short, is being retired by providers by December 2025. Led by Openreach all aging PSTN infrastructure will be retired and transitioned to a newer and more sustainable digital infrastructure. This is known as the PSTN Switch Off. In this article we explain everything you need to know.
What is PSTN?
PSTN refers to the traditional analogue copper wiring used for landline phones. PSTN has been around since the late 1800s and has been the standard for landline phones throughout the 20th century. Over the years the PSTN service has expanded to include non-voice services such as fax machines, CCTV systems, door entry and security systems, payment systems, and internet services. In the 2000s migration from PSTN to newer digital technologies started with more emphasis in recent years with the PSTN switch off being announced by Openreach in June 2018.
Why is PSTN being switched off?
There are a few key reasons why PSTN is now being retired:
- Maintenance Costs – The old PSTN hardware is expensive for communication companies to maintain. Upgrading to more modern communication systems will reduce costs and make them more reliable.
- Technical Limitations – PSTN only supports basic voice and data services. Newer digital services allow for better quality features like video calling and conferencing.
- Push for Fiber – Fiber optic cabling is providing faster and more reliable internet and phone services. Over the years the fiber roll-out has accelerated and the PSTN switch-off will accelerate this further.
What impact will this have on your business?
If your business still uses PSTN for telephony or services such as fax machines, CCTV systems, door entry and security systems, payment systems, and internet services you will need to upgrade before the December 2025 deadline. You should confirm with your supplier when your area is expected to be switched off as this may be sooner. After PSTN has been switched off your traditional telephony and data services will no longer function. Businesses operating in areas where internet connectivity isn’t as fast or reliable as built up areas may find the switch off impacts them more.
What are your options?
Depending on your business needs and availability, it’s important to start your transition and think about replacement options. If not, your business could be at risk of having no connectivity solution. The alternative? Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is a solution we would recommend. VoIP transmits voice calls and data using an internet connection. VoIP converts signals from analog to digital before transmitting them over the internet.
What are the benefits?
While saying goodbye to PSTN may bring some challenges there are a few benefits to be seen:
- Lower Costs – Internet-based VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems tend to have lower monthly fees.
- Cloud Benefits – VoIP systems can integrate with cloud applications and remote/hybrid working.
- Flexibility – VoIP systems make adding, changing and scaling your communication system easier.
- Faster Speeds – Modern internet circuits such as fiber are much faster and can provide a wider range of services.
While saying goodbye to PSTN marks the end of an era for legacy telecommunication and may take some adjustments it’s going to bring opportunities for businesses to upgrade to more modern and flexible services. To prepare, you can:
- Audit your existing systems – Identify all existing PSTN lines as well as the systems and services relying on them.
- Business Strategy – understand your business strategy to be able to effectively evaluate possible solutions.
- Consider connectivity options – you should consider what options are available to you and how your replacement telephony system will utilise this connection to ensure you have enough bandwidth.
- Consider new telephony system – Options like Cloud-based VoIP and on-premises VoIP offer more flexibility and mobility with options to have VoIP desk phones and softphones.
- Test new system ahead of time – Ensure a smooth transition for your business.
Bridgeall can help you prepare by assessing, planning and implementing a migration strategy. With Bridgeall as a Microsoft Partner, we recommend Microsoft Teams Phone as a modern telephony solution that not only eliminates the requirement for legacy PSTN infrastructure but also provides a modern, sustainable and flexible communication platform to meet the requirements of your modern-day workforce. Our partnership with technology providers like 8×8 can enhance the Microsoft Teams Phone solution by utilising 8×8’s global enterprise-grade telephony capabilities.
We will assess your existing infrastructure to determine what systems and services will be impacted. We will also evaluate your business strategy and determine what solution suits you best to establish a migration plan. We will then assist you in implementing this migration plan ensuring that the transition is as hassle-free as possible. Contact us now to evaluate your options and find out how Bridgeall can ensure you’ve made the transition before the 2025 deadline.