The PSTN Switch Off
This WILL Affect Your Business

The UK’s old analogue PSTN Phone infrastructure will be switched off in December 2025

What is the PSTN? 

PSTN stands for Public Switched Telephone Network which might not mean a great deal. However, you’ll have used the PSTN throughout your life as it’s the infrastructure behind the traditional telephone lines we all used to rely on in the UK.

Who’s affected

Eh, Everyone.

All homes and businesses – Moreover, it’s not just the voice telephone system that’s being switched off, it’s also everything else non-voice that is also using the same network, for example, broadband services, alarm systems, ePOS, Card Payment terminals, security cameras etc. 

That sounds like an extreme step!

Yes and No, The PSTN has been an extremely reliable backbone of UK telephone communications for multiple decades – However, it is now very old, it’s also analogue, and we live in a digital world.  Some parts of the PSTN date back 100+ years and as a network it is simply no longer sufficient for our 21st Century lives. The Fibre optic world is here and the National network is growing at an extremely fast pace. The newer digital replacement will communicate using the IP protocol and phone calls will be digitised and sent as Voice over IP or VoIP.  The performance gains of this move are truly huge, the cost savings too, as you will no longer need two independent networks, (one for data and one for phone calls.)

Openreach announced in 2015 that by 2025 the PSTN network would be switched off meaning any line which hadn’t migrated across would no longer be active after that date. The PSTN supports several Openreach products which partners often provide to their customers, including Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).

The PSTN utilises both copper wires and fibre telephone lines and makes calls using what’s called analogue signalling. However, technology has come on leaps and bounds in the last decade and the improvement of the broadband infrastructure combined with the reliability and quality of connectivity options available across the UK means that the traditional telephony simply isn’t as effective anymore.

The evolution of the telephone network means that the digital transformation of the traditional telephony can provide the UK with a more effective and efficient way to communicate and, what’s more, a more reliable and robust infrastructure which is far easier to maintain than the PSTN.

What will the replacement products be?

Instead of focussing on maintaining the traditional telephony and the PSTN network, Openreach have shifted focus onto the building and expanding of its full fibre network, ensuring homes and businesses throughout the country can access a faster and more reliable connection. As a result, the most obvious replacement product for traditional phone systems is a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution which uses reliable internet connectivity and the cloud to host phone calls on both desktop phones and on mobile devices.

As the Switch Off gathers pace and progresses, Openreach products will release more products of a single order variant, rather than the traditional dual voice and fibre products we’re accustomed to. There will be both SOGEA and SOTAP variants available which are the FTTC and ADSL replacement products and, should your business want voice services over the top, a separate VoIP service will need to be added to replace the traditional voice line.

What do I need to do to prepare my business?

If you’re currently utilising a traditional phone system, you will need to consider migrating.

Take a look at hosted voice solutions and the many benefits that come with a VoIP product. You’ll be able to seamlessly integrate between your desk and mobile phones, making remote and flexible working easier than ever before. With a hosted solution, you’ll only pay for the users you need and, should your business grow, your phone system can easily grow with you. Not only that but you’ll get unlimited internal calls and you’ll be able to update, install and configure updates easily through the online management portal, saving you money on changes and calls.

Using a hosted voice product utilises your internet connection and connectivity products such as ADSL aren’t best placed to operate a VoIP solution to its full capacity. If you are considering a switch to VoIP, you might want to assess and upgrade your connectivity at the same time, giving your business the ability to collaborate, communicate and connect effectively.

Every single business will need to migrate by 2025 and some Cities and Towns will be affected even earlier.  At Powwer Business Utilities we provide a state of the art, future proof, hosted Voice over IP platform.  We additionally provide the fibre broadband connectivity backbones that hosted VoIP solutions sits upon, ensuring an appropriate and scalable connectivity options to suit a business of any size. To find out how we can help your business and better understand the need to migrate speak to us today.

Get the Broadband Connection right

Now more than ever, all businesses need robust, high-quality internet connectivity, whether it’s fixed or mobile. The newer Cloud-based applications demand resilient, high quality, high-bandwidth connectivity. Digital voice included. They rely on the same high-quality internet connection to deliver crystal clear voice calls, interruption free video conferencing and collaboration solutions.

You need connectivity that’s up to the job and also scalable for your future business demands,

Upgrading to a VoIP digital voice and collaboration services presents a timely opportunity to review your internet connectivity. Is it robust and resilient? Do you have enough capacity to comfortably handle today’s applications and all the new technology that’s coming down the line (the Internet of Things, for example)? What about latency? Will other applications interrupt your voice services?

How we can help: we’ve got connectivity and networking covered, with a comprehensive range of access technologies, speeds, and resilience options to choose from. We are able to recommend the best options for you based on both your current situation and the direction you are taking your business into the future.

What else might be using your voice line? Check for special services

Businesses often use phone lines for more than just phone calls.

Door entry systems, alarms, lift emergency lines, payment terminals, cash machines and so on can all be using your old PSTN phone lines. We call these ‘special services’. Upgrading to digital will have an impact on how these special services work, so it’s vital that you track down everything that’s running off your PSTN and ISDN lines.

Broadly speaking, you then have three options:

  • Switch the devices to an IP mode (if available)
  • Speak to your special service provider about upgrading them to an IP equivalent
  • Use an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) device, which converts the special services analogue signal to digital (IP), enabling your special service to carry on working with the new digital service.

How we can help: we have an range of services that can help you minimise the disruption of upgrading to a digital voice and collaboration service.

Motivate, empowwer and educate your staff

To get the most out of a digital phone service, you don’t just need to make sure your people know how to use it, it’s more productive to make sure they choose to use it. The better informed and engaged they are, the higher your chances of maximising all of the benefits from it. A VoIP solution is far far more than just a phone line, it significantly enhances collaborative working practices, transforms your customers perception of how large a business you are.  Motivating and empowwering your staff to the point where they are excited about getting their hands on the new equipment and services, they are then much more likely to engage and drive these business benefits for you.

How we can help: we can help you bring your employees up to speed. Migrating to a VoIP solution comes with comprehensive user guides and support materials. Depending on your upgrade, we also have a range of training packages to choose from.

Consider the hardware

When you’re upgrading to digital voice, don’t just rush into replacing your existing handsets with an equivalent IP model. This is a great opportunity to step back and really understand how your employees are currently using your hardware.

There is a very real chance that you no longer need a like-for-like replacement of all your equipment.  By way of a topical example, an increasing number of people are adopting flexible working patterns, whether that’s hot-desking in the office or working from home or probably various degrees of this, therefore  giving everyone a desk phone may no longer be the right option for your business. Perhaps using an IP headset and softphone client in a laptop or mobile phone is a more flexible way to go. There are more options in this scenario with VoIP that existed beforehand and that a hybrid methodology to headsets and handsets fits the bill for your business.

How we can help: There are a very extensive range of IP devices and Apps for you to choose from as part of your migration. Ask us the question if you’re not sure and we’ll find the most cost-effective solution based on your existing hardware and potentially updated devices.

Grasp this opportunity to evolve

Migrating to a digital VoIP phone service is about more than just doing what you do now, but digitally. Your new service will present you with fresher and more flexible ways of working both independently and collaboratively positively changing the way you communicate.

VoIP hosted systems boast far more features than you may be used to. For a start, they can seamlessly integrate mobile devices and apps. Move the call you are on from you mobile to a laptop softphone and vice versa at will. Detailed reporting and analytics are now at your fingertips, helping you gather insights about customer and employee behaviour. But above all, they’ll enable you to work in ways your customers perceive as being more robust and professional. It’s an opportunity to re-evaluate your business, if you so choose, introduce flexible and remote working so you and your team can work from any device, at any location and at any time.

Consider what to do with your existing phone line numbers, probably your customers already know them, if that is the case then it’s worth keeping them.  They will need to be ported from landline numbers into a cloud based numbers to enable them to be used from any of your devices.  We will manage this process for you.

Plan your VoIP migration – You still have time.

Digital cloud-based phone systems truly unshackle your telecommunications from the confines of a shop or office, with numbers that now follow you wherever you and your team go. You’ll never miss a call again. They make it easy to collaborate with anyone, anywhere. The versatility of a VoIP solution can be breath-taking. A truly future proof telephony system scalable from just one user, with cost savings, no maintenance costs, automatic upgrades a customer impression of a much larger business leaving your customers perceiving a business as a professional fit for their requirements.