What equipment & technology will be affected by the PSTN switch off?

In 2015, it was announced by BT that The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) will be switched off in the UK in 2025. Everyone, from homes to businesses, will be affected by this change. 

Though 2025 might still seem like a while away, from December 2023, you’ll no longer be able to buy any new PSTN or ISDN-based technology and equipment. So, it’s time to get clued up on what’s happening and how your business will be affected and start preparing for the Switch Off now.

What does the PSTN switch off mean?

BT Openreach is planning on switching off PTSN in 2025, making analogue phones and any other technology connected to it obsolete. 

The PSTN network and analogue phone systems are considerably more expensive to run and maintain compared to newer technology for both the end-user and the provider. This means that many modern businesses are choosing the most cost-effective equipment and technology, which has been slowly phasing PSTN out for  years.

So, all businesses still currently using PSTN or ISDN will be affected and will need to move to another service beforehand, to keep their phones and other equipment working. Luckily, if you start the transition now, it can be done smoothly without any downtime. But, if you prolong the inevitable and wait, you may be causing yourself and any employees unnecessary stress in the future when it switches off.

What office equipment will be affected by the PSTN switch off?

Every business using PSTN equipment and technology will be affected by the Analogue Switch Off. How much of your business will be impacted will depend on how widespread your PSTN or ISDN technology is throughout the office. Here are some of the equipment and technology services that may be affected if you’re still using PSTN:

  1. Phone lines – all phone lines and voice services connected to ISDN or PSTN networks will be switched off. So, moving over to a hosted VoIP system, which is operated entirely online, is the best alternative and easiest way to future-proof your business.
  2. Broadband – some businesses may experience their broadband being switched off if you use ADSL or FTTC services as they run on the PSTN lines. As the UK is moving into full fibre, which BT aim to have available for 85% of the country, the best option is to switch to an FTTP service.
  3. Door entry systems – yes, even your door entry systems could be affected if it runs on ISDN lines. It’s vital you upgrade your door entry systems before 2025 to a digital system or even switch to an IP mode, to ensure safety and security for you and your employees.
  4. Alarms – all of the alarms in your office will be affected by the switch off if they are dependent on the PSTN system, as many of them are. If they aren’t upgraded to a more digital solution, you could be putting your employees and your business data and equipment at risk. 
  5. EPOS machines – generally, payment terminals and EPOS machines are all run on PSTN systems too. If you’re a business dependent on payment terminals, the last thing you would want is for the system to be shut off and your systems being down for days or even weeks on end. Switching to a full-fibre solution (FTTP) will help to future-proof your business and keep everything running smoothly.
  6. CCTV – security cameras that operate on a PSTN system will also be switched off, with their signals not being sent to the operator. This means that your business premises will not be protected after December 2025 unless you change the cameras to a digital system.
  7. Lift emergency lines – if there is a lift within your office building it should contain an emergency alarm to call out in the case of someone getting stuck – this alarm works on a PSTN system. So, this will need to be switched over to either a VoIP system or any other cloud telephony system immediately, otherwise, it could cause a real health and safety issue.
  8. Cash machines – while paying by card or even your phone is the most common way to purchase items now, cash machines still play an important role in people’s lives. If your office has a cash machine in the lobby or just outside, it may need updating to a fibre line to continue being functional.

How can businesses prepare for the PSTN switch off?

We understand that the Switch Off can feel very daunting – especially if the majority of your office equipment and technology currently relies on PSTN. But, the good news is, there are plenty of things you can start doing now to prepare.

  • Firstly, find out when your current contract with your PSTN services is due to be renewed. This way, you can get an idea of how long you have to make the switch to more modern options.
  • Avoid buying any more analogue phones or PSTN products and services from this point, as they will be made redundant very soon.
  • Upgrade your internet connection now, to ensure it’s strong and reliable before the switch.
  • Start switching over early if you can, as this will only save you time, money and stress.

Digital Voice Services or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, is the main alternative that will replace PSTN and simply needs an internet connection to work. By switching your technology and  equipment to VoIP and fibre lines, you’ll be future-proofing your business and can relax in the knowledge that everything will run seamlessly during the switch off.

With VoIP, you can expect better call quality, which is ideal for those who utilise video calling services too, better flexibility, more cost-effective packages and a wider range of features to increase productivity and efficiency. VoIP systems are also much easier to scale and upgrade whenever needed for your business too. All in all, VoIP is the way forward, and, despite the frustration of having much of your current technology switched off, in the long run, your business will benefit from the newer technology.

Take a look at our business broadband and phone solutions for more information, and contact our team to discuss your options and future-proof your business.

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