The big switch off 2025 - are you ready?
The Big Switch Off refers to the gradual phasing out of BT's Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN).
In 2025, the humble landline will become a thing of the past when the copper cable that brings traditional call technology to homes and businesses across the UK is switched for an internet-based connection.
The main reason for the switch is that older analogue technology is getting less reliable and more expensive to maintain. Some of the UK's copper telephone network is over 140 years old and it is no longer able to adequately cope with our ever increasing demand for faster broadband connections.
Both home and business users will be affected by the big switch off, but businesses in particular will need to plan ahead to ensure there is no interruption in services and they can continue to serve their customers. It's not just voice calls that will be affected. A range of other services still use analogue phone lines, including CCTV cameras, alarms, door entry systems, lift lines, payment terminals and more. These will also need to be moved to IP technolggy by 2025.
The rise of VoIP technology
The primary option for most businesses will be VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) - sometimes referred to as 'digital voice technology' - which allows voice calls to be made using computers and mobile devices with an internet connection, without being tied to a fixed line at a fixed location.
Many businesses have had VoIP phone systems in place for some time. However, others are only just becoming aware of the need to upgrade their systems. The good news is that there are several benefits of switching to VoIP from a PSTN or ISDN system, including:
Cost savings – VoIP offers cheaper deals and cheaper calls. That can include free calls between different sites and offices and even free international calls.
Functionality – There’s much more to VoIP than simple voice calls. Your system can come with features such as instant messing and video calling.
Scalability – VoIP can easily grow with your business at a very low cost, as you can add or remove new telephone lines quickly as your requirements change.
Mobile enabled – If you choose a cloud-based VoIP system, your users will be able to connect from wherever they are using a mobile, tablet or laptop and make and receive calls just as easily as they could in the office.
Businesses need to be aware of the upcoming changes so they can make the switch before they find themselves without a functioning phone system.
Here are a few steps that you can take now to future proof your business:
Check that you have a reliable and strong internet connection, such as full fibre. If you don’t, then it’s a good time to think about upgrading.
Find out when your contract is due to be renewed. This will give you an idea of when you can make the switch.
Don’t be tempted simply to renew your existing contract for the sake of an easy life. Switching now will save you time and money in the long run.
Don’t buy outdated hardware such as desk phones and phone lines now. All you’ll be doing is wasting your money.
When you are ready to switch, choose a cloud-based telephone service. That will allow you to work from anywhere and grow your team and business seamlessly.
From September 2023, BT will stop accepting new orders of PSTN/copper based services like analogue lines and non-fibre broadband.
If you live in Salisbury in Wiltshire or Mildenhall in Suffolk, you may have already had to make the switch. As part of a trial, Openreach has been limiting customers' broadband speeds to around 2Mbps and blocking outbound phone calls in a move to 'encourage' them to upgrade from the old copper network in preparation for the Big Switch Off.
Openreach hasn't said whether it is going to introduce similar restrictions across the UK as the copper switch-off deadline approaches.
If you are concerned about your internet connectivity and whether it can adequately support the new digital voice technology, please get in touch. We can advise on the best broadband technology in your area and help you get the most out of it. www.ruraltech.uk