PTSN Switch Off

PTSN Switch Off

The Future of Telecommunication: PSTN Shutdown | Connected Networks

The PSTN Shutdown has been a topic of discussion since it was first announced in 2017 but what is it all about?

The PSTN Shutdown is in its final stages, as the country moves from wired telephone connections to digital connections. This major project has been taking place and 2024 is the final year of wired connections before the complete switch to digital in 2025.

But what does this mean, and how will it affect your business? It’s crucial to understand the implications and prepare accordingly - don’t worry though, we have your back in the latest Connected Networks blog.

What is the PSTN Shutdown? What It Means for Your Business

By 2025, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will cease to exist. This means that all traditional phone lines and broadband connections in the UK must transition to a digital service, utilising internet protocol (IP) over a state-of-the-art fibre network. At Connected Networks, our dedicated team is poised to guide businesses through this transition, ensuring seamless communication for the future.

Understanding the PSTN Shutdown

The PSTN, which has been the backbone of our communication for years, is no longer equipped to handle the modern communications demands. That’s why it's being phased out in favour of a more robust and resilient fibre network. All conventional PSTN lines, including analogue and digital phone lines, ISDN systems and older internet connections like ADSL and FTTC broadband, will become obsolete post the PSTN shutdown.

Openreach is spearheading this transformation, updating telephone exchanges across the UK to a comprehensive fibre network. This shift promises faster, more reliable and cost-effective connectivity. It's a clarion call for businesses to upgrade their communication infrastructure, ensuring they remain connected in an all-digital era.

What is the PSTN 'Stop Sell' Initiative?

Come December 2025, the PSTN will officially close its operations. As of the 5th September 2023, a UK-wide 'stop sell' was implemented. This means traditional phone lines and FTTC broadband are longer available for purchase and no modifications can be made to existing legacy telephony systems. Every UK business will need to migrate to a digital network utilising IP over a fibre-based service.

This change isn't limited to telephony services. It extends to upgrading existing broadband connections and any equipment currently tethered to the PSTN network, including alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems and CCTV.

Why the Shift Away from PSTN?

The traditional PSTN network, primarily composed of copper cables, is aging and becoming increasingly challenging and expensive to maintain. Established in the late 1800s, the PSTN can't keep up with the 21st-century communication demands. As the UK strides towards a digital future, there's a growing need for faster speeds and broader bandwidth. With the global shift to mobile and internet communications, the UK has chosen to phase out the outdated PSTN technology in favour of full fibre connectivity, aligning with modern technological demands.

Preparing for the PSTN Shutdown

By 2025, Openreach plans to switch off the PSTN. This means that businesses currently relying on PSTN-based services must upgrade to newer services. Openreach is already replacing the copper-based PSTN network with fibre, aiming to replace every connection in the UK by the target year. The transition to full fibre is in full swing and in several areas purchasing copper-based PSTN services is no longer an option.

It's imperative for businesses to prepare for this change. The good news? This transition heralds a new era with the immense benefits of a full-fibre, IP network.

Impact on Businesses

Reports suggest that approximately 2.4 million UK businesses still rely on legacy telephone lines and ISDN networks powered by PSTN. With the PSTN shutdown looming, businesses must ensure they're not left behind. If your business currently uses ISDN/PSTN telephony or broadband services, it's time to consider the advantages of transitioning to fibre-based technology.

Next Steps for Businesses

While the complete PSTN shutdown in 2025 might seem distant, many UK locations will experience a halt in the sale of new ISDN or PSTN-based services much sooner. From September 2023, traditional phone lines will be unavailable for purchase across all exchange areas. It's an opportune moment for businesses to explore innovative and future-proof services.

For those with existing PSTN services, transitioning to an IP (VoIP) telephony solution and a fibre-based broadband is essential. This not only ensures compliance with the upcoming changes but also offers businesses a competitive edge by leveraging the benefits of hosted telephony and fibre connectivity.

Embracing the Future: Available Replacement Products

The future is undeniably digital. All phone calls will soon be made over the internet using IP technology. Solutions such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) voice technology, along with broadband services, will become the norm.

How Connected Networks can help you with migration steps for a seamless transition from PSTN:

Device Assessment: Begin by identifying which devices in your business ecosystem rely on PSTN phone lines. This includes emergency lines, payment terminals and security systems.

Connectivity Review: As the reliance on internet connections grows, ensure your networks are robust enough to handle the demands. Consider upgrading to connections that support HD audio and video conferencing.

Hardware Consideration: The role of hardware might change post switch-off. Consider mobile software and softphone alternatives to enhance mobility and reduce costs.

Solution Selection: Choose a reliable internet telephony vendor based on features, reliability and customer service.

Employee Training: Equip your employees with the knowledge to use the new systems. Most VoIP solutions are user-friendly but training can ensure a smooth transition.

Urgency and Preparedness

Despite the 2025 deadline, a significant portion of small businesses, about 33%, report being unprepared for the PSTN switch-off. Early preparation is not just about compliance but leveraging the tools that can enhance and future-proof business operations.

Reaping the Benefits of the PSTN Shutdown

The transition promises unparalleled connectivity, ensuring businesses remain connected regardless of their location.

VoIP systems, running over the internet, offer the potential for free or significantly reduced call costs. This shift also provides businesses with unparalleled flexibility, allowing call management from any device, anywhere, ensuring no missed opportunities.

Transitioning to a business phone system unlocks a plethora of communication tools, from call management features to real-time analytics and call recording, tailored to meet specific business needs.

Connected Networks is committed to guiding businesses through this transformative phase, ensuring they're well-equipped for the future of communication. If you would like some guidance on the PSTN Shutdown, contact a member of the Connected Networks team today.