Is your business prepared for the big PSTN Switch Off?

EBC Group

What does PSTN stand for?

PSTN stands for the Public Switched Telephone Network. This was originally made up of the traditional copper wire telephone system which was designed for analogue voice communication.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) was then introduced within the PSTN in the late 1980s, a digital version of the analogue phone line which allows the transfer of voice and data over PSTN copper lines.

What is the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) Switch Off?

In 2017, Openreach announced that they are turning off the old analogue PSTN in 2025. The PSTN supports several products from Openreach, including ISDN lines which most businesses have, these could be ISDN2 or ISDN30 lines depending on the size of your business, and WLR (Wholesale Line Rental).

When will my landline be switched off?

Your PSTN line, or landline, will be switched off at the end of December 2025, along with all other fixed lines and services, and services will no longer be available. 

Will Openreach meet this deadline?

Openreach are confident that they will meet the deadline of withdrawing all products reliant on the PSTN by 2025. If businesses or consumers have not managed to switch over to a different telephony solution by then, they will be left without service.

Why is Openreach withdrawing the PSTN and ISDN network?

As PSTN has formed the infrastructure for our telecommunications system in the UK since 1876 when the first ever telephone call was made, unsurprisingly it has become antiquated and costly to maintain. ISDN has also become outdated now, having been overtaken by newer technologies such as fibre broadband. Openreach are switching off the PSTN and ISDN network to pave the way for a fully digital network which can meet the demands of the new digital era.

How do Digital Voice Services Work?

 Digital Voice Services or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) are calls which are made over the internet rather than via wires, as they are with PSTN. The speakers' voices are converted into a series of digital packets which are transmitted across the internet.

Why is Digital Voice better than traditional phone services?

 VoIP offers higher quality calls, more features and more flexibility than traditional telephony. Switching over to IP telephony enables businesses to benefit from the numerous advantages of integrated communications, including messaging, rich presence and video communication.

Can Digital Voice work during a power cut?

Your VoIP hub must have power for you to be able to make calls using a Digital Voice service. However, you can forward calls from your desk phone to your mobile so can use your VoIP system this way if there is a power cut.

How will Openreach begin withdrawing PSTN services?

Openreach will be switching off services at each telephone exchange in turn. The first stage is to announce a ‘stop sell’ date for each exchange. After this date no new affected services can be ordered and changes to existing services, no matter how minor, cannot be made.

There are already over 200 exchanges that will be in the Stop Sell phase by January 2022. Two years after the stop sell date all services cease at that exchange.

What lines and services, such as alarms and payment terminals, will be impacted by the closure in 2025?

All technology that uses the old phone network system will be impacted, that is, all non-voice services connected to PSTN or ISDN lines. This includes devices such as alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems, CCTV, and faxes.

What legacy devices and systems will stop working from 2025?

The Public Switch Telephone Network currently supports WLR, ISDN2 and ISDN30, Local Loop Unbundling Shared Metallic Path Facilities (LLUSMPF), Narrowband Line Share and Classic Products so these will no longer be operational. Products such as Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL) Broadband and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) Broadband will also be affected as the underlying WLR telephone service which supports the broadband is being withdrawn.

Will Telecom devices still work after PSTN?

Telecoms devices will still work but there will be no service to them.

Who will be impacted by the PSTN Switch Off?

Everyone will be affected by the switch-off, both at home and in terms of their business, as it involves the termination of the old phone network and all non-voice services connected to PSTN or ISDN lines, as discussed.

How can EBC Group help my business with the PSTN Switch Off?

EBC Group can support you in making the switch from PSTN to IP telephony. We offer a range of telephony solutions to suit your business needs, from hosted phone systems and SIP trunking to VoIP handsets.

Working with leading communication software providers means, we can provide solutions that are cost effective, scalable and delivered via our independently owned communications infrastructure. Our team of experts take the time to get to know your business and find the best solution for you, assisting you throughout the process, including the implementation of your solution.

Read more about the PSTN Switch Off and answered questions here.

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