Q: What is the PSTN Switch Off?
A: The PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) Switch Off refers to the gradual phase-out of the traditional analogue telephone network. This network has been the backbone of voice communication globally for over a century, relying on copper lines and analogue technology. The Switch Off is being implemented in favour of more modern digital alternatives like VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and mobile networks, which offer greater flexibility, higher quality and more advanced features.

Q: When is the Switch Off happening?
A: The Switch Off is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, but the migration process has already started. The UK has been transitioning away from analogue technology since BT Openreach first announced its phasing out plans in 2017 and, on 5th September 2023 BT Openreach entered its "Stop Sell" phase, stopping the sale of traditional phone lines across the UK. By 31st December 2025, all ISDN and PSTN services will be permanently shut down in favour of transitioning to a fully digital network. 

Q: Why is the PSTN being switched off?
A: The PSTN is being switched off mainly due to its outdated technology and the high maintenance costs associated with it. Modern digital communication technologies like VoIP and mobile networks are not only more cost-effective, but also facilitate collaboration and unified communications through advanced features, such as superior voice quality, video conferencing, and seamless Internet access. Furthermore, digital networks are more straightforward to maintain and upgrade, supporting evolving business and individual communication needs. 

Q: How will the PSTN Switch Off impact business operations?
A: The PSTN Switch Off will require businesses to transition from traditional analogue phone systems to digital communication systems like VoIP. This change may impact how businesses handle voice communications, customer service, and potentially their Internet connectivity. Businesses will need to ensure their communication equipment is compatible with digital networks and may need to invest in new hardware or software.

Q: Are other services impacted by the PSTN Switch Off besides phone lines?
A: Yes, it is not only phone services you need to think about, but anything connected to the old telephone network (all your non-voice services connected to PSTN or ISDN lines), such as Security Systems (CCTV, Alarms, Door Entry Systems), lifts, payment terminals and fax machines.

Q: What should businesses do to prepare for the Switch Off?
A: Businesses should start by evaluating their current telecommunications setup and identifying any equipment that relies on the PSTN. It’s crucial to plan for the purchase and installation of digital systems that are compatible with modern technologies. Now is the time to start exploring the benefits of VoIP and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) services for voice calls, or SoGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access) and FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) for broadband products.  Additionally, businesses should consider training staff to use new systems and updating any communication-related policies and procedures.

Q: Are there cost implications associated with the PSTN Switch Off for businesses?
A: Initially, businesses may incur costs related to upgrading equipment and systems to support digital communications. However, in the long run, digital systems like VoIP often prove to be more cost-effective due to lower call costs, reduced maintenance requirements, and bundled services that include data and video communication.

Q: How can businesses ensure continuity of service during the transition?
A: Businesses should develop a transition plan in collaboration with their service providers. This may involve a phased implementation of digital systems, while maintaining some PSTN services during the transition period. Backup communication plans, such as using mobile networks, should also be considered to ensure continuity.

Q: What are the advantages of digital communication systems over PSTN for businesses?
A: Digital communication systems offer several advantages, including improved voice quality, the ability to integrate with other business systems (like CRM software), advanced collaboration features, such as cloud-based platforms and video conferencing, and scalability to grow with the business. They also often come with better support for mobile or remote working.

Q: How can we help?
A: Ready or not, the 2025 Switch Off is happening, but it’s a journey we can help you navigate. Our specialist communications and connectivity experts at Entropie will help you understand how these network changes will affect your existing products and services. Furthermore, we can help guide you through anything you need to do to minimise any impact on your business.

Call us today on 01908 324 270 or email our team at info@entropie.co.uk to find out more.  

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