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Home News The Big Switch Off 2025 – What It Means For You

The Big Switch Off 2025 – What It Means For You

May 19, 2022 Leo Industry news

The humble landline will become a thing of the past in 2025 when the copper cable that brings traditional call technology to homes and businesses across the UK is switched for an internet-based connection. But don’t worry, you’ll still be able to chat for hours on a traditional handset if you wish, you’ll just be connected differently. 

So, what will the Big Switch Off mean for business users, how will it all work and what can businesses do now to future proof themselves? Here’s our quick guide.  

What is the Big Switch Off?

The Big Switch Off refers to the gradual phasing out of BT’s ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) and Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN). Businesses and homeowners will no longer have the ability to acquire PSTN and ISDN after September 2023, with the old technology being completely switched off in 2025.  

The move will bring an end to the use of analogue phone lines in the UK, with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which allows voice calls to be made over an internet connection, coming in its place. With a robust and reliable internet connection now available across much of the UK, the change will make use of this infrastructure to provide cheaper and clearer phone calls. 

ISDN switch off

The Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) is the familiar landline telephone system that was set up to enable analogue voice communication. This network of copper cables allows data and voice to travel over circuit-switched phone lines and has been the most reliable method of making voice calls and the main carrier of internet activity around the world. 

Then came the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), which used the original PSTN network to transmit voice, video and other services digitally. The ISDN has been improved significantly since its conception in 1986, however as the network has remained mainly unchanged, this is now quite outdated.

Why is ISDN being switched off?

Broadband internet speeds are now much faster and ISDN cannot compete. With a usage decline of more than 30% over the last five years, these legacy systems, with their higher maintenance and running costs, are now deemed out of date. 

That’s hardly surprising given that they still rely on the same design and setup as the original phone lines of the 1800s. With all other areas of technology progressing at light speed, our telecoms systems must keep pace.   

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The rise of VoIP technology

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology 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. Despite the ubiquity of mobile phones, most businesses still require a telephone system but using legacy technology like PSTN or ISDN lines tend to be quite expensive, which is why VoIP has become the best choice for most organisations.

When making the inevitable switch to VoIP, businesses have two choices. They can opt for:

01
On-premises VoIP systems
Hardware and software is required to run the platform and must be installed and housed somewhere on your site. That leads to a higher initial setup cost but usually translates to lower monthly expenses. However, you’ll also be responsible for maintenance costs.
02
Hosted VoIP systems
This full cloud-based system is hosted off-site and typically includes desk phones which connect to your Local Area Network (WAN). A provider is responsible for maintaining the technology and the service in return for a monthly fee. The initial set-up and equipment costs are lower than an on-premises system and any upgrades, maintenance and programming are handled by the provider, which makes life easier for you.

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 for those businesses 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.

One of the potential downsides of VoIP when compared to a PSTN or ISDN system has traditionally been less reliability. Some users complained of poor call quality due to jitter and latency when VoIP first emerged. However, VoIP is now far more reliable than it was and as long as you have a good internet connection that is configured correctly, the sound quality should be better than PSTN. 

To experience the best possible call quality, you will need at least 100kb upstream available for each phone. So, if you have 6 phones in the office, you’ll need 600kb.   

What does the Big Switch Off mean for businesses?

Businesses need to be aware of the upcoming changes so they can explore new VoIP based telephony systems and 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:

  1. Check that you have a reliable and strong internet connection, like fibre. If you don’t, then it’s a good time to think about upgrading.
  2. Find out when your contract is due to be renewed. This will give you an idea of when you can make the switch.
  3. 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.
  4. Don’t buy outdated hardware such as desk phones and phone lines now. All you’ll be doing is wasting your money.
  5. 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. You’ll also make a big saving on contracts and phone lines. 

Need some help to make the switch?

If you’re ready to upgrade to VoIP but don’t know where to start, just get in touch with our expert team. We can help you find the perfect business telephone solution to match your needs and preferences. And, if you want to upgrade your internet connection to accommodate VoIP, then we can help you with that, too. 

May 16, 2022 By Leo
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