The ISDN PSTN Switch Off is expected but still shocking as for decades, businesses have relied on legacy telephone networks like PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) for their communication needs. PSTN refers to the traditional landline phone system that has been used since the late 19th century. ISDN came later as a digital upgrade to transfer data over the analogue PSTN network.
These systems have provided businesses with the infrastructure for basic voice calling, faxing, modems, credit card processing, alarm systems and more. However, the technology behind PSTN/ISDN is now outdated and costly to maintain. Major telecom providers like BT Openreach have announced plans for a complete ISDN PSTN Switch Off over the next few years.
This switch off will force businesses to migrate to more modern communication platforms. Companies that fail to prepare for this transition could face major disruptions to their operations and finances. In this blog post, we’ll break down everything business owners need to know about the upcoming ISDN/PSTN switch off and how to get ready.
BT Openreach has announced that the PSTN network in the UK will be switched off completely by December 2025. The older ISDN networks will also cease to function at the same time.
This switch off is happening because the outdated infrastructure behind PSTN/ISDN makes it difficult and expensive to maintain and upgrade. Openreach aims to transition all voice and data services over to digital networks based on fiber optic cables and Internet Protocol (IP).
The new networks will provide higher call quality, faster speeds, greater resilience, and more advanced features. They are also easier to service and scale up as demand grows.
The timeline for the PSTN/ISDN shutdown is:
Businesses have a few years to prepare, but should start planning their transition well in advance to avoid any disruption when the switch off takes effect.
The PSTN/ISDN switch off will impact any business that relies on these legacy networks for voice services, data connectivity, and specialty systems.
Key systems that will be affected include:
Operationally, this could mean major disruptions to communications, sales, security and other critical business functions if the switch off happens before migration is complete.
Financially, businesses will incur costs related to:
Careful planning is required to minimize expenses and business impact.
Businesses have several technology options to replace their legacy ISDN/PSTN systems:
Key benefits businesses can realize:
To transition fully, businesses will likely need to invest in new IP phones, routers, switches and other gear to replace legacy hardware. Network upgrades may also be required. IT consultants can assist with requirements.
To ensure a smooth transition, businesses should follow these steps:
Starting the migration process well in advance is key. Test solutions thoroughly and optimize through pilot deployments before full rollout.
The ISDN and PSTN switch off will significantly impact business communications if companies are not prepared. It is critical to start the migration process as early as possible to avoid disruptions when the networks are discontinued.
While the switch off requires effort and expense in the near term, it also provides a valuable opportunity to modernize your company’s communications technology. Upgrading to VoIP, SIP trunking and cloud-based phone solutions will enable advanced features, mobility, reliability and lower costs.
Use this transition as a chance to enhance productivity and customer service with unified communications capabilities not possible on aging PSTN hardware. With careful planning and expert help, you can ensure your business is running better than ever on next-generation phone systems when the switch off takes effect. Contact your telecom solution provider to start preparing now.