Back in 2015 British Telecom (BT) announced that by 2025 it intended to upgrade all analogue (PSTN) to fully digital based (IP) infrastructure.

The reason for this is the cold hard reality of cost; the equipment that runs the PSTN network is aging rapidly, replacement parts are becoming scarce and suppliers have gone out of business. The workforce who helped to build the network are leaving, so there is a shortage of knowledge and skills. The 21CN (21st Century Network) is based on modern IP technology so it is cheaper to run and maintain.  

Sowhat does this mean for your business and how can you prepare for this? While the December 2025 end to the PSTN is not set-in stone, and we have no idea how the events of 2020 will impact the migration plan, we can almost be certain that there will be an impact and it will involve an extension of the switch offAs such we cannot become complacent and leave it until 2024 or 2025 to start taking action. In Germany (who switched off their ISDN in 2018) there was a rush, as businesses realised that they had left it too late to plan adequately, leaving them to make quick decisions which could have had a costly impact on their business.  

There are many things in a typical office that could be using the PSTN network which will need to be investigated and a migration plan put in place before 2025, these include: 

  • Normal phone lines 
  • In house PBX systems  
  • Fax machines 
  • “help point” phones 
  • Card Payment Machines 
  • Franking machines  
  • Alarm Systems 
  • Door Entry 
  • Monitoring Systems 

You may find that most things in the office are already communicating to their “home bases over your offices local network for WiFi, but if not, then a migration to IP communications will need to be implemented before 2025. 

If you have a legacy in-house PBX that is fully owned by your company, or you are just using a standard telephone line for your business, then you are ideally suited to migrate to an IP based telephony solution, either in-house or hosted in the cloud. This will future proof your business and mitigate the impact of the shutdown of the PSTN network to zero.  

Why should we move to an IP Based telephony? 

  • Portability – wherever you have an internet connection you can work 
  • Administration – you can easily administer the system, a new user can be created in a few minutes, If you office closes for a holiday then calls can be routed to another office etc 
  • No need for lots of onsite equipment (if any) and you only need to pay for the users you have 
  • Costs – both line rental and call costs are significantly cheaper when using IP technology.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.