PSTN & ISDN Switch Off
All the information you need ahead of the closure of the PSTN and how it may impact your business
The PSTN Switch Off
The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) has been in use in this country since 1876, so it’s understandably grown old and tired, and it’s becoming increasingly costly to maintain. Therefore, it needs replacing with new and modern technology, fit for the digital world we now live in.
The PSTN is simply the copper wires we currently use to make and receive telephone calls but, with technology moving forward at a rapid rate, it’s no longer necessary, or as effective, to make calls using the old, degrading system.
As a result, the PSTN will reach end of life in December 2025 and will cease operation after then. At the end of December 2025, these fixed lines and services will be switched off and services withdrawn. If any businesses or consumers have failed to switch to alternative telephony, they will ultimately be left without service.
What do you need to do?
We’re one of only a handful of providers that are actively involved in industry planning meetings regarding the PSTN switch off so, don’t worry, we’ll keep you in the loop.
If you’re currently on an ISDN contract, you don’t need to do anything at the moment. But, be mindful that when your contract is up for renewal, you’ll probably need to switch to a hosted telephony solution.
In Salisbury and Mildenhall, there’s already activity, and Openreach has begun withdrawing services with a view to switching off the PSTN in these areas by December 2022. Replacement products will be launched early in these areas to ensure that everyone is well prepared. If your business is located in Salisbury or Mildenhall, we’ll be in touch!
For everyone else outside these areas, there’ll be no new installations on the PSTN network from 2023 and, in 2025 it’ll all be switched off
What are the dates?
Frequently Asked Questions
The PSTN Switch Off
The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is the infrastructure behind the traditional copper telephone lines that have been in use in the UK since 1876. Understandably, it’s grown old and tired and it’s also becoming increasingly costly to maintain. Therefore, it needs replacing with new, modern technology fit for the digital world we now live in.
In December 2025, the PSTN will reach its end of life and cease all operations. That means all fixed lines and services attached to it will be withdrawn. The PSTN supports several products from BT Openreach which are sold to businesses including Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) lines. Depending on the size of business you operate, you could have either ISDN2 or ISDN30 lines.
If any businesses or consumers fail to switch to alternative telephony by 2025, they will ultimately be left without service. There’s still time to make the move, however why wait when you can upgrade now? The future-proof alternatives to traditional telephony such as a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution or a SIP Trunking product are better quality, more reliable, and usually more cost-effective.
If you’d like to learn more about the PSTN Switch Off and how you can make sure your business is prepared, read on to find out everything you need to know.
What do you need to do?
We’re one of a handful of providers that are actively involved in industry planning meetings regarding the PSTN Switch Off, so we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.
If you’re currently on an ISDN contract, you don’t need to do anything at the moment. But be mindful that when your contract is up for renewal, you’ll probably need to switch to a hosted telephony solution.
In Salisbury and Mildenhall, Openreach has withdrawn services with a view to switching off the PSTN in these areas by 2023. Replacement products will be launched early in these areas to ensure that everyone is well prepared.
For everyone outside of these areas, there’ll be no new installations on the PSTN from 2023. In 2025, it’ll all be turned off.
What is the PSTN and ISDN?
PSTN stands for Public Switched Telephone Network. It’s the copper wire network set up for analogue voice communication, meaning landlines and analogue phones. Then came the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) which uses the traditional PSTN network to allow the digital transmission of voice, video, and other services simultaneously. But with technology moving forward at a rapid rate, it’s no longer necessary, or as effective, to make calls using the old, degrading system.
Who is affected by the 2025 switch off?
The 2025 switch off will affect all homes and businesses currently operating on ISDN or PSTN lines, meaning consequences for anyone still relying on fixed landlines for communication. If your business has Ethernet in the First Mile, Fibre Ethernet or FTTP, your services will not be impacted.
So are landlines being phased out?
Essentially, yes. The PSTN Switch Off also means a landline switch off and analogue phone switch off. After BT Openreach stop traditional phone lines, the UK will go through a complete digital switchover in 2025. All analogue phones will cease to work in both homes and businesses.
What replacement products are available?
Traditional PBX systems will be replaced by VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), phone systems that allows you to make calls over the internet. The results are better quality calls, smaller bills, and a whole host of features. VoIP solutions are also scalable and can grow with your business.
There’s also the option of SIP Trunking which combines VoIP technology with your existing on-premise telephone system to preserve your current features, numbers, and call quality while adding the benefits of a hosted voice solution.
Will my broadband be impacted?
If you currently have a broadband service that is supported on a single line, your provider will be in touch to migrate this to an alternative single order broadband (SOGEA). This means that your broadband will move to a single service with no line rental. If you’re using your line for voice, you’ll be offered a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) alternative.
If your business needs an even faster connection, you should look into Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). Full fibre isn’t available UK-wide yet, but you can see if your business is in a full fibre enabled area with our postcode checker now.
Will anything else be impacted?
It’s not just traditional telephony that sits on PSTN lines; other devices such as alarm lines, payment terminals, fax machines, and security cameras also utilise the network to transfer data. If you own any of these devices, you’ll need to find out whether they are IP-compatible from the manufacturer. Openreach can also provide line test facilities.
If they aren’t IP-compatible, these devices will need to be replaced. Otherwise, they can be moved onto a single order product. Or if you’re looking to go wireless, there’s the option of connecting these devices over IoT (Internet of Things) networks via intelligent mobile data.
What do I do if I’ve got an ISDN line?
Telephone services no longer have to rely on the degrading copper infrastructure. With VoIP, your data transmits over the internet. However, for your new VoIP system to work, you’ll need a good quality internet connection so the solution can run seamlessly.
When will Openreach start withdrawing services?
Openreach has already started trialling the withdrawal of services in exchanges, the first being in its Salisbury exchange, Wiltshire, and the second being the Mildenhall exchange, Bury St. Edmunds. Other exchanges are not due to enter withdrawal until much closer to December 2025.
What happens in 2023?
From September 2023, Openreach will issue a full ‘stop sell’ of new supply meaning there will be no new line installation for Single PSTN lines or ISDN. Customers who already have the affected Openreach products will be able to continue using them until the switch off. Consumer rights during this period will still be upheld so line transfers will be accepted providing there is no change to the installation when the line moves from one provider to another.
What happens in 2025?
Your provider will strive to migrate all PSTN services to alternative solutions before the December 2025 deadline. However, if any of your services remain on the PSTN network, then they will be withdrawn. Any businesses or consumers that fail to switch to alternative telephony will ultimately be left without service.
Useful PSTN Switch Off Resources
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