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2025 PSTN Switch Off

The Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) is aging, and in 2018, BT Openreach announced that this traditional telephony network will officially be switched off by 2025, with the evolved digital network fully taking it's place.

What is PSTN and ISDN?

The PSTN uses copper wiring to connect Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) together for a phoneline and broadband connection. There are two ISDN types available, both combining calls with Digital and Fibre Broadband; ISDN2, which allows 2 simultaneous calls at one time, and ISDN30, (usually for larger businesses) allowing up to 30 calls at one time. As broadband services have evolved in reliability and speed over the past 10 years, the PSTN has grown to support this change using digital technology. However, this development has meant that traditional fixed phone lines are quickly becoming irrelevant, resulting in the complete termination of the ISDN.

How does this affect telephone services?

With traditional telephony now outdated, telephone services can now be provided over Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This essentially means that following the termination of the PSTN/ISDN in 2025, there will be a Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SoGEA) connection for Broadband Only. This superfast connectivity solution has the potential to reach speeds of up to 330mb and will be used for both internet and telephone services.

VoIP Phone Systems offer a range of benefits including having the freedom to use various devices to make and receive calls including desk phones, computers, laptops and smartphones from anywhere. This geological independence means that achieving business continuity and having a disaster recovery solution is possible without additional cost.

Which areas will be affected?

The PSTN switch off is now inevitable, with the entirety of the UK being affected. The process has already begun in particular areas of the UK, with Openreach already trialling withdrawal in two exchanges, starting with a “stop-sell” in their Salisbury Exchange, as well as the Mildenhall Exchange, with full withdrawal of WLR and ISDN by December 2022.

From September 2023, a full “stop-sell” will be issued by Openreach. This means that PSDN lines will no longer become available for purchase. Consumer rights during this period will still be upheld, therefore, line transfers will be accepted providing there is no change to the installation when the line moves between providers. By December 2025, the PSTN/ISDN will cease to exist.

What if I cannot access a broadband connection in my area?

Ofcom have advised that if you’re in the rare position in which you do not currently have a broadband connection, you will be given the option to purchase a simple connection rather than having to pay out for high-speed services. According to Ofcom, only 2% of homes in the UK are unable to access basic 10Mbps broadband connection.

What is the difference between normal broadband and business broadband?

Business Broadband only shares bandwidth with other businesses. Connections are deployed with the highest speed to your premise, reliability is enhanced, and your data is carried over our business-only network, ensuring you're never competing for bandwidth with residential lines. It also offers high-level download/upload speeds with enhanced service level agreements (SLAs).

Are internet-based calls less reliable?

In most cases, internet-based calls are, in fact, more reliable and customers shouldn’t notice a drop in reliability. Voice calls require a relatively small amount of data to function, and with modern internet connections faster than ever, it’s unlikely for calls to become less reliable going forward.

What happens in the event of a power cut?

Internet-based phones rely on home routers and similar devices, and Ofcom announced that phone operators must provide back-up solutions to ensure that customers are able to contact emergency services if and when required.

Virgin intends to offer battery-powered back-up lines for those who cannot rely on a mobile device to make calls during a power cut. The battery is reported to provide 24 hours of standby and one hour of talk time, with an engineer installing a small box in the customers home to successfully connect.

Will any other systems be affected?

A number of additional systems will be affected by the 2025 switch off including home burglar alarms, security systems, public traffic lights, cash machines, railway signals and motorway signs. All of these will switch to fully-digital alternatives as well as local batteries once the network closes.

How can I prepare for the 2025 switch off?

Introducing PhoneLine+ from Telecoms World – a simple and cost-effective replacement to the traditional telephone line. This replacement solution allows you to make and receive calls from a mobile, desktop soft-phone or traditional handset, giving you more flexibility and control.

The Telecoms World hosted software provides you with complete control over users and numbers, making it easy to add and remove users and reallocate phone numbers as and when required. It’s quick and simple to transfer your existing phone number over to us saving you time and money without the need to update your marketing, signage or stationary. Alternatively, we can setup your PhoneLine+ account with a new local area number to suit your business requirements.

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