What is the PSTN Network Switch Off?

Published on: 17th February 2023
What is the PSTN Network Switch Off?

In November 2012, the telecoms digital switch from PSTN (public switched telephone network) to VoIP (voice over internet protocol) was announced by BT.

This means by the end of 2025, the copper lines that deliver analogue phone services will be deactivated. Instead, your voice will be converted to a digital signal, and a broadband connection will power your conversations. This is known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

While a lot of work has happened behind the scenes to prepare the networks over the last 11 years since the announcement, we now only have two years left to ensure the changes are made with maximum benefit to business.

Why are BT making this change?

Since Victorian hands laid the copper PSTN line, our communication needs and technological capabilities have changed significantly.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a 50% rise in calls for business and personal use (Financial Times, 2020). We increasingly rely on instant, clear and reliable communication, both for everyday life and in times of crisis. The PSTN is no longer able to keep up with these demands, and servicing the outdated physical insfrastructure is becoming ever more difficult as manufacturers are reluctant to keep producing expensive and outdated parts.

Broadband, however, is rapidly moving to fibre optic technology, which is faster, reliable, resilient and easier to maintain. For example, the legacy network looses a lot more signal strength than it’s VoIP counterpart. Fibre connections can be harnessed for telecommunications, offering clearer calls, the ability to make multiple calls simultaneously and future proofing technology within the IoT (internet of things).

There’s also a huge potential to save money by planning ahead and making the most of any tax relief on new equipment. Additionally, because VoIP connects via the same network as your internet, just one broadband connection could replace many analogue lines, saving on maintenance and installation costs.

And it could also be safer too, with the potential to develop tools against scam and nuisance calls.

If you’re still not convinced, check out our blog on why to switch here.

How to change?

1. Select your partner

The right IT partner can guide you through this process. With years of networking and telecoms experience, Communicate could help you make the transition as seamless as possible for your business.

2. Assess your existing analogue infrastructure

Investigate what is connected to the PSTN line. Maybe its just your landlines, or it may be your lift, alarm systems, fax, card payment systems, security cameras and other devices.

Everything connected must be migrated, but that doesn’t mean it has to be like for like, as VoIP technology allows configurations that were simply not possible before. For example, your hybrid workers can now make and receive calls from the same number whether they’re in the office, at home or on the move. You could potentially also consider replacing handsets on the desk with headsets which can be used for both your telephony and your video conferencing rather than having two devices.

On the other hand, some PTSN connected devices may need adapters, and some will need replacing all together.

We can help you audit your existing infrastructure and make sure you don’t miss anything and make best strategy out of the move.

3. Update your connectivity

Ask yourself if the PSTN network switch off could be an opportunity to review how your business telephony needs should look in future. VoIP relies on high quality connection for crystal clear calls, so if your internet is not robust enough already, now is the time to update your connectivity to handle not only your needs today, but your needs in the future.

If you don’t have fibre wiring already in your premises, full fibre will be installed with over underground or over ground cabling.

All this can be a bit of a minefield but as experts in the field, Communicate are ideally placed to understand your needs and guide you though the process of bringing your telephony into the 21st century.

4. Execute

Put the gears into motion with your trusted partner and enjoy the rewards of crystal-clear communications, with more future proofing and strategic connectivity than before.

Two years sounds like plenty of time but it will quickly run out and engineering time will become increasingly harder to book as we approach the deadline, not to mention getting budget approval for your telephony refresh.

Get in touch now to discuss how we can optimise your transition to VoIP at enquires@communicate.technology.

Speak to our engineers and experts.