The way broadband and telephone services are delivered to homes and businesses in the UK is currently undergoing a huge change, known as the PSTN and ISDN switch off, and this will affect you and your business.

So, if you aren’t already up to date, now’s the time to start learning about what this all means for your business with our simple guide.

What is the PSTN and ISDN Switch Off? 

In 2015, Openreach, which is responsible for the UK’s main broadband and phone networks, announced its decision to switch off the existing Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). There’s a lot of words here, but all you need to know is that these are the networks that have delivered our communication services for decades.

These services are out of date and frankly, unfit for the demands of the digital age. Plus, the running and maintenance costs of these creaking legacy networks are increasing at pace. Openreach is set to switch off both networks by 2025.

Your Essential SME Full Fibre Checklist

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What’s Replacing the Old Networks?

The old networks are currently being replaced with fibre optic cables that transmit data at light speed directly into your premises. This is referred to, sensibly, as Fibre to the Premises or FTTP. Once installed, FTTP networks deliver both a high-speed broadband connection and internet-based telephone services to residential and business premises.

Now, you may be thinking that you already have a fibre broadband connection, and that’s probably correct, but you’re probably using something called Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC).

With FTTC, the fibre optic cables run from your local exchange to a green street cabinet near your premises – you’ve probably walked right past one of these in the last week. The big difference is that this cabinet is connected to your premises by a copper cable, which makes the service slower and less reliable.

With FTTP fibre optic cables connect all the way from local exchange directly into your premises, and with not copper cables, your service is faster and more reliable. Most businesses rely on broadband and phone connections to keep things running and keep in contact with customers. This improved connection can help provide a better service and can also be upgraded beyond anything previously available, for faster speeds and to support more devices. So, it’s much better suited to the needs of growing, modern businesses. You can check out the top five reasons that small businesses are making the switch to fibre here.

What About my Old Phone Line?

When the switch off happens in 2025, your traditional landline will no longer work. In addition, you won’t be able to install any new landlines from 2023.

When you make the switch, your phoneline will run via your internet connection using a system called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or Cloud Voice. Don’t worry about losing your existing business number, you can take this with you, and it’s a simple process that’s managed by your provider.

You can use VoIP via a device that sits within your premises and looks very similar to your current home phone. You can also use an app to take your calls across a range of devices – like mobiles, laptops and tablets – so you’re always connected to your customers via your business phone number.

Futureproof Your Business

In essence, the PSTN and ISDN Switch Off is good for you and your business. The new services guarantee your speed, and provide a quicker and more reliable internet connection, and a more simple and flexible way to make and take phone calls.

So, while the imminent switch to FTTP and a VoIP phones may sound like a hassle, in reality it’s a simple way to future-proof your business, making it faster and more resilient.

Your Essential SME Full Fibre Checklist

Wifi RouterTo prepare for the upgrade of your broadband to full fibre (FTTP), there are
a few steps you can take in advance to maximise your investment and
reduce hassle.