BT Openreach announced the end of PSTN and ISDN back in 2015. The telecommunications service provider began shutting down networks in 2020 and will stop taking new orders starting 2023. By December 2025, PSTN circuits will be shut off completely.

What is PSTN and ISDN?

PSTN – stands for Public Switched Telephone Network, the old circuit-switched network that powers traditional telephone lines and cables.

ISDN – stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. It’s a circuit-switched telephone network just like PSTN. The difference is that ISDN transmits voice and data via digital instead of analogue lines. It also provides better voice quality.

What’s happening in the PSTN switch off and why are they doing this?

BT Openreach will be switching off all PSTN services, both for businesses and homes. The phaseout will include ISDN networks since these also run on traditional telephone lines.

Everything else that uses your old phone network will be affected by the switch-off. This includes door entry systems, CCTVs, fax machines, PSTN alarm systems and even electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) machines. Manufacturers are already working on solutions to replace these products so you can retain the same functions post-switch off.

The reason for this is due to the fact ISDN networks can no longer support the speed, scalability and method of communications that businesses need today. 

This is why Openreach has decided to stop investing money and labour into a technology that can’t fulfil the needs of the modern business landscape.

BT Openreach is actively endorsing all-digital communications as replacements for legacy telephone systems. These solutions include cloud telephony, hosted PBX and other internet-based communication systems.

If you’re a business still using landline telephones and fax machines you shouldn’t wait until 2025 to migrate your phone networks. The switch off may sound like years away but there are many factors that you need to consider ahead of the switch. Will you need to get rid of your telephones and purchase new equipment? Is your internet connection fast enough to support cloud telephony?

What should I be switching to instead?

Also referred to as internet telephony, IP telephony and voice over broadband, VoIP phone systems convert voice into digital data and send it over an internet connection. VoIP lets you make phone calls with all the features of traditional telephony systems, such as caller ID, voicemail and call forwarding. You can also keep your landline number in case someone with a VoIP-enabled phone system calls you.

Some of the benefits of VoIP include:

1. Lower cost calls

2. Higher Scalability

3. Supports Multitasking

4. Increasing Accessibility

VoIP is very easy to set up, just ask our telecommunications experts for advice on what solution would best suit your business needs and goals and we can get you up and running.

This isn’t only a chance to upgrade your phone system, it’s also an opportunity to make your entire business communications more seamless and efficient.