Phones and internet connectivity are vital to practically every organisation. That’s why managers or owners of charities and businesses need to be aware of any changes and potential disruptions to their current service.
Cue the arrival of 2025, when BT is planning a full switch off for PSTN and ISDN services. Read on as we discuss why it’s happening, what it means for you, and how to minimise disruption.
What is the BT PSTN switch off?
PSTN stands for the Public Switched Telephone Network, often referred to as a standard telephone line. Traditionally, it was the most commonly used technology for phones which require one device, one number and one conversation per line. It’s also the kind of phone line used for dial-up connectivity in the early days of the internet.
ISDN is the slightly more advanced technology that provides digital transmission of voice and data. The main advantage is that it allows more than one channel, so you can integrate it with a PBX system where multiple employees are using the line simultaneously.
While they have both served an essential purpose in the past, they have become outdated with various emerging alternatives. They’re also costly to maintain, which is why BT is switching both networks off in 2025.
Will it affect my organisation?
The answer is both yes and no. Yes, BT’s PSTN switch off will affect everyone – including residential and business lines – because they will all be switched off. However, 2025 is also the date by which BT expects all phone lines to be digital.
Put simply, all users will have been moved over to Openreach – BT’s digital network – before the switch off takes place (or alternative provider with its own infrastructure such as Virgin). Most importantly, the digital services you’ll be moving to are more flexible, feature-rich and cost-effective.
However, that doesn’t mean you’re completely in the clear. Over the years, individuals and organisations may have had various other systems connected to their phone lines, including alarms, door entry systems and emergency lift lines. If you haven’t upgraded them to digital, it’s best to do so before 2025.
Preparing for the change
As well as minimising reliance on your traditional phone line by upgrading the services linked to it, you can prepare for BT’s PSTN switch off by switching to alternative communication technology over the next four years.
VoIP is the natural successor to traditional phone lines, enabling you to take calls via the internet wherever you are with a reliable connection. Use the same number from any device and benefit from advanced real-time analytics and call management features.