Openreach announced plans last year to further accelerate their move away from the traditional telephone service (PSTN) to a new internet-based network. You have probably heard murmurs of the year 2025 when the telephone network as we know it will be switched off by Openreach. Terms such as ‘ISDN switch-off’ may have caught your eye. Maybe you thought that now is too early to consider a move to a VoIP solution.
What is an exchange?
Firstly, to understand what is happening, you should refer to what an exchange is. Telephone exchanges have been around since the beginning of telephone communication. Until the 1960s, they were operated by a person who manually worked the switchboard connecting one caller to another. Over time, this process has been automated. All lines in your area and office will be connected to a local exchange. Traditional calls are routed through local, national and international switches or exchanges that connect a call to its destination. As a part of the ‘switch-off’, calls will need to be routed via the internet or a mobile alternative. The crucial part for you is ensuring you have the right solution in place so your services remain unaffected.
What does the stop sell mean to me?
From September 2023, Openreach intends to issue a full ‘stop sell’ of the traditional telephone network. Services such as single and ISDN lines will cease to provide, meaning no new orders will be accepted. By December 2025, the plan is to have migrated users to alternative services. Your provider should work with you come the time to ensure you do not lose service. What we suggest you do is act now. Why wait? This could be the perfect opportunity for your organisation to work with the likes of VS Group and utilise our expertise in alternative future-proof technologies. What you should keep in mind is that 2025 is the deadline. There are many important dates to note before then.
Stop sell dates
If you live in Salisbury or Mildenhall, you are most likely up to speed with the switch off. These are two pilot areas that a stop sell was announced for December 2020 (Salisbury) and May 2021 (Mildenhall). Traditional line services are to be withdrawn entirely in these areas by December 2022.
The pilot’s success will be used as a benchmark to accelerate the transition to IP or mobile-based products. Further announcements have since been made.
June & October 2021
As part of the Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) rollout, in addition to Salisbury and Mildenhall, a further 116 exchanges across the country, accessed by 1.2 million premises, are due to get access to the new single order fibre broadband by June 2021. Also known as Single Order Generic Ethernet Access or SoGEA, this broadband connection does not require a telephone line. SoGEA technology is based on the current Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) set up. Fibre technology is used from the local exchange to the green street cabinet and then existing copper from the cabinet to your premises.
Since the 12 months’ notice was served on 116 exchanges, upgrades to a further 51 exchanges have been announced for October 2021. The switch is a once in a generation opportunity for business. To check if your local exchange is affected, get in touch with us.
The arrival of SoGEA could transform the way businesses work. Offering download speeds of up to 80Mbps, SoGEA provides faster, more reliable connectivity than ADSL, meaning users can do more online without worrying about buffering.
September 2023 & December 2025
A nationwide stop of the traditional telephone line supply is scheduled, meaning there will no longer be any new orders or installations accepted of several Openreach services after September 2023. Services that will cease to be provided include:
- Analogue lines
- Narrowband Line Share and Classic products.
This date marks the beginning of the end. By December 2025 (if all goes to plan), all of the services listed above will no longer work. First things first, don’t panic! Everyone in the UK will be making the switch to IP-based solutions, so we are all in this together. Use this time as your opportunity to get ahead of the game.
What to do now?
The withdrawal of the traditional telephone line significantly changes how broadband is delivered. Broadband becomes the underlying technology to deliver data and over the top IP services such as Voice over IP (VoIP), enabling the transition to a true digital IP solution. At VS Group, we’ve helped over 500 charities and businesses with broadband and VoIP services over the past decade. So, if you’re looking to take advantage of this great opportunity sooner rather than later, don’t hesitate to contact our team.
All information correct as of April 2021.