The Big Switch-Off

As technological advancements shape our world, the shift from old to new becomes inevitable. "The Big Switch-Off" marks the UK's transition from traditional telecommunication methods to futuristic fibre connectivity. Dive in to discover what this change entails, why it's happening, and how you can stay ahead.

A big orange off button

Key points:

  1. Fibre connectivity is the future to meet modern speed and reliability demands 
  2. The UK's Public Switch Telephone Network is being switched off in 2025
  3. Many voice and data connectivity services will be affected, some will cease
  4. Regional fibre availability will affect what services are available as replacement
  5. Don't be left behind, switch now and adopt full fibre technology now

What is the PSTN switch off?

The Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) is the traditional voice communications technology in the UK. Based on analogue electrical communications over copper cables, the technology has been continually developed and now incorporates data communication between modern digital computer systems. 

PSTN services are being discontinued at the end of 2025. All analogue voice services will cease, as will data services that are tied to the PSTN network. This change is referred to as the Big Switch Off.

With this major change, it’s time to upgrade your telecoms and connectivity to ensure your business stays in touch and ready for an all-digital future!

Why is PSTN being switched off?

The traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) was formed in the late 1800s, and is made from copper cables. The cables are ageing and the network is becoming increasingly costly and difficult to maintain. 

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) played a significant role in the evolution away from the traditional PSTN towards more modern communication. Established in the 1980’s, ISDN uses digital signals for transmission, carrying voice and video data together. However, one drawback is that ISDN still depends on copper lines, which can be easily damaged as they age.

The world now demands mobile and internet communications with speed, accessibility and reliability at the top of the agenda. Digital technology via full fibre is the answer. The UK is updating local telephone exchanges across the UK to develop a fibre network. Rather than continue maintaining both fibre and copper based networks, the UK has decided to retire the old PSTN in favour of fibre-based connectivity services.

Who is affected?

According to reports, around 2.4 million businesses across the UK still operate on legacy telephone lines and ISDN networks - served by the PSTN (public switched telephone network). 

If you use the PSTN for voice comms you will definitely need to find an alternative. But even if not, all traditional PSTN-based services will be obsolete. So even if you are already using Voice over IP (VoIP), if you are using one of the affected services, such as:

  • analogue or digital phone lines, 
  • ISDN phone systems 
  • older internet connections such as DSL, GFast and FTTC 

You will also need to change the connectivity service to a modern alternative.

Any equipment that currently utilises the PSTN network will also need to be upgraded to an alternative solution: alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems, CCTV and so on.

What will happen when?

In September 2023 the UK national ‘stop sell’ came into effect. This means every provider in the UK has stopped selling PSTN services. PSTN will cease operating in December 2025. By this time, every business in the UK will need to have moved to a fully digital network that uses Internet Protocol (IP) across a fibre-based service.

What if I wait?

Don't wait. Engineering resources will be limited as the deadline comes closer. Complex migrations tend to get delayed and will start to become the focus as time passes. The longer the switch is delayed, the greater the risk of still being dependent on the PSTN when it is switched off. Now is the time to switch to a modern alternative. 

If you currently have a PSTN service you'll need to switch your services to a VoIP telephony solution and your broadband to a fibre-based solution. Upgrade your services and systems now so that you can take advantage of the benefits of hosted telephony and fibre connectivity ahead of the competition and future proof your business connectivity.

Move to full-fibre

The future is fibre so going forward, all phone calls will be made over the internet using IP technology and solutions such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) voice technology and broadband services such as SoGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access), FTTP (Fibre to the Premises), full fibre broadband and leased lines. Talk to us to find out how we can help.

How do I switch to VoIP?

FlexIT is here to assist your business in transitioning to VoIP seamlessly through our partnership with leading provider Firstcom Europe. We offer user-friendly interfaces, encrypted calls, quality CISCO handsets, and excellent UK call centre support. Find out more to explore how our hosted telecoms solution can elevate your business communications.

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