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From Dial Tone to Digital: How the PSTN Switch-Off Will Transform Communication in the UK

Navigating the imminent switch-off of the PSTN/ISDN network in 2025 presents both business challenges and opportunities.

As this event draws closer, companies are left contemplating the transformative impact on their infrastructure and seeking strategies to mitigate potential disruptions to their operations.

To support businesses in this transition, we’ve crafted a comprehensive impact guide, elucidating the hardware that will be affected and outlining seamless upgrade pathways that won’t burden your organization with unnecessary costs.

Embracing the shift from analog systems to fully digital services based on Internet Protocol (IP) may seem intricate at first glance. However, by migrating your EPOS, alarms, telephones, and more to hardware operating on a fiber-based network like VoIP and SIP trunking systems, this transformation can be executed with simplicity and ease.

The What, When, and Why

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) are currently intertwined networks responsible for transmitting voice, video, and other data through the UK’s phone lines.
Considering the elevated maintenance expenses and the rapid digital expansion in the UK, BT has proclaimed its intention to terminate these networks by December 2025. This decisive move involves transitioning all communication infrastructure to a more agile and efficient fiber-based system utilizing internet data transfer.

This novel system harnesses the power of the internet to exchange data and has been underway since 2020. For enterprises, this transition signifies that any hardware reliant on the old technology or incompatible with the new framework will cease to function post the switch-off.

The Scope of Impact on Your Business

Outlined below is a roster of the central components within your communication infrastructure that the network termination will impact:

  1. Business Phone Lines: ISDN lines, designed to overcome PSTN limitations, are often utilized by businesses for their telephone services. With the ISDN switch-off, phone hardware operating on ISDN will become non-operational.
  2. Security Alarms: Older signalling systems utilizing direct phone line connections via PSTN or ISDN will cease functioning post-transition.
  3. CCTV: Closed-circuit television surveillance systems that transmit alerts over PSTN when detecting suspicious activity will no longer be functional after the PSTN is decommissioned.
  4. EPOS Machines: Small businesses often connect their Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) systems to their phone lines, including card machines for financial transactions. PSTN and ISDN discontinuation will sever this connection.
  5. Fax Machines: Facsimile machines sending data via an analog interface to PSTN will lose their ability to transmit information.
  6. Premises Entry/Exit Systems: Security access door panels tied to PSTN through telephone lines will become inactive; however, wireless operation can be implemented as an alternative.

The extensive impact on crucial business systems underscores the necessity of a comprehensive approach. By contacting Fidelity Group concerning the switch-over, you ensure that all these facets are appropriately addressed.

The Effort and Cost of Transition

As a mandatory transformation for all UK businesses before 2025, the consequences of not adopting IP technologies could prove substantially costly and time intensive. Nevertheless, the process of upgrading infrastructure can be streamlined and efficient, offering multiple benefits for your business going forward.

Migration to fiber-based infrastructure and IP technology brings superior speeds and quality, fostering business expansion and heightened productivity. Digital services like VoIP translate to minimal or no phone call costs and enhanced flexibility. Even if your business is bound to an early ISDN contract termination fee, the switch could yield savings of 50-70% on call expenses, eliminating monthly line rentals and reducing ongoing maintenance costs.

Anticipate the Switch-Off: With the 2025 deadline rapidly approaching, it is recommended to prepare for life after ISDN and PSTN in advance, gaining an edge over competitors and accessing enhanced connectivity at a reduced expense.

Our team of experts at Fidelity Group is primed to expedite this process, ensuring a swift, smooth, and stress-free transition. We manage every facet of your IP upgrade, from installation to device monitoring, allowing you to refocus on critical endeavors such as business growth.

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