British Telecom ISDN 'Switch Off'

British Telecom (BT) has decided to end their PSTN and ISDN networks in favour of Internet Protocol (IP) voice servers. The transition will begin in 2020, with complete closure of the networks in 2025.

Ofcom predicts that there are still 2 million businesses using these networks with a lot of companies still unaware of the change. So what does this mean for businesses?

PSTN and ISDN and why are they being switched off?

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) was set up for analogue voice communication and became a reliable way to make voice calls and carry an internet connection. ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Connection) came along and used the PSTN network to digitally transmit voice and video simultaneously.

Why the switch off? Simply, PSTN and ISDN have become outdated. The connections are essentially the same as the ones for the original telephone. Also, the maintenance and running costs have become outdated.

What will they be replaced with?

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will replace ISDN of which there are 2 'flavours’: Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Trunks which allow connectivity for on-premises systems and Hosted VoIP handsets where the systems are off premises in the Cloud.

What steps should you take?

If you are an existing business, take a look at when your current contract ends to make the changeover. It’s advisable to use VoIP or SIP when renewing your contract (even if before the 7-year deadline) to avoid disruption at a later stage. This will help you save money and prepare your business for the change.

For start-ups or transitioning companies, check the internet connection and bandwidth of the office location where you will be based. A weak internet connection or ISDN line will lead to problems once BT has made the switch.

If you wish to discuss in more detail or have any queries about your current networks in place, contact us here.

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