Digital transformation concept for next generation voice technology
Dave Willetts CSL - Head of Key Accounts
2.5 min read

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is on the verge of retiring, paving the way for a new era of advanced and efficient communication technologies. Across the UK, a staggering 14 million lines and channels have been the backbone of communication, with a substantial 9.5 million still awaiting the upgrade to more contemporary solutions over the next 24 months.

Why is PSTN switch-off happening and what will replace it?

The telecom landscape is evolving, and the shift away from the ageing PSTN is a natural progression. With advancements in digital communication technologies, PSTN is becoming outdated, inefficient, and costly to maintain.

In 2025, the PSTN will be switched off, disrupting many industries. Traditional landlines and voice services currently supported by PSTN will need to be switched to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), before the deadline.

Major telecom providers, including BT Openreach, are phasing out traditional copper wire telephone services in favour of All IP (Internet Protocol) networks. All IP promises enhanced reliability, scalability, and a broader selection of communication features for businesses.

Businesses and the PSTN switch-off: Addressing the awareness gap

Despite the availability of better alternatives, approximately 70% of UK businesses are still using and relying on landlines, as indicated by a recent survey by National Business Communications, which revealed some alarming statistics. Surprisingly, 24% of businesses don't even know that BT Openreach plans to stop the old phone services by 2025. 

This lack of awareness poses risks, emphasising the need for businesses to stay informed and prepared. The survey reveals a significant gap in understanding, urging businesses to take proactive steps to educate themselves about the upcoming changes and ensure a smooth transition.

2023 National Business Communications Survey Results

Are you aware of the Big Switch Off?

Does your business use a landline?

To better understand the urgency, businesses need to be aware of the current progress in the PSTN Switch-Off. Our article on the regional rollout of BT's switch-off provides key dates and insights into the areas affected this year. Being informed about these milestones is crucial for businesses to plan their transition and avoid disruptions.

Risk limitation in the PSTN transition: Ensuring business continuity

Not upgrading before the switch-off could lead to serious problems. Imagine a situation where a vital service, like a lift alarm, stops working because of old technology. Someone gets stuck, and that's not just inconvenient – it's a safety risk. Business leaders could face serious criticism, or worse, for not making necessary upgrades, putting both business and people at risk.

Major businesses and enterprises often find themselves procrastinating on crucial changes, a habit ingrained in human behaviour. What escapes the notice of these businesses is the substantial time investment required for implementation, particularly when dealing with the upgrade of 50,000 units spread across numerous locations throughout the UK.

Crafting a tailored solution for extensive business scenarios can require careful planning over several months. Unfortunately, as many businesses tend to delay upgrades until the eleventh hour, there's a looming risk of disruptions to their digital voice transformation. Moreover, the surge in demand, with everyone putting this off until the last possible moment, could result in a backlog of installations, further complicating the process.

The PSTN Switch-Off is happening, and businesses need to pay attention. Moving to All IP isn't just about using new technology; it's about making sure your business stays safe and operational. By understanding why the switch-off is happening, knowing the current state of awareness, staying updated on progress, and taking steps to prepare, businesses can smoothly navigate this big change.

Preparing for change: A guide for businesses in the PSTN transition

As the countdown to the switch-off continues, businesses find themselves at a stage where proactive measures are essential for a seamless transition. An important starting point involves a comprehensive assessment of your existing communication infrastructure. Understanding the potential impact of the switch-off on your day-to-day operations is key. In this light, exploring contemporary alternatives, such as CSL's VoiceLink becomes imperative. This innovative solution offers a pathway towards modernisation, ensuring your business stays ahead in the evolving communication landscape.

Working with experienced telecom professionals, like CSL, provides extra assurance during this transition. Your business will benefit from customised strategies that perfectly match your needs. This collaboration not only improves overall readiness for the switch-off but also ensures a seamless migration to the All IP era, securing your communication infrastructure for the future.

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