Are you switched on about the switch-off?

Telecoms /

Did you know that in December 2025, the UK's old copper-based telecom's network will be switched off, resulting in the withdrawal of all traditional telephone services?

Replacing the copper cabling with fibre optic lines is about to begin in some areas. The changeover will be completed by the end of 2025. This means that every business and household in the UK will need to replace their traditional telephone service with an IP (Internet Protocol) based telephone service.

PSTN - The Public Switched Telephone Network. Most residential telephone services use the network. A lot of security and alarm systems and some businesses also utilise PSTN phone lines.
 
ISDN - The Integrated Services Digital Network. Businesses use ISDN lines to connect to a telephone system enabling companies to provide a direct phone number for individual team members or departments.
 
ADSL - The Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. ADSL uses your traditional PSTN line together with a "microfilter" on the line. The microfilter allows you to make calls and use the internet at the same time. ADSL is an analogue service, and the speed is dictated by the distance from the local telephone exchange.

Why is the switch-off happening?

The existing copper-based telephone network is old and is reaching the end of life. Some parts of which are over 140 years old and are difficult and expensive to maintain. Also, compared to fibre optic lines, copper lines are considered slow and unreliable.

Fibre optic lines can quickly transmit large amounts of data, are more dependable and provide much greater flexibility than copper-based lines.

How this affects you and your business

The switch-off could impact your telephone lines, security alarms, card machines and internet connection.

Even though you might think you have years to migrate, you shouldn't bury your head in the sand, as the first phase of the switch-off has already begun. The ISDN "Stop Sell", a term used by Openreach to restrict the sale of any new services that utilise a PSTN or ISDN line, began in Sailsbury in December. A further 117 telephone exchanges will issue the "Stop Sell" on the 29th of June 2021. It is due to be in place across the entire UK by September 2023, meaning that nobody will be able to add or buy new services for their PSTN or ISDN telephone lines.

In addition to not being able to order new services, you also won't be able to add new features to your existing lines, including services such as call barring, caller display and the 1471 service.

What do you need to do?

To put it simply, you need to migrate your traditional telephone service over to an IP based telephone service, also known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

You will need to audit your existing telephone services and speak to an expert about finding the right VoIP solution for your needs. The end goal will be a seamless migration to a superior service with no downtime.

The switch-off is an excellent opportunity to bring your communication services up to date, improve the way you work and save money. There's going to be a massive demand for VoIP services over the next few years, so you need to make sure you don't leave things till the last minute, or you risk being at the back of the queue.

What is VoIP?

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a proven technology that allows you to make and receive calls over the internet. VoIP telephone services offer numerous benefits and advantages over traditional telephony services, including;

Significant cost savings – No line rental, free internal calls and low call rates
Flexibility – Work from anywhere using an IP Phone or Desktop or Mobile App
Scalability – Instantly add more users, numbers and services at any time
Improved customer experience – With a variety of call features
Disaster recovery and business continuity – Automatic failover as standard
Efficiency and Collaboration – See the status of your colleagues, merge and transfer calls for free

Your next steps

Firstly, there is no need to panic; there is still time to prepare for the migration, even in areas where the stop sell process is already active. Despite that, the longer you wait, the more it will cost you. Using a VoIP service will ultimately save you money and provide you with more features than your traditional telephony service.

Being one of the first VoIP providers in the UK, we've helped thousands of businesses flourish. We have many customers who use our services every day and trust TTNC to keep their communication flowing. Our multi-award-winning VoIP service provides you with advanced cloud-based call features as standard with no contracts or hidden usage policies.

If you are looking to migrate to VoIP, this is how we typically handle the process:

Step 1 - Communications Audit

We usually start by asking you about the communication services you currently use. We ask questions such as "What sort of internet connection do you have?", "How many sites do you have?", "How many lines do you currently use?", "What services would you like to use but currently can't?", "What equipment are you using?"

Once we have completed the audit, we will review the information, propose a solution, and provide a quote. Unless you have particularly complicated requirements, we can usually complete the audit and provide you with a quote within 24 hours.

Step 2 - Handsets, Hardware and Apps

Once you have signed up to use our service, we will send your chosen telephone handsets or provide you with our Mobile and Desktop Apps.

Here's an important note; you may not need to change your existing handsets to use VoIP. We can provide you with analogue telephone adapters and VoIP gateways to work with your existing handsets and hardware.

To get the most from our VoIP service, we generally recommend that you upgrade to VoIP telephones. We offer a wide range of VoIP hardware at great prices, which have been hand-picked to get the most from your VoIP service. All our phones come pre-configured to ensure it's as simple as "plug & play" once delivered.

If you want to connect Mobiles or PCs to your new IP telephone system, we provide free Desktop and Mobile Apps which you and your team can use. Ideal for remote working or when you're on the move.

Step 3 - Go Live

The third and final step is to switch off your old service and switch on your new VoIP service. This step can make some people nervous, but don't worry, we do this all of the time, there is no downtime, and it's a well-established process within the industry.

The process involves ceasing your service and moving your existing telephone numbers from your old provider to TTNC, known as Number Porting. All you need to do is complete a form, and we take care of the rest.

You select a date and a time for when you want the port to occur, and your number stays active with your old provider right up until it switches to us. There's no downtime; we simply let you know once the port is complete.

Get in touch with TTNC

If you feel ready to migrate to VoIP, or need a little bit of advice about the best way to proceed, get in touch with us on 020 3151 1000 or email sales@ttnc.co.uk, and we'll be happy to help.

Paul Bell