ISDN switch off: a major change to business telecoms

For close to 150 years, infrastructure that has enabled calls between fixed telephony devices has remained largely unchanged. Some were made 30 years ago but it would be more apt to describe these as augmentations than actual changes; with lines essentially being enhanced in order to facilitate higher-speed exchanges of data.

Whilst traditional lines have, by and large, remained untouched for a century and a half, though, what they enable remains an integral part of nigh-on every organisation: the ability to communicate.

Now, a significant change – one that will fundamentally change communications setups – looms on the horizon: this infrastructure – in place since the 19th century – is to be permanently switched off.

As of 2025, PSTN and ISDN lines will no longer be operational. As a result, telephony solutions reliant on this infrastructure will no longer function from this date.

The need to act

Now, we’re fully aware of the fact that many of you will already know this. We also know that a large portion of those that are only now learning this will be unconcerned. VoIP solutions have been commonplace for some time now, with many businesses already enjoying reduced costs and the other enhanced features they offer. In spite of this, an alarmingly large number of businesses are still reliant on this infrastructure – and an equally unnerving number are oblivious to the impending obsolescence of their existing solutions.

Whilst communications technologies have advanced considerably in recent years, humble office telephones are still an integral part of modern businesses. They facilitate rapid correspondence between sales teams and prospects. Allow customers to have queries answered and resolutions delivered rapidly. Swift contact between employees and enhanced efficiency are further benefits.

There are too many advantages to list yet an astonishing two million businesses throughout the UK are still reliant on networks that will soon be terminated. Furthermore, a quarter is unaware of the fact that this switchover is taking place.

The technology solution

We’ve mentioned VoIP previously and, for many businesses still reliant on traditional telephonic hardware and soon-to-be-obsolete infrastructure, it provides an immediately accessible and robust solution.

This positive advance towards smarter communications for many organisations will also see a large reduction of costs, not only for service rental and call costs but also the release of single order internet products, known as SOTAP, SOGEA and SOGFast (replacements for the current FTTC and FTTP products – ADSL will no longer be available). This will mean that paying for line rental will become a thing of the past, saving the average SME between £20 and £200 per month.

Using modern infrastructure to exchange packets of voice data between devices, VoIP is a reliable means of enabling telephonic communication that is typically cheaper and more feature-rich than solutions using old PTSN and ISDN lines. Older hardware like handsets can easily be modified and used with it. Alternatively, it can run on a number of devices commonly found throughout offices such as PCs, tablets etc.

Vitally, the installation process is also straightforward. Typically, minimal hardware needs to be installed on-site and service contracts can be activated almost instantaneously.

How ROCK can help

As one of the many leading telecoms providers in the UK, we have been involved in consultations with Openreach and the Federation of Communication Suppliers since the 2018 consultations and have made sure our clients will be fully supported and ready for the switch off.

One of the ways we've done this is by ramping up education on our in-house VOIP alternatives. ROCK IP is a powerful VoIP-based solution offering large call allowances, robustness and numerous features. For larger or more call-intensive organisations, advanced analytical and forecasting tools can be amalgamated with ROCK IP to enable expeditious analysis and agile practice.


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