It’s the biggest change in the communication industry for 30 years. Despite falling numbers of UK businesses using the soon-to-be-defunct analogue ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network) and PSTN (Public Switch Telephone Network) to make calls and send faxes, around 40% still need to fully migrate to an IP (Internet Protocol) system.
Let’s look at why BT are switching off analogue after December 2025; what you should do if this move affects you, and what will be the resulting benefits of changing to internet-based communications.
So why are BT switching off analogue phonelines?
It’s partly to do with cost, in that the technology for analogue phonelines, namely copper lines running underground, is as old as when it was first invented in the Victorian era. The costs of maintaining these lines increases, whilst at the same time, better, more reliable, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology exists for making calls and sending faxes.
I still use ISDN, or PSTN, to make calls, and send faxes, what should I do?
If you still use landlines to send data through calls and faxes, then after 2020, BT will no longer sell those ISDN, and PSTN services and equipment, and after 2025, there will be no maintenance of the lines that serve that equipment.
If you have a new-ish phone system, it may be that it is fit for VoIP technology anyway, and you just didn’t know it. New telecoms equipment either has adapters built in, or can accommodate external adapters that convert analogue data to data that can be sent by VoIP.
If your phone system cannot be adapted to VoIP technology then it may be a good time to overhaul your hardware, invest in newer technology and get fully future-proofed for IP communications.
Your internet connectivity is vital
One thing is definite, if you are moving from analogue phonelines to IP communication services such as VoIP, cloud-hosted telephony or any web-based solutions for faxing and sending data, you will need to make sure that your internet connection and bandwidth are more than sufficient to be able to cope.
Although VoIP itself, does not use high bandwidth, video-calling does, so it’s worth ensuring that your connection is sufficient.
If you do not have business-grade broadband, now is the time to get advice, so that your communication systems have the connectivity needed to operate effectively.
Benefits to switching from analogue
Simply by moving your business away from technology that is old, with high costs of maintenance, is a positive move. But what else will you gain by moving to internet-enabled communication?
- Scalability – at the press of a button you can have a new line, as opposed to waiting 60 days for a van to come out and have the road dug up
- Cost – if your equipment can support communication over the internet, then your outlay is very little, and you and your colleagues have only to download an app and make sure you have sufficient broadband
- Work integration – using cloud-based systems such as Office 365 to make calls and conference calls means you can integrate the relevant workflow and tasks and streamline, and organise, work by projects, task group, etc.
Embracing new technology for your business always brings knock-on benefits, as new tech leads to further innovations in your working practices. And the chances are, you are already using, at least in part, this new technology.
But, well before December 2025, it’s a good idea to check and make sure you are not reliant at all on the analogue phoneline system, for any of your business communication.
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