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Getting ready for the switch off

The PSTN switch-off is fast approaching and businesses need to get prepared. The PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) currently supports many small businesses around the UK and is often packaged alongside broadband, line rental and call packages. It’s what we’d often refer to as a landline phone.

The hard deadline for when all PSTN and ISDN lines switch off is December 2025. This sounds like a long way off, but providers are already planning ahead. Many exchanges have already switched off around the country in favour of internet-based communication lines. This process began in Salisbury in 2020, where legacy services were removed in favour of superfast FTTP connections.

As communications providers here at YTL we’ve had to react to this change. We’ve already helped many of our customers move from their PSTN lines over to new internet-based VoIP lines, or cloud-based communication services. With that in mind we’ve created today’s blog to help inform you about what the switch-off will mean for your business, what changes you may have to make and how you can benefit from a new service.

What does the PSTN switch-off mean for my business?

For many businesses, nothing at all! If you’ve already made the switch to a VOIP, SIP or cloud-based solution like our UC Cloud platform, you’ve got nothing to worry about. If not, there will be some key steps you need to start taking.

Once we reach the 2025 deadline, or if your exchange switches off sooner, your phone lines will switch off. This of course isn’t ideal, and may have a number of additional consequences. The first is that you may be at risk of losing your number entirely. This means that you will have to change that number on your website and any marketing materials or branded content throughout your business. This has serious potential for disruption and lost business.

The second is that other services connected to your phone line may also deactivate. These lines do more than just help you make calls. Many businesses also have their alarm systems, access control and door entry systems connected to them as well. On the face of it, this sounds like a lot of disruption to put businesses through, but there are some real benefits that this change will bring.

What service should I use instead?

This is a big question, and it really comes down to the needs of your business. If you’re a smaller team it may be better off switching to a unified communications (UC) service instead of a traditional phone system. These platforms require no dedicated equipment, just a license and a device that can make and receive calls. Your number will remain the same and will appear the same to your customers whether you’re using a phone system, mobile or laptop.

If you’re looking to equip a whole business, whether in one site or across multiple, we’d recommend turning to the cloud. Cloud based communication services don’t require any servers or heavy equipment to be hosted on site. We’ll do it all for you at our dedicated data centres.

For the simplest solution we can simply help you transition any of your existing lines from PSTN or ISDN to VoIP lines. These allow for the same great level of communication, but across internet lines rather than copper phone lines. With VoIP all you need is a handset and an internet connection to get up and running.

The benefits of modern communication services

There’s a big reason why legacy communication lines are being phased out, and it’s not just because some lines have been in use since the 1800s! New internet-based services unlock a huge range of added functionality for businesses.

We’ve already mentioned the ability to work from a device of your choice using unified communications. For our customers who moved over to cloud or UC in the past few years they saw the benefit when they had to start working remotely. These services don’t just work on any device, they can work in any location too.

There are also some brilliant new features. As these services aren’t limited by only running through a copper line, they can power new means of communications. You can access video conferencing, instant messaging and webchat services, all of which can be used to stay in touch with your customers and colleagues.

Down to the nitty gritty, we’re happy to say that moving over to this new service won’t cost the world. In fact, it’s a lot friendlier on your bottom line. The initial outlay for acquiring new communication services can be incredibly steep. With internet-based services you only pay for the handsets and licenses you need, on a basis that suits you. For more information, and a free comms audit, get in touch with YTL at 01924 249 499