Upgrading to IP telephony services – is your business ready for the PSTN/ISDN switch off?


The way in which people in the UK make phone calls has changed substantially over the last decade. It comes as no surprise that BT Openreach led the decision to switch off the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) – in favour of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). 40% of the UK market has already recognised that switching to a VoIP system provides a number of benefits, yet BT Openreach still has approximately two million customers.

PSTN is the traditional landline setup you may be familiar with and may currently have in your business. It is jokingly known as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). The signal is still usually analogue from the exchange to the end user. ISDN refers to the ability to deliver a minimum of two simultaneous connections – voice and data – over a single line. ISDN is popular for businesses wishing to transmit voice, data, video and fax without the need to install and manage multiple PSTNs.

The graphic below from Ofcom’s report – The Future of Fixed Telephone Services clearly demonstrates the difference between PSTN and VoIP.

2 houses

The big switch off

The PSTN and ISDN days are numbered. The date is not set in stone but in 2025 the networks will cease to be. BT Openreach have announced their plans to switch off their PSTN and ISDN networks. Reliance on high-maintenance copper wires to transmit calls will be a thing of the past.

Why? Because the number of companies using traditional phones is already falling. According to a survey by Ofcom, 17% fewer calls were made from landlines in 2017 and that figure is expected to halve again by the end of 2019 . Furthermore, technology has greatly improved, becoming more flexible, cheaper and faster than ever before. The rollout of 5G is transforming connectivity with Internet speeds and bandwidth no longer a constraint on the volume of data traffic being handled.

The larger questions you should be asking are: Is your business ready for the big switch off and what are your best options for business communications?

Scissors and a wire

Future-proofing your business

The countdown to 2025 is on and it is BT’s intention to stop selling PSTN and ISDN lines and hardware from 2020. If your current traditional telephony contract is up for renewal, now is the time to start exploring your options and the benefits of IP telephony technologies. Businesses large and small need to modernise their communications systems to stay ahead of the coming changes and maintain their connectivity.

Upgrading legacy phone systems is not as daunting as one might think and it’s not just phone lines undergoing the IP revolution. IP technology itself sits within the Cloud, allowing businesses to take advantage of a further raft of features and functionalities, like multi-party conference calls, secure file sharing and instant messaging with colleagues and customers around the globe.

Aerial Direct’s hosted Voice over Internet Protocol system Connect enables your business to work smarter and faster with a range of powerful, enterprise-grade features. With three packages to choose from, you decide which features are important to your business.

Those businesses taking action to switch to VoIP are future proofing their business, staying one step ahead of the game and the future of telecoms.