Why it is important NOT to ignore the ISDN switch-off!

Posted on 18th October 2019 under News.

BT announced that they will be switching off its PSTN and ISDN networks in 2025 in favour of IP voice services, with a gradual phase-out of the older systems starting in 2020. At this point, BT will cease taking ISDN orders, and all businesses will be forced to find other IP-based options for their business telephony systems – such as a VoIP or cloud-based service.

What is PSTN and ISDN?

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is the familiar landline telephone system originally set up for analog voice communication, and became the most reliable method of making voice calls and the main carrier for internet activity across the world.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) then came along, allowing the digital transmission of voice, video and other services simultaneously, using the traditional PSTN network.

ISDN switch off

Why are they being phased out?

In short, these legacy systems are out of date, as are the associated maintenance and running costs. Despite having been updated radically over the decades since they were introduced, these lines are still essentially the same in setup and design as the original phone lines of the 1900s.

With all other fields of technology advancing at light speed around us, it makes sense that our telecoms systems are also updated.

As of early 2019 there were over 2 million businesses still with an ISDN connection in the UK, all of which will be affected by the planned switch-off in the coming years.

A recent survey has also shown that a quarter of the UK’s businesses are still unaware that the switch-off is even taking place. These businesses need to be made aware of the upcoming changes so they can begin the necessary switch to IP-based services such as SIP and VoIP to avoid finding themselves without a phone system.

Solutions to overcome to ISDN switch off

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is a protocol used in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), allows people to make voice and video calls on a global scale using computer and mobile devices with an internet connection.

The biggest and most noticeable difference between traditional ISDN and SIP networks for business owners is the cost, with communications between SIP users being greatly reduced, and in some cases, free. These VoIP voice communication systems are also often referred to as cloud-based telephony systems.