Posted August 21, 2023

Are You Ready For The PSTN Digital Switchover?

Openreach/BT are in the process of transitioning all outdated analog Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN) to a fully digital network. This migration has already commenced, with a goal to complete it before Openreach discontinues the PSTN (and ISDN) service in 2025. By that time, all phone lines in the UK will have transitioned to a digital format, using Internet Protocol (IP) for call routing instead of the traditional PSTN.

When you mention everyone

Certainly, we mean all individuals and businesses. Moreover, this transition doesn’t only pertain to your telephone services; it extends to all other services currently reliant on the old phone network. This includes non-voice services connected to PSTN or ISDN lines, such as alarms, point-of-sale (EPOS) machines, door entry systems, closed-circuit television (CCTV), fax machines, fire alarms and security systems. Systems that have been installed in recent years are probably already digital, but it’s crucial to verify that you’ll be prepared for the transition when the switch-off occurs. If your system currently functions on the analog network, it will necessitate either a replacement or an upgrade to ensure the continuity of your secure monitoring.

This seems quite significant. What’s the reason for this change?

For decades, PSTN has served as the foundational framework for the UK’s phone network. Nevertheless, we’ve all observed the remarkable technological advancements over the past years, particularly in recent times. The landscape has shifted significantly with the proliferation of smartphones, applications, cloud computing, video conferencing tools like Zoom and Teams, the Internet of Things (IoT), and more. What might not be as noticeable is the infrastructure supporting these technologies. This includes the telephone lines hanging along streets and the network of copper cables buried beneath the ground, some of which have been in place since the 19th century.

Is IP superior to PSTN?

Indeed. Given that the PSTN network is rooted in 20th century technology, it is becoming increasingly misaligned with the demands of contemporary communication. As people transition to mobile and internet-based communication, the expectations have surpassed what traditional technologies were designed to provide. This is precisely why we’re making the shift to IP. The time has come to move beyond PSTN and embrace the limitless opportunities offered by digital technology.

How are other parts of the world approaching this?

The global transition to digital is underway at a rapid pace. Driven by evolving technology and changing customer behavior, phone companies worldwide are making the shift from analog to digital. Countries like Germany, Japan and Sweden are already ahead of us in this transition. Estonia and The Netherlands have even completed this switch and deactivated their PSTN networks.

2025 seems far away. Why are we discussing this now?

It’s crucial to start planning your transition now, as there could be a substantial amount of work involved. Remember, this isn’t solely about phone calls. You must assess all the devices and systems connected to your phone lines, such as alarms and door entry systems. Many businesses have already embraced an all-digital approach, moving their communications to the cloud, making internet-based calls, and integrating video conferencing.

Will the switch to digital be advantageous?

The transition to an all-digital environment isn’t just driven by the age of the old phone system; it’s because digital communications offer numerous benefits. Even at a fundamental level, you’ll be able to make and receive calls on any device, from any location, using the same number. You can seamlessly connect your business applications and systems with video calls, voice calls, and collaborative tools, enabling closer interactions with customers and colleagues. With everything hosted in the cloud, you’ll have access to systems from anywhere, facilitating remote work. Moreover, considering the cost savings associated with IP technology, it’s prudent to make the shift to digital sooner rather than later. Waiting until the last moment isn’t necessary.

What should I do next?

If your system depends on the PSTN, it might necessitate a straightforward transition from analog to digital through an upgrade, or potentially a complete replacement. You should call SS Systems or enquire using the contact form at the base of the page. Existing customers will be guided through the upgrade procedure where required, explain how it will improve your system, and outline the subsequent steps. New contacts can ask us for advice and a proposal on how to move forward for the digital transition.

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