The nation’s televisions saw the change to digital only between 2007 - 2012 with the analogue switch off. At the end of 2025, it will be the turn of our analogue telephone system as BT permanently switches off the analogue ISDN and PSTN network.But what does this mean for you and your business? Read on to find out how you can prepare for the 2025 switch off and stay connected?
Why are BT switching off the ISDN and PSTN analogue network?
At present, the UK’s mainline network is made up of ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network) and PSTN (Public Switched Phone Network) infrastructure, with the former introduced in the 1990s as an evolution to the latter.
This analogue system is outdated, with the current copper cable network being over 200 years old in the case of PSTN, having first been introduced in the 1800s. As a result, the cost and difficulty of maintenance and repairs on the ISDN and PSTN network continues to increase with the network’s age.
With almost 15 million homes and businesses throughout the UK still currently reliant on the analogue system, it was never going to be as simple as an overnight switch off. BT announced its intentions to move to digital and retire the analogue network in 2017, with the process of retiring ISDN and PSTN beginning in December 2020.
The UK is far from alone in turning off its analogue telephone network though. A host of countries have already made the switch, with Japan, Germany and Sweden already having all calls now made digitally through VoIP or IP systems.
The move to digital will result in a faster, more reliable and cost effective communications network, reducing downtime and enabling your business to stay connected.
How will the switch off affect businesses?
In addition to telephones, there are a number of devices and systems that may rely on the analogue network in businesses, including fax machines, CCTV systems and some alarm systems.
As a general rule, whatever a business has connected to the current voice line must switch to using a digital alternative before the 2025 switch off.
What is VoIP and how does it work?
The ISDN and PSTN analogue is set to be replaced with a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) or IP (Internet Protocol) telephone system.
Analogue systems use circuit switching for connecting calls. When a call is made through the PSTN network, the two are connected in a circuit. VoIP instead uses packet switching, sending data only when needed. Rather than a constant circuit, a
brief, instant connection is created each time you speak.
VoIP and IP systems allow calls to be made via the internet rather than through the traditional copper analogue network. Using VoIP means businesses can make more than one call at any time, with both long distance and domestic calls being a much higher quality than with the analogue network.
What you need to do to prepare for the switch off
Knowing that the switch off is coming is a good start and means you can start to prepare now. Luckily a VoiP system can be set up relatively easily and can immediately take the place of the analogue line reducing downtime and lack of connectivity on the day the switch off takes place.
Stay connected and contact ADNS today to discuss how we can get you ready for the analogue switch off with a bespoke VoIP solution tailored to your business’ requirements.