Though it may seem like a long way away, the 2025 Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) switch-off is fast approaching, with the national ‘stop sell’ – when BT Openreach will no longer sell analogue-based products – taking place in less than three months. 

With that in mind, business owners need the facts so they can act fast and with confidence in their decisions around digital alternatives.

The switch-off will require everyone – including businesses – currently using PSTN and ISDN phone lines to move to a service hosted over Internet Protocol (IP). Simply put, businesses will need to change how they get their landline telephone service and move to new VoIP systems. To add to this, businesses currently using the ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) in their operations to run lifts, ATM machines, alarm systems, printers and more, will also need to consider alternative options.

To get ahead of the coming changes, the move away from the PSTN and ISDN services should be the focal point of all office-based businesses in the next 18 months to ensure a smooth transition.

Creating a platform that allows for future flexibility and growth

As we approach the September stop-sell and the PSTN switch-off in 2025, analogue-based and outdated products will soon become a thing of the past. In order to maintain a competitive edge in the market, UK businesses must prioritise replacing old technology with modern, forward-looking capabilities or they will simply get left behind. Businesses that fail to prepare to make the switch, may be at risk of not having a working telephone system in 2025. 

To help future-proof the UK business landscape, decision makers need to take real care when deciding on their new communications provider, to ensure it’s a smooth transition and that companies are choosing a provider that will power the businesses of the future. Businesses need to take the time to carefully weigh all options to enable them to choose a flexible and future-proof communications system that will stand the test of time, rather than one that will need to be upgraded in five years as a result of new technical developments. 

When picking these communications systems, businesses must ensure that they select one that offers greater flexibility, such as a cloud-based VoIP system. Ultimately, no one will be able to avoid the coming PSTN switch-off and senior leaders will need to act fast to confidently navigate the coming digital changes to the market over the next few years.

New, different and better

Whilst this may be a change that no businesses explicitly asked for, it is a change that businesses should be embracing as it will open businesses up to a whole new realm of opportunity, from enhanced communications features and functionality to better overall customer experience.

Businesses can unlock this new realm of opportunity by upgrading to a VoIP based solution. This innovative solution brings with it a whole host of new advanced features that can be tailored to the business. 

With these features, businesses will be able to efficiently divert calls, have access to call analytics data and enjoy a stronger call connection, whilst providing a more professional service all in one go. Switching to VoIP will also allow businesses to better unify their communications as they will be able to integrate the system with other features such as email, instant messaging, call recording and more – making VoIP the most attractive alternative.

By moving away from outdated landlines, businesses will immediately benefit from a system that is more sustainable. As businesses are looking for ways to reduce CO2 emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future, choosing a VoIP based solution is the clear choice as less energy is required to power them – in comparison to PSTN phone lines that greatly rely on old, analogue phone lines. A resource-intensive and inherently difficult line to produce, leaving a huge carbon footprint.

By taking a proactive approach in making the switch before the September ‘stop sell’, businesses will be able to better understand the new features before committing to future monthly packages.

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Impact on all UK sectors

For most UK businesses a VoIP phone system will work out cheaper than the older PSTN phone lines as there is less physical infrastructure to install and replace without all the usual copper wiring. Additionally, businesses will be able to scale up their communications by just simply adding more employees to the VoIP system. Whereas with legacy phone systems, businesses are limited to a certain number of phone lines per service, making scaling difficult. 

The switch-off comes at a time where the UK Government has pledged to invest over £300 million into improving data skills and digital infrastructure to cement the UK’s position as a technological superpower by 2030. Switching to VoIP systems will positively contribute to the overall digital transformation of the UK’s business landscape and economy. However, its success will depend on how quickly businesses embrace the new technology and how effectively businesses incorporate it into their own digital transformation strategy.

With the switch-off fast approaching it’s important for businesses across every sector to understand how they will be impacted. As we continue to live in a digital era shaped by rapid technological change, workforces will need to use systems that are scalable and cost-effective. That said, business leaders need to ensure they select an optimal tool for their communications – and that they do this, sooner rather than later.

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