The Great British Analogue Switch Off
Published 12 Nov 2021

In 2023 the sales of analogue (PSTN and ISDN) will stop and by 2025 they will be switched off altogether.

This means that within the next four years your business will need to switch to a new method of voice communication if you haven’t already done so.  You will no longer be able to rely on your traditional telephone line for making and receiving telephone calls.

Research by Zen has identified that nearly three-quarters of businesses use the telephone for customer contact – so clearly this is still a vital communication tool. Yet despite its importance, many businesses are unaware of the impending switch off.

So why are analogue lines being switched off?

Analogue refers to traditional phones systems like PSTN and ISDN. PSTN stands for Public Switched Technology Network and is probably the term that you are most familiar with. Its origins go back to the 1800s to the early days of copper wire phone lines. While ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and is a digital phone system that uses a PSTN network. In the 1980s, the introduction of ISDN transformed the way businesses communicated. It provided simultaneous voice, video, and text transmission between individual desktop and group (room) video conferencing systems.

PSTN and ISDN are deemed to be no longer fit for purpose due to the current digital demands. Both use copper wiring which cannot cope with the requirements of modern-day telecommunication solutions like IP technology. Also, most businesses now require the faster reliable services that fibre optics provide.

Internet Protocol (IP) is a protocol, or set of rules, for routing and addressing packets of data so that they can travel across networks and arrive at the correct destination. Data traversing the Internet is divided into smaller pieces, called packets. IP information is attached to each packet, and this information helps routers to send packets to the right place. Every device or domain that connects to the Internet is assigned an IP address, and as packets are directed to the IP address attached to them, data arrives where it is needed.

Once the packets arrive at their destination, they are handled differently depending on which transport protocol is used in combination with IP. The most common transport protocols are TCP and UDP.

While these changes are still a little way away, the analogue switch-off means your business will not only need to plan your telephony changes, but also you will need to consider the underlying backbone of any new solution – your internet connection.

All solutions will be based on VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or cloud technologies and these services will rely on an internet connection, as opposed to a traditional phone line.  This means as a business you need to consider whether the internet connectivity you have today is adequate for these incoming changes.

Pro-Networks can help you plan for these changes.  We can advise on Internet options to ensure your new phone system operates reliably and on the phone system itself. Using solutions available through our partners and Microsoft Teams we can help make sure your business can continue to communicate with your customers through 2025 and beyond.


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