What is PSTN?
The PSTN “Public switched telephone network” is the system of old analogue copper wires which transmit our voices across the world and allow us to speak to the people we need to.
PSTN has been standard for all telephony since the Victorian times, linking the phone in your home or business to telephone poles then street cabinets then telephone exchanges which linked together across the country to create the national telephone network as we know it today. Otherwise known as “PSTN”
Why is it being switched off?
It seems to have worked pretty well so far, so why get rid of it? Good question!
Smartphones, video conferencing, the device you’re reading this on, the internet of things, cloud technology in general. There’s been leaps and bounds in recent years regarding internet-connected technology in the world and phone technology intends to join it and embrace the world of digital.
(And frankly, running all the networks around the country probably isn’t cheap so we imagine that might have something to do with it too)
When is it happening?
Originally, BT intended for the purchase of new lines to be impossible after 2020, but have revised that date to 2023, with a forced migration date between April and December 2025.
It might seem like that’s a while away, but during that forced migration period there’s going to be a lot of businesses requesting the same service at the same time, possibly costing you a fortune to get everything sorted in time. So, if your telephony contract is up for renewal, it’s recommended that you start looking at alternatives now.
What alternatives exist to the PSTN?
There are two main alternatives:
SIP uses virtual phone lines, rather than the physical PSTN ones. If you have an on premise phone system currently, this is the best solution.
This is due to the flexibility that SIP gives you, the speed in which lines can be added and removed, the quality of the calls and lower costs of calls overall.
Most systems are compatible with SIP, so you may not even have to change your existing phone system. Win!
If you have the old ISDN lines, and don’t want to commit or retain an on-premise phone system, then a Hosted VoIP system is best for you.
Hosted IP use your internet lines but you effectively rent a phone system. It’s good for those who want the functionality and scalability of a phone system but with no extra maintenance charges.
Is it easy to switch?
Switching to IP phone lines doesn’t need to be difficult, in fact it can take as little as 3 weeks to get it done (Unless you have a large number of sites). You get to keep your numbers and the whole thing can be quite seamless (if you have the right provider that is!).
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