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Updated on August 31, 2022
Published on March 14, 2022
In 2015 the UK’s British Telecommunications (BT) announced that Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDN) will cease service from 2025.
Known as the “Big Switch Off,” this migration toward cloud-based telecommunications will leave organizations without phone service if they don’t seek alternative solutions for existing legacy services.
The disruption could be significant, as it’s been reported that only one in five businesses are fully aware of the PSTN switch off while 59.7% are unsure what it means altogether.
The upcoming migration isn’t just limited to businesses, however. Consumers with analogue lines at home from BT/Openreach will also be affected. This can become troublesome if your business is a hybrid work environment or participates in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program.
In addition to telephones and other communication devices, it’s important to note that anyone who relies on analogue circuits will also need to upgrade their networks, including services that power alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems, CCTV, and faxes.
So, what does all this mean for you? Keep reading to learn why now’s the time to create a fully digital network, how it can affect your business, and the steps to ensure you won’t be left behind during the ISDN and PSTN switch off.
Telephony has evolved over the years as we’ve transitioned from common landlines to digital communications, thanks in large part to the birth of the “cloud.” The cloud allowed managed service providers to remove the ‘tin’ from the customer datacenter (DC) and deliver it back from a remote DC over private networks. This shift meant organizations could lower their operating costs and still maintain the same platform features and functionalities.
Another breakthrough in the industry centered around the widespread adoption and acceptance of Internet Protocol (IP) communications. The ability to converge voice and data on the same network generated several benefits, including enhanced Quality of Service (QoS), Business Continuity Planning (BCP), dial plan routing, and extensibility to the voice networks. Fast forward to 2015, where traditional telephony vendors are embracing SIP and cross-business communications while relying less on traditional PSTN and ISDN services, (although they are still maintained for business continuity and legacy analogue-only devices.)
PSTN and ISDN circuits are also expensive to commission. The above-ground telephone lines and underground copper cables, (some of which date back to the 19th century) are unsustainable to maintain and carry the demands of modern telephony services. Even still, it’s estimated that 70% of businesses in the UK alone still rely on copper analogue circuits for telephony services. With this in mind, this analogue phone switch-off in the UK continues to be a silent threat to businesses that turn a blind eye or aren’t fully prepared.
Since the BT announcement, firms have begun moving to digital services to transport voice communications over IP (VoIP). Established and replaced by firms that want to extend traditional voice services as a means to enhance their business processes at a much lower cost, VoIP core networks are the choice to replace outdated legacy technology.
Germany, Japan, and Sweden are ahead of the UK in making the shift, while Estonia and The Netherlands have already switched off their PSTN networks. Meanwhile, global carriers across the world are also transitioning or have already completed the transition to VoIP.
If you’re still unsure about the impact of the Big Switch Off, ask yourself, “Can your business continue to trade without service for a day or two?” Evaluating what is mission-critical may depend on your business sector, but the fact remains that telephony is regarded as one of the top three mission-critical services for just about everyone.
With that said, moving your telephony to a cloud-native service isn’t the complex, lengthy, or costly process that some may perceive it to be.
With some thoughtful planning, it’s easy to find a digital unified communications solution that will simplify the move away from PSTN and ISDN. In fact, Zoom’s seamless platform includes Meetings, Chat, and Webinar services, as well as robust telephony services that are incorporated into the familiar Zoom experience.
Zoom Phone can not only connect everyone in your firm – regardless of workstyle or location – but it can also host your alarms, door entry systems, and in some cases, your existing handsets to complete the Big Switch Off transition.
With more than 2 million users, Zoom Phone is a Gartner Magic Quadrant leader among UCaaS platforms and helps organizations around the globe migrate from legacy on-premises platforms to the cloud. With the advent of hybrid working and the growing preference for video communications, the need for traditional telephony is decreasing while the need for cloud communications increases.
Remote work has all but removed the dependency on traditional hardware. As a result, organisations no longer need to carry the overhead of a handset or dedicated hardware which reduces operating costs and makes it easy to justify the move to cloud communications.
Regardless if you’re an SMB or a large multinational enterprise, Zoom Phone can help you operate your mission-critical telephony and reduce the risk of the Big Switch Off whilst enhancing critical business SLAs.
Don’t be caught off guard. 2025 will be here before you know it. Talk with us today to explore how Zoom Phone can help you move to the cloud and deliver more benefits to your organization.