We’re going to explore the top 10 key technology priorities that should be at the top of every business’s list to securely progress and grow in 20...
The PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is the system of analogue lines that has been powering our communications and legacy connectivity solutions for decades. Openreach has announced that the PSTN will be switched off by December 2025 and it is set to be one of the biggest technological shakeups of modern times. To avoid disruption, businesses who are still relying on analogue communications and connectivity solutions will need to switch over to a digital alternative before they become obsolete. Although switching to digital alternatives may seem like an inconvenience, it will provide a wealth of new opportunities for your business.
From facilitating digital transformation to improving productivity and more, we’re going to explore the benefits and opportunities of the PSTN switch off presents for your business and how you can take advantage of these opportunities.
Before we jump into the benefits of the UK PSTN Switch Off, it’s key to have a solid understanding of what it actually is and what it means for your business. The PSTN is an analogue network of copper lines that has supported traditional landline telephony and legacy connectivity, such as ADSL, for both residential and business properties for decades. However, technological advancements over the last few years have caused a shift towards IP-based (internet-based) and mobile communication, which the PSTN is unable to support. Furthermore, with the roll-out of full-fibre broadband solutions that provide faster speeds, increased bandwidth and more reliable connections, reliance on traditional, PSTN-reliant connectivity solutions, like ADSL, has declined. This shift towards more modern communication and connectivity solutions, has caused a decreased reliance on PSTN services. In 2017 Openreach made the decision to phase out the PSTN and its associated services to make way for digital solutions that will meet the needs of both businesses and consumers in the digital age.
Now, the title of ‘Switch Off’ may conjure up images of an engineer standing next to a huge switch, waiting to be given the nod in December 2025. However, this isn’t the case. The UK PSTN Switch Off, won’t be a single event where the whole network is turned off in one go. It’s a gradual deactivation of all analogue lines across the UK, with the December 2025 deadline being for the completion of this project. This process has already begun, with locations across the UK already losing access to the PSTN.
Concerned – yes. Panicked – no. If your business is still relying on solutions and services that use the PSTN, then you will need to start looking at digital alternatives, sooner rather than later.
If you don’t switch over to digital communication and/or connectivity solutions before the switch off then you will lose access these solutions when the PSTN becomes obsolete and your business operations will be at risk of disruption. Although 2025 may seem like a while away yet, leaving it too late before switching to digital solutions could mean that your business misses out on the best deals and could end up overspending unnecessarily.
Alternatively, researching your options now and making the switch to internet-based communication solutions and full-fibre connectivity in plenty of time before the deadline, means that your business can become familiar with your new solutions and can start taking advantage of the benefits and opportunities they have to offer sooner. Another key reason why it’s important to start researching your options now is to avoid long wait times when it comes to installation. Now whilst most digital solutions take are quicker to install than their analogue counterparts, the amount of businesses that will need to change over to digital solutions will be significant. Many businesses will also leave it until the last minute to change over to digital for various reasons, therefore there will be delays caused by providers trying to keep up with demand. Swapping to digital solutions sooner rather than later means you can beat the rush and have your solutions installed quicker.
Speaking of benefits and opportunities, now we’ve got a good understanding of what the PSTN is and how it can affect your business, let’s jump into the good stuff – how the PSTN could benefit your business!
The PSTN Switch Off will be the dawn of a new era for both communications and connectivity (very dramatic, but true!) that will enable businesses to harness improved solutions and prepare for the rise of new and emerging technologies.
The alternative to traditional, analogue, PSTN-reliant phone services will be a solution known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This is digital solution allows businesses to send and receive voice communication via an internet connection rather than through physical phone lines and it’s the technology that will replace traditional telephony. Many businesses have already made the switch from PSTN-reliant landline communications to VoIP which has opened up the opportunity to take advantage of more advanced, feature-rich solutions known as unified communications.
Unified communications (UC) unites multiple communication channels including voice, instant messaging, video calls and more, all within one platform. As UC relies on VoIP for calls, connections are more reliable as they’re dependent on physical lines that can be threatened by disruption caused by factors, such as bad weather or construction work. VoIP calls tend to be higher quality than traditional telephony, so all conversations are crystal clear.
With UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) you can take advantage of all the features and benefits your unified communications platform has to offer without having the hassle of managing the solution yourself. Your provider will take care of all maintenance, troubleshooting, adding/removing users and helping you to get the most out of your solution.
Even with the roll-out of more modern connectivity solutions, some businesses are still relying on legacy broadband, such as ADSL and FTTC that will become obsolete when the PSTN is switched off. Moving to digital connectivity solutions, such as full-fibre broadband not only future-proofs your internet connection, it opens the doors to new opportunities for digital transformation within your business. All digital broadband, such as FTTP, fibre optic leased lines and mobile broadband can provide faster speeds, improved bandwidth and more reliable connectivity compared with legacy broadband solutions that are reliant on the PSTN, which means it has the capacity to support more advanced technology within your business.
Full fibre connectivity opens up a whole new world of possibilities for your business. Let’s take a look at a few, shall we? With faster connectivity your business has the necessary speeds and bandwidth to support more internet-based, unified communications to improve collaboration between your teams or implement contact centre solutions (if you’re not familiar with this technology, don’t worry we’ll explore it shortly!). You can also create more technologically advanced, connected workspaces by employing IoT (Internet of Things) solutions, such as smart devices that can control facilities, like lighting, around your office. Moving to more modern connectivity solutions fuels digital transformation through enabling your business to move to the cloud, which allows access to a whole range of technologically advanced solutions, tools and services to improve customer experiences, operational efficiency and more.
From CCTV cameras to alarms, many existing security systems still rely on the PSTN, so it is important that businesses who are relying on these systems to switch on to internet-based (also known as IP-based) alternatives, that rely on digital connectivity solutions, such as FTTP. IP-solutions work in similar ways to analogue systems in that they connect various security solutions and devices – the difference is that this connectivity is via the internet rather than through a physical connection. As devices are connected and transmit data via the internet, businesses can take advantage of more advanced security measures and better information storage, so your business security is bolstered and, should the worst happen, you have access to the data necessary to catch those responsible.
The move to IP-based security solutions, does present several advantages over traditional, analogue systems, including improved resolution of CCTV images, better scalability to increase security presence around your premises and easier integration with other security and monitoring systems. Security devices and solutions can be connected to a cloud environment for secure storage of information and intelligent monitoring through cloud-powered security software.
Physical security of your premises isn’t the only aspect of your business’s security measures that can be improved with the move to digital solutions. Although it is true that moving to internet-based solutions, does present some challenges when it comes to cyber security with the implementation of new technologies and devices creating new endpoints that could be exploited by cyber criminals if not suitably protected, cyber security initiatives can also benefit from digital solutions.
For example, many UC (unified communications) platforms, do include integrated security measures to keep the platform and its data secure. Moving to the cloud, thanks to improved connectivity solutions means that you have access to platforms, such as Microsoft Azure that can enable the implementation of advanced security measures, such as automated threat monitoring and response, policy management, logging and more.
As we mentioned at the very beginning of this article, the switch off of the PSTN presents a new era for technological innovation. The move to digital communication and connectivity will prepare your business for any new technologies that are already emerging and those which will arrive in the future. From improving communications and processes to opening up opportunities for businesses to operate in new markets and create new services and products, the possibilities are, quite literally, endless and with digital solutions, your business is ready to take advantage of those possibilities.
Let’s take communications as an example. AI has seen a huge increase in adoption over the last few years, and now, businesses are reaping the benefits of having future-ready, digital solutions by having the ability to integrate AI within their CCaaS platforms. What’s CCaaS? Contact Centre as a Service or CCaaS, is a communications solutions, similar to UCaaS, that combines a range of communication channels with applications, platforms and tools to provide enhanced and efficient customer experiences. The key difference between UCaaS and CCaaS, is that UCaaS is aimed at improving internal communications, productivity, and collaboration, whereas CCaaS helps to improve customer service initiatives and external communications. Integrating AI in CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) has enabled businesses to service more customers without having to increase the number of agents within the contact centre. Customers travel down an intelligent, IVR (interactive voice response) that identifies the customer’s query to direct simple queries through an automated AI solution which frees up agents’ time for more complicated requests.
Find out how we integrated AI within a CCaaS solution for our customers, On the Beach.
Thanks to a decreased reliance on hardware and physical lines, when you switch over to digital solutions to beat the PSTN switch off you have access to solutions that can seamlessly grow with your business. Let’s face it, analogue solutions have as much flexibility as a steel rod– unable to bend or adapt to the dynamic needs of the modern business. In comparison, scaling digital solutions, such as unified communication platforms and cloud environments to increase capacity when your business grows, is quick and easy. All it takes is a quick call to your provider to add additional seats or licences to your existing account and away you go!
Having the ability to instantly grow and adapt your solutions saves a significant amount of time, as employees don’t have to wait around for lines or hardware to be installed. As soon as the seats or licences have been added, they can start using the solution almost immediately. Furthermore, having access to a solution that can be easily scaled, means that your business can adapt to seasonal fluctuations to meet increased communication demands and you can then scale back during slower periods to minimise unnecessary costs.
Are you ready to switch out your legacy, analogue solutions for adaptable and future-proof digital solutions? Whether you’re looking to swap your legacy business phone system for a feature-rich unified communications solution or you need to move on to full fibre connectivity, we’re here to help. With over 20 years of industry experience, a team of highly accredited, experienced specialists, engineers, account managers and customer support staff, your business is in the best hands. Let’s get started today with a no obligation consultation – visit our contact page or call 0344 875 8880.