BT Openreach announced its intention to switch-off analogue telephone services (PSTN and ISDN) in November 2017. Since then, there has been a period of industry consultation and a basic road map published, which sets out the major milestones towards the 2025 deadline. As a business, you need to understand the likely impact of the analogue switch-off and what provisions you need to make.
Before we get started, you might want to glance over our list of technical terms and abbreviations:
The end of the analogue telephone network
Some of the UK’s copper telephone network is over 140-years old. Predictably, the old copper network is approaching the end of its useful life. However, many organisations still use analogue telephone services, which are reliant on copper cable. The telephone handsets and fax machines in your office are connected to your private branch exchange (PBX) via wall sockets. Copper cables run from your business premises to the local exchange, and from there calls are routed onto to their final destination using the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
The following wholesale line rental (WLR) telephone and broadband services will be withdrawn in 2025:
|Analogue voice services
||IP replacement services
|Single lines, multiple lines, ISDN2, ISDN30, LLU,
SLU MPF, narrowband line share and Classic product.
|SIP trunk and hosted/Cloud telephony
||Fibre replacement services
|ADSL, FTTC, GFAST broadband
||SOTAP, SOGEA and SOGFAST or Fibre broadband
SOTAP (ADSL Replacement if fibre is not available)
SOGEA (FTTC Replacement if fibre is not available)
SOGFAST (GFAST Replacement if fibre is not available)
IP technology replacement services
Internet-based services known as IP technology or VoIP will replace the old copper network. IP technology turns the old system on its head. The current system provides voice services with connectivity layered over-the-top (OTT). However, PSTN requires a complex and costly network of physical lines to maintain. In contrast, IP services only need the Internet to function.
What happens to alarms and payment terminals?
Several special applications currently rely on the PSTN such as alarm lines, payment terminals and health-monitoring equipment. Manufacturers and service providers will need to ensure their products are compatible with the new IP technology standards. Many older telephone systems, fax machines, payment terminals and alarms that do not have SIM card capability will no longer work after the 2025 deadline.
BT Openreach trials underway
BT Openreach has setup two trial exchanges to test the migration process. They plan to retire all copper services in the Salisbury, Wiltshire area by the end of 2022, moving all households and businesses to fibre broadband.
The second trial is in Mildenhall, Suffolk. For those areas of the UK where fibre broadband is not currently available, the Mildenhall trial will test moving customers from the copper network to a single order, data-only broadband service known as SoGEA. This service is likely to be about 30 percent cheaper than a standard telephone line and broadband package, faster to install, easier to maintain and support. All copper services will be switched off by December 2022 in the trial area.
STOP SELL notice 2023
After the trails, the next major milestone will be the official stop sell announcement planned for September 2023. After this date, no new orders for WLR services will be accepted. Finally, on 31st December 2025 all WLR and PSTN services will be switched off.
Time for a change: SIP trunk or Cloud telephony?
So, what does the retirement of the copper network actually mean for your business? If you already have your own on-premise IP PBX telephone system then you will need a SIP trunk to replace the ISDN services being withdrawn. However, maybe you should be thinking of moving to a hosted VoIP solution now. After all, you know ISDN and PSTN will be shut down soon. Changing to Cloud telephony now means you can dispense with hardware and maintenance costs, it’s cheaper than ISDN, offers enormous flexibility and many more features.
Cloud telephony Top 10 Benefits:
- Better voice quality than analogue
- No hardware investment or on-going maintenance costs
- It’s fast and easy to setup
- Calls between users within the same organisation are free
- Makes remote working easy
- Manage settings yourself e.g. new extensions, call recording, hunt groups, call reporting, etc.
- Flexible and scalable: add new users and adopt new features, as you need them
- Wide selection of advanced features previously only available to larger organisations such as auto-attendant, call centre features, call recording, call reporting, cost controls, etc.
- Extremely reliable with minimal downtime thanks to built-in redundancy and automated failover
- Cloud telephony is its own insurance policy. If your business premises catches fire or floods, you can simply move to a temporary location or have staff work from home with minimal impact to your organisation.
To prepare your business for the move to IP technology for broadband and telephone services, contact Modern Networks today.