Small business secrets...

A clear guide on the BT shutdown for SMEs

Posted by Amina Addow on Dec 10, 2020 2:15:01 PM
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Openreach have announced they will be switching off their existing PSTN and ISDN network by 2025 and switching to a single IP network. Meaning that millions of businesses who still use traditional telephony would need to switch to a cloud-based solutions. While 2025 might seem far away small businesses can make the change now to limit disruption to their services. 

Here's everything you need to know regarding the switch off.

In this article we will give you the facts about the ISDN shut down and discuss what solutions you should migrate to next.

Explanation of PSTN

PSTN stands for 'Public switched telephone network' is the current telephony used by most small businesses and residential homes, data is transferred via copper lines over a circuit-switched phone line made and operated by phone providers. There has been many limits to this type of technology such as lack of remote work and costly bills in particular when calling outside of an area code or internationally.

Further, this technology is viewed as outdated which is why Openreach have decided to 'switch off' this network for better alternatives such as cloud and IP phones.


ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and allows phone and video calls to be made via the PSTN (Public Service Telephone Network). This technology uses the same line for voice and data through the PSTN which BT and Openreach use for their telephony. This is considered traditional landline phone service, which has been used for years now.

BT is now working to halt the distribution of ISDN technology in the run up to totally discontinuing the service.

Landlines obsolete by 2025

Openreach is making the move to Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) meaning there will no longer be a requirement for fixed-analogue services by 2023 and all traditional fixed lines will cease to exist by 2025.

How and when will Openreach start withdrawing service?

From 2023, Openreach will issue a full ‘Stop Sell’ of new supply telephone lines. This means that there will be no new line installations for residential and business customers in the UK.

What does this mean for your small business?

In light of the full ‘Stop Sell’ and full ‘Switch-off’, it’s essential to look for alternatives now and move away from traditional phone lines to future-proof your business. Understandably, this will shake-up communications in the UK and it’s best to prepare your business.

Not to worry, you still have time to make an informed decision regarding the value of VoIP and what preparations your business can take now.

What service should your small business migrate to?

With the investment in fibre-optic broadband structure this has now become widely available and affordable for small businesses. This means VoIP based solution such as VoIP and SIP are the top alternatives.

VoIP is a great system allowing easy and efficient communication with inclusive virtual meetings through voice and video. Some other features incorporated in VoIP products are call recording, call routing, forwarding and HD conferencing.


Benefits of VoIP

Increased Flexibility

VoIP systems provide small businesses with increased flexibility. In a small business, the role of a staff member may vary particularly for start-ups in terms of changes to working locations. For example, some days they need to be in the office or travelling for remote work. A hosted solution allows for work to be done anywhere as long as there is an internet connection.

Feature Rich

VoIP phone systems are full of rich features that are inaccessible within traditional phone lines. One notable feature is video conferencing and the ability to meet virtually. This has been immensely important with the rise of COVID-19 and making your small business more 'future-proof.' Meaning that small businesses can host international meetings and conferences with ease. Other useful VoIP features are call forwarding, hunt groups, auto attendants and much more.


Most importantly, moving to a hosted solution is more cost-effective compared to traditional landlines regardless of company size. This is due to installation and maintenance being covered by the hosted provider. Furthermore, there are also big savings in regards to call costs with international calls costing considerably less compared to being made on a traditional phone.  

Making the switch.

We’re already helping a number of UK businesses transition from their legacy ISDN systems to our cloud-hosted phone system. Everything from number porting to hardware setup is managed by our customer onboarding team.

To find out more check out our special packages.

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