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The BT switch off: everything you need to know

Posted by Amina Addow on Jun 16, 2020 3:25:35 PM
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By 2025, BT plans to shut down their traditional telephone lines in favour of IP systems. Many small businesses will have to adjust to this change, in this article we'll go through questions you may have so you can understand this change and how it will affect your business.

What is PSTN?

PSTN stands for Public Switched Technology Network and it’s the current traditional landline set up your business is familiar with and may currently have in your business.

What is ISDN?

ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. A digital phone system that operates on the traditional PSTN network. These systems are now considered outdated and ISDNs have been around since the 1980s. Traditional phone lines are nowhere near as advanced as some of the options now available today such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) which operates on digital lines.

What is IP technology?

Moving on from the previous point IP stands for Internet Protocol, there are two main types of IP phone system.

VoIP - Voice Over Internet Protocol - the most common IP system which facilitates phones calls over an internet connection.

SIP - Session Initiation Protocol - compared to VoIP phone systems, SIP is capable of sending and receiving any multimedia data such as video calls. A common example of this would be Facetime or Skype.

IP systems operate by turning analogue voice into digital data packets that are transmitted through a stable internet connection. In simpler terms, unlike traditional telephone calls are routed through the internet rather than fixed copper lines.

What's changing?

The main change is that BT has announced that they are planning to shut off their PSTN and ISDN phone lines and swap all their customers to VoIP and SIP solutions by 2025.

How will this affect your business?

This year, changes have already been made, businesses are no longer able to order or purchase a traditional PSTN or ISDN phone system from BT. For current BT customers whose contracts are up for renewal will need to swap their current system for a VoIP system or look elsewhere for an alternative solution.

What options does your small business have?

It’s important for business owners whose contracts are due to end to research other solutions. There will be businesses who would like to stick with PSTN/ISDN set-ups although this isn’t a smart move as many other companies will soon be following in BT’s footsteps. This is due to the technology just being too old and no longer fit for purpose.

A switch to a VoIP phone system would be the best option for your small business.

VoIP phone system for small business

A VoIP phone system is a great alternative to traditional PSTN and ISDN network with it being a virtual phone system does not need a fixed office space. Many VoIP phone systems are hosted by a service provider and based in data centres with calls routed in and out via the internet.

Switching to a VoIP phone system can offer small business many benefits such as:

Cheaper costs

Unlike telephony, VoIP is a much better financial choice with most cloud phones available without a lengthy contract. Your business can also acquire phones with fixed minutes so your business isn’t in danger to overrun and pay out-of-contract expenses. What’s more, is that as calls are routed through the internet and not copper lines minimises the need for installation charges and maintenance costs.

Improved flexibility 

Moving away from traditional telephony can give you greater flexibility with remote working. Cloud phones aren’t disadvantaged by geographical locations, as long as there is a stable WiFi connection you’ll be able to do business as usual.

If you have staff who work in a different location or work from home, you can all still stay connected through one central phone system.

Where does this leave your small business?

Now, you understand where the direction of UK telecoms is heading, your business will need to prepare. Switching to the cloud is relatively simple but there are a few precautions your small business would need to take before acquiring a cloud phone system.

Find out more by reading our specially curated guide on a VoIP solution for your small business!

VIEW GUIDE

Topics: Latest, VoIP

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