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When is the ISDN switch off?

Posted by Amina Addow on May 26, 2020 2:56:30 PM
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When is the ISDN switch off?

The end of the landline is fast approaching and small businesses will need to find alternatives to traditional telephony. We've complied everything you need to know in regards to the switch-off.  From what Opernreach is doing, along with a run-down of what to expect in 2020.

When is the ISDN switch off? 

It’s been confirmed that the ISDN switch off will occur in 2025, for now Openreach has stopped taking new orders for 2020 as part of a five year phase-out. 

What is an ISDN line? 

ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and allows phone calls, video calls and other services over traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Launched in 1988, it allowed old fashioned landlines to move to digital and simultaneously support an analogue phone line alongside digital data services.

Why is ISDN being switched off? 

Simply put, ISDN systems are now heavily outdated. With technological advancements such as faster internet connections like fibre and cable modems now accessible by the public. ISDN lines can no longer compete. 

What are the alternatives? 

The main alternative is VoIP and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). VoIP allows the same communication capabilities of making voice and video calls but uses the internet instead of traditional lines. Furthermore, VoIP calls are significantly cheaper and far easier to set-up as there are no physical lines to install.

The future of VoIP is the ‘now’ of telecommunications as around 40% of businesses have already moved over to VoIP systems with more following suit every day.

How to future-proof your business 

Now BT has stopped taking new ISDN orders for 2020, your business shouldn’t be trying to install a new line. If you are in a position to do so upgrading to VoIP or a hosted PBX system is the best course of action to take. This is a great option for small businesses who are trying to lower costs, free up physical space or IT teams.

However, as there is still five years until the switch-off there’s no rush to switch now. You should take the time to consider what exactly your business needs. There are many businesses who are still using ISDN lines.

Once you’re ready to make the switch to VoIP or SIP, switching is easy. Since VoIP systems are operated online, most providers will take care of upgrading your system along with porting your existing number.

However, it’s important to prepare a full audit of your IT systems and make sure that you have the correct bandwidth to support a VoIP system.

What questions should you be asking about the ISDN switch off? 

Switching away from ISDN can seem daunting so it's important to make sure your business is prepared. Here are a few questions to ask before the big switch. 

What is ISDN going to be replaced with? 

ISDN lines will be replaced with IP technology, there are two main IP, VoIP and SIP being the most popular amongst businesses.  

What should businesses do to prepare for the switch off?  

As mentioned above, a total switch-off will not occur until 2025, this means that existing ISDN business lines are still fully functional.  If your contract is nearing an end, it might be the time to look at alternatives.

What is the cost? 

Although VoIP is significantly cheaper than traditional lines this depends on your provider! 

What are the key dates for the ISDN switch off? 

2017: BT announce plans to switch off ISDN in 2025.

2018: Openreach begin workshops with service providers that responded to initial consultations.

2020: Phase out begins. Customers can no longer order new ISDN connections.

2023: Stop Sell. No new line installations, line conversions or ISDN channels.

2025: ISDN switched off permanently.

Not sure where to start?

bOnline offers a unique VoIP solution specifically for small businesses with affordable contracts and excellent customer service. Make the switch to VoIP now by speaking to our experts on 0203 617 9950 or reading our tailored guide.

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Topics: Latest, VoIP

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