In 2015, BT announced the “Big Switch Off” plan to switch off all PSTN and ISDN phone lines by December 2025. By the time the switchover happens, every phone line in the UK will be digital, routing phone calls over IP (Internet Protocol), rather than traditional analogue lines. This is a system commonly referred to as VoIP.
This applies to all business phone lines, as well as home phone lines.
Despite this being announced 7 years ago, as of January 2022 almost 70% of UK businesses are still using analogue landlines. The good news is that if you haven’t made the switch yet, you still have plenty of time to plan and implement a new system.
Here we’ll go over some of the questions you may have about the switch.
Why is PSTN being switched off?
A big part of the reason behind BT’s decision is simply that technology has moved on, especially in terms of communication. With the widespread use of smartphones, along with apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, analogue lines are becoming obsolete.
Another factor is the infrastructure that supports PSTN and ISDN lines. Some of the copper cabling buried underground was laid in the 19th century!
This change is happening across the world, with Germany, Japan, and Sweden ahead of the UK in the process, and Estonia and the Netherlands have already completely transitioned and switched off their PSTN networks.
What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. With a VoIP phone system, you can make low-cost phone calls to anywhere in the world, using your internet connection.
Switching from PSTN to VoIP comes with a whole host of benefits for business, including reducing overheads, because not only are VoIP calls cheaper, but it is more cost-effective to move all your voice and data transmissions to a single internet line. Choosing a VoIP phone system from Rio means you get a system with a handy mobile phone app, so remote users can use their mobile phones to make and receive phone calls from company phone numbers. You also get a desktop app so employees don’t even need a phone on their desk – they can make and receive calls on their computers or laptops.
VoIP phone systems can help your business to run more efficiently, by allowing employees to quickly see the availability of their colleagues, seamlessly transfer calls and easily hold audio conference calls.
Rio can also provide you with call recording, scheduled off times so your phones won’t ring outside of office hours, and a menu-based IVR system to help point your customers in the right direction.
How Can I Prepare for The Switch?
First, you need to conduct a complete audit of your current infrastructure. Depending on the nature of your business, it may not just be your phone line affected. You may also have alarms, entry systems, EPOS machines, CCTV systems or fax machines connected to your PSTN line.
Rio can help you to perform this audit, to prepare your entire business for moving away from PSTN lines.
What about my existing phone numbers?
With a VoIP system, we can easily port over all of your existing business phone numbers, so your customers won’t have to worry about remembering a new number, and you won’t have to worry about updating all of the collateral with your phone number on it!
We understand that making this switch can seem daunting, and we are here to make the process of switching over as seamless as possible. We can help every step of the way, from auditing your existing systems to planning and implementation of a new system. Embracing VoIP can help your business to boost team productivity, and save money.
Contact us today and start planning for your digital future.