Millions of businesses in the UK are soon going to lose access to traditional phone lines and copper broadband – and this is a serious development!
Openreach has decided to switch off their old analogue phone network (PSTN), which sustains 14 million traditional phone lines across the UK, by December 2025. According to their proposal, it would have reached the end of its life by then, so all the existing customers will need to upgrade to new, digital services soon. This move comes as part of BT’s cost-saving efforts. As a result, existing customers will only be able to order the new fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband services. On top of that, voice services will be charged extra, in addition to the broadband services.
This announcement came in 2019, but surprisingly, according to a survey conducted by the Internet Service Provider Spitfire, as many as 77 percent of business owners still have no clue about it! If you too aren’t well informed and unprepared for this serious development, we share with you, in this article, more details about it, including how it will impact your business, and how you can prepare in advance to ensure your operations continue seamlessly.
Openreach has urged UK businesses to be prepared for the switch, and audit their phone systems and existing devices, well in advance. They expect some devices and connections to function normally, in the meantime, and in some cases, even after the switchover. However, others won’t, which is why it’s crucial to address any issues ahead of the major transition, in order to limit or avoid disruption.
In case of ambiguities, Openreach is also advising its existing customers, especially businesses, to contact their device manufacturers, to learn more about the possible implications of this major shift and seek further clarification. They have also launched a special help service for existing customers, called ‘Call Waiting List’, in order to help them better understand what they will need to do to successfully make the switch in the future.
It’s estimated that more than 2 million businesses in the UK will be affected by this shift – primarily, small businesses. Needless to say, businesses will need to find alternative methods of telephony and data transmission, in order to maintain continuity and communication coverage.
Depending on your use of ISDN/PSTN technology and the kind of hardware you are utilising for your day-to-day operations, you can estimate the impact of this change on your business. If you’re relying on just internet services, primarily, there isn’t much of a concern, since you can get better speeds, once you upgrade. However, if you’re relying on the analogue connection for voice calling and/or faxing, among other traditional methods of communication, you might run into some issues.
For companies that are willing to adapt their business technology for 2025, the focus needs to be on VoIP. As you may already know, VoIP (or Voice Over Internet Protocol) is an effective method of data transmission and communications that allows for voice messages (and even images) to be sent seamlessly over the internet. To learn more about technologies like VoIP and SIP, read our blog post here.
By using VoIP, you can use most of your existing hardware to send information or make voice calls via the internet. The result? You get to keep most of your existing systems, while improving your communication coverage and telecom facilities, even after the BT/Openreach 2025 switch-off.
Switching from analogue to VoIP as soon as possible can provide you with a competitive advantage. You’re always going to make the switch in the future, so why not now? When it comes to business, it’s more about adapting to the new technology and being prepared in advance, rather than facing the inevitable, in the end.
Most importantly, this switch will help you achieve significant cost savings. According to GrowthBusiness, the average cost savings for small businesses that made the switch was around 31% of the annual total telephony costs (compared to ISN lines). In addition to this, if you are a growing business, scaling your operations is much easier with flexible VoIP services.
Making the most of VoIP services is an ideal goal for growing customer-facing businesses. Needless to say, preparing your business for the much-awaited digital leap is a must, if you want to survive the competition and maintain business continuity.
So, if you are serious about preparing your business operations for the coming change and upgrading your telecom infrastructure while you still have the opportunity, contact our team of business telephony experts today for more details.