There’s been a lot of confusion over the switch-off of the PSTN in the UK and how it will impact businesses. In this guide, we answer the 3 crucial questions: when is it happening, why is it happening, and what does it mean for you?
As more and more businesses embrace fibre optic broadband services, the old copper cable network is transferring less and less internet data. However, many organisations are still making use of the copper network to support their telephone services. But here in the UK, this is all about to change.
Openreach – the company that owns the copper network – is in the process of changing the technology they use to provide landlines. This means they’re planning to shut down the public switched telephone network (PSTN) which has been around since the 1800s. The aim is to transfer the 14 million PSTN lines across the country to digital lines using the more modern fibre optic cables.
There’s been a lot of confusion over the switch off of the PSTN in the UK and how it will impact businesses. In this guide, we answer the 3 crucial questions: when is it happening, why is it happening, and what does it mean for you?
When will the PSTN be switched off?
The official, set-in-stone date for the complete switch-off is 31st December 2025. This is considered to be the ‘end of life’ date, after which customers will no longer be able to access the public network.
However, some businesses may find that they need to make the switch earlier. When over three-quarters of an exchange area can access full fibre services, Openreach will cease the sale of new lines within that area. This means that, if your contract is due for renewal or you want to add more services to your plan, you may need to move over to a digital line earlier than you anticipated.
Why the change?
Quite simply, the PSTN is old. In fact, it’s been around for more than 100 years. And while it certainly did the job at the time, there are two challenges today that just can’t be overcome:
1. Network decline
The copper cables are deteriorating, and maintaining the network is becoming both difficult and very expensive. Manufacturers are stopping the production of essential components, making sourcing replacement parts tricky. And problems are occurring faster than ever due to natural decay.
2. Growing demand
When the network was first laid, no one could predict just how much the world of communications would change. Designed for telephone communications, the PSTN soon became the network for transferring internet data, which is growing rapidly. The copper network is struggling to keep up.
In a world where there’s a huge demand for high-quality communications, Openreach have come to the decision that the best course of action is to upgrade the old technology to digital phone lines.
What it means for you
If your business is using landline phones connected to the PSTN, there are some changes on the horizon. Ultimately, the most important thing to consider is how the switch-off will affect the way your employees communicate with each other, and how they communicate with your customers.
The good news is that, here at Reliable Networks, we specialise in voice and data services, helping you to enhance communication and collaboration across your business. Stay with us, because in part 2 of our PSTN series, we’re taking a look at PSTN replacement services compatible with a digital line.