What exactly is the big switch off?
Basically the ISDN (Integrated Digital Services Network) and Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) we have all been so used to for as many years as we care to remember (150 years to be exact) is due to come to an end. In other words the, ‘plug in the wall’ set up we’re used to is set to become obsolete. That’s right, all old technology is ceasing to be as BT gradually phase it out – for good! That means analogue phone lines (the ISDN network) will be no more.
The reason behind this change in a combination of reasons which include: clearer calls and thankfully cheaper call costs across a robust and reliable infrastructure. What’s more, this doesn’t just lend itself to the UK’s infrastructure, digital lines are set to be a truly global solution.
Despite some slight improvement ISDN telephone lines have remained relatively unchanged since they were established – and as innovation changes, that just won’t do (not if progression is to happen). As we wave goodbye to copper-based systems, homes and businesses alike should be preparing to future proof themselves, saying goodbye to traditional landline phones as the world goes cloud based.
So, here are some stats which may surprise you about the traditional phone system set up…
Original phone lines were set up in the 1800s; yet despite the passage of time not a massive amount of technical advancement has been made. The main change has been however the average decline of ISDN by 30% within the past 5 years. Along with high maintenance and more expensive running costs, ISDN is slowly becoming archaic.
…and when is this big switch off due to happen exactly?
The date is actually fast approaching; coming into play by 2025. In fact, business owners won’t be able to even obtain PSTN or ISDN (landlines) after September 2023.
What will replace ISDN (integrated services digital network)?
If you haven’t already heard, the new internet telephony is known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This quite simply allows calls to be made over an internet connection – that can be via a computer or mobile device. All in all, VoIP equals cheaper calls and as broadband services have vastly improved they are set to be excellent quality too. What’s more, no fixed line, means no fixed location – providing greater freedom and flexibility; ideal especially in today’s world of hybrid working.
So what options are open to you?
You’ll probably be glad to hear that there are a couple of choices available to you as you move away from antiquated analog lines to advanced internet protocol.
Take a look at the two main options:
Of course, if you have any questions along the way your provider will be able to guide you through.
Hosted VoIP Systems
Ok, in a nutshell, this is a complete cloud-based set up which is hosted off-site. It usually includes desk phones which simply connect to your Local Area Network (WAN). You will find that your telecom provider is responsible for your technology’s maintenance and service – all in return for a monthly fee of course. Rest assured, the initial set-up and equipment costs aren’t expensive, especially when compared to other on-premises systems and upgrades. Many VoIP solutions simply require you to instal an app onto your mobile and away you go – it really is that easy.
On-Premises VoIP Systems
With this option, hardware and software is required to make telephone calls and to run the platform. Obviously this equipment has to be installed and housed somewhere on your site. Although this can mean you paying a higher initial set up expense, it usually equals lower monthly expenses in the longer term- that’s got to be good news right! It is important to note however that you will have to take are of maintenance costs. Having said that, given VoIP phone systems are mostly app based or simple plug and play, maintenance expense should typically be few and far between.
At-a-Glance Benefits of VoIP Phone Calls
Whether you’re familiar with VoIP or just getting used to the idea of upgrading your system the benefits are clear to see, as follows:
- Cost Effective – you’ll enjoy cheaper deals and cheaper calls with VoIP – not only between different sites and offices but you’ll also benefit from free international calls too.
- Functionality – simple voice calls aren’t all you can expect with your new VoIP system. With various features such as instant messing and video calling available too, there are most lots of ways to make life easier especially during heavy call times. What’s more, you can expect stronger signals over much longer distances with your new VoIP service.
- Scalability – flexibility is a BIG benefit of VoIP. As your business grows, your VoIP system can expand with it (thankfully at an extremely low cost). New phone lines can be added or removed efficiently as your business requirements change.
- Mobile enabled – if you choose a cloud-based VoIP system, your users will be able to connect and make phone calls from wherever they are using a mobile, tablet or laptop. In fact, they’ll be able to make and receive calls just as easily as they would be able to in the office – once again, great for today’s world of hybrid working.
It’s all talk…
You may have heard that the quality of VoIP calls isn’t the best. Nonsense! That might have been the case in the early days but broadband internet connection speeds and improved configuration mean that nowadays the sound quality and reliability of phone calls should be even better than ISDN.
Do you need specialist equipment to achieve the best quality calls?
Not at all…You simply need, at least 100kb upstream for each phone. So, you don’t have to have a ridiculously high speed internet connection, simply an adequate service will be fine.
Preparing for, ‘The Big Switch Off’ – your new Voip service
Not preparing for the approaching telephony changes could mean you may find your business ends up without a communication system. Doesn’t bare thinking about does it? The end of the ISDN line could actually bring the end of your comms set up. But don’t worry, making sure that you have systems in place isn’t too hard to do.
Let’s make life easy with a preparation checklist for your business:
- Check your internet connection – if it’s time for an upgrade go for it (fibre is a good option – so take some time to look at the best packages out there).
- See when your contract is due for renewal in preparation for making the switch to a new voip service provider or a better deal with your current supplier.
- Shop around– don’t simply renew with your existing service provider; you may get stuck with a bad deal.
- Say NO to cheap, outdated hardware/lines – they will not save you money in the long run – it’s false economy.
All technologies which currently run via the ISDN network will be potentially effected (it’s not only your telecoms you’ll need to prepare). The end of the public switched telephone network will mean upgrades are required for:
- Alarm systems
- ATM machines
- Franking machines
- Fax machines
- Dial-up POS (card machines)
- Video conferencing
- Live streaming
- File downloading
Like some help getting started?
If making the change to your new VoIP service seems daunting, don’t worry, here at Number Supermarket we have everything you’ll need to make it as easy as possible.
With no need to invest in extra equipment, upgrading from ISDN to VoIP telephony may be much cheaper than you’d expect.
Why not call 0330 332 0400 or visit Number Supermarket for details?