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PSTN switch-off: Your next steps

The days of the PSTN and ISDN network are soon coming to an end. In 2017, BT announced that it was planning to turn off all PSTN and ISDN networks by 2025 and would no longer supply new services from 2020. This means if you’re still using the legacy technology, it’s definitely time to start considering what you need to do to prepare for the switchover.

What are PSTN and ISDN?

PSTN, the Public Switched Telephone Network, is the original infrastructure for the public telephone service that has been in place since the late 1800s which is made up of copper wires which carry analogue voice data.  

ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and was brought in in the 1980s as a replacement for dial-up technology, delivering voice and data at the same time over the PSTN circuits.

These two systems have worked well together for many years but advancements in technology have meant that there are newer methods which are much faster, more intuitive to use and easier to maintain.


What is replacing PSTN and ISDN?

VoIP is the main technology that will replace ISDN. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and allows your telephone service to be delivered across the internet. As it only requires an internet connection to work, you will no longer need to have costly, old-fashioned analogue phone lines in your offices. With VoIP, you will benefit from better call quality, greater flexibility and a lot more features than ISDN lines.

In addition to VoIP, there is Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). SIP trunks enable you to use VoIP by connecting your phone system to the public phone network from an Internet Protocol (IP) system. SIP can connect to the majority of existing systems, which makes it a popular choice for those switching across to an internet-based phone solution.


Both options are great improvements from IDSN and allow you much more control over your network through IP.

Now that we’ve had a look your choice of replacements, let’s discuss how you to get your business ready for the switch-off.  


How to prepare for the PSTN switch-off

As services won’t be switched off until 2025, you still have plenty of time to look at your different options and determine which would be the best for your business. The switch over needn’t be stressful, as with the correct planning you can transition smoothly across to new technology with minimal disruption to your business.


The following four steps will help guide you through the process:

Don’t renew your current contract

If you’re coming to the end of your current contract, it makes sense to look at your other options rather than renewing it. As the switch-off is fast approaching, changing over to a newer system such as VoIP now, rather than renewing one which will reach end of life soon, means that you will avoid the last minute rush and have more time to consider what solution will work best for your business.

Choose your replacement

Each business will have its own individual requirements but generally, the type of new technology you go for will depend on the size of your business. Both VoIP and SIP can both be scaled up in line with the growth of your business, but VoIP is a better choice for small businesses as it is easy to install since it doesn’t require dedicated hardware. SIP allows you to keep your current phone system which makes it better for larger businesses who have different branches and more IT support.

Whichever you go for, it will be a significant upgrade from ISDN – it’s just a matter of deciding which is best suited to your business.  

Check Your Existing Systems 

Before you get going, it is important to check that you have the functionality to support your new technology. Your connection has to be fast enough and have sufficient bandwidth to be able to cope with your calls.

You also need to make sure that your current system can support the upgrade. Most systems are compatible with VoIP and SIP but it’s definitely worth checking before you make the switch.


It is usually possible to get your new phone system set up quite quickly, depending on the size, number of users and number of different locations your business has. Once you have your new system installed, you can relax, safe in the knowledge that your phone system is future-proof and enjoy all of the features of your new technology.


Need Help Making the Switch?

At EBC Group, we can manage all aspects of your migration over to VoIP or SIP and can assist you with upgrading your connection. We do this in the following way:

  1. Audit – We will carry out a physical audit of your relevant circuits to scope out what the potential options could be.
  2. Replacement Analysis – We will analyse your requirements to find the best solution for your business
  3. Migration – We will manage the scheduling and design of your new VoIP or SIP system to ensure a smooth transition

We provide a full range of telephony and connectivity services, alongside our other managed services, and can offer expert advice on which solutions will be right for your business. Contact us online, email us at hello@ebcgroup.co.uk or phone us on 0121 3680119.