The planned closure of ISDN and PSTN services by BT in 2025 means companies need to upgrade to IP-based voice services soon.
For decades, the public switched telephone network was the only way to make voice calls. Then came the integrated services digital network (ISDN) which meant companies could lease their own private lines separate from the public network which could carry both voice and data traffic.
In seven years time, the lights will go out on all the electronic switches that support PSTN and ISDN services in telephone exchanges up and down the UK. Voice traffic will be carried over Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) broadband connections.
It will cut the cost of making calls and make work phone numbers more versatile. The traditional ‘fixed line’ numbers won’t be restricted by where their exchange is located. Numbers can follow people where they work so long as there’s an internet connection and it will be possible to support useful tools such as videoconferencing so virtual meetings can be organised to reduce travelling during the working day.
In addition, if your phone network stops working for any reason, you can choose to use a cloud phone system that would automatically forward employees’ phone numbers to their mobiles.
Gary Jowett, from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton, says: “Organisations need to plan ahead now so they can make the transition to VoIP telephony without any disruption to business as usual. However, it’s a good idea to get independent advice first to make sure your digital connection will have enough bandwidth to support all your future requirements for voice services and conferencing.”
For most people, 2025 represents an opportunity not an obstacle. It’s a chance to move to a more flexible way of working which could improve your attentiveness to customers and could reduce the amount of accommodation your company needs.
Gary says: “Having the flexibility to work away from the office more also means your security policy and processes may need to be reviewed. It’s possible that more confidential information might be viewed and shared in less secure locations. Such security and data safety issues also need to be taken into consideration when switching over to VoIP and appropriate training and guidance provided to staff and managers.”