What is the PSTN Switch Off? What does it mean for Homes and Businesses?

Analogue Telephone

By 2025, BT / Openreach is planning the PSTN Switch off also known as the traditional analog telephone network across the UK, moving all voice services over to an IP-based system. This is part of the company’s plan to retire the aging public switched telephone network (PSTN) and upgrade to a modern, internet-based infrastructure for voice communications.

While this technological transition will bring benefits like increased reliability and the ability to provide additional services over the new digital network, it also means potentially major changes and challenges for UK homes and businesses still relying on traditional landlines.

Impacts on Homes

For residential users, the telephone network switch off means landlines plugged into outlets on the wall will eventually stop working. Voice services will need to be moved over to VoIP (Voice over IP) delivered either via a fiber broadband connection or over a mobile network.

This could require replacing handsets and phone sockets with VoIP adapters or new internet-based phones. Security and medical alert systems that use landlines will also need to be upgraded or replaced with digital alternatives. Many UK homes may need to update their telecommunications setup.

Impacts on Businesses

The telephone switchover poses potentially larger challenges for businesses. Companies still running on legacy phone systems, fax machines, payment terminal line connections, alarm systems, or other services on the soon-to-be retired PSTN infrastructure will need to migrate to IP-based communications.

This could involve adopting new VoIP phone services and cloud-based unified communications platforms, as well as upgrading other telecom equipment and wiring. Larger businesses dependent on older ISDN on-premises PBX phone systems may face complex and costly overhauls.

Potential Solutions

To ease this technological transition, homes and businesses should audit their current voice services and plan for any required upgrades. Evaluating broadband speeds and connectivity to support voice over IP services will be important.

Those heavily impacted may want to speak with the team at Exascale to help them navigate the changes and select new internet-based voice solutions tailored to their needs.

With the Switch off of PSTN just a few years away, making a telephone upgrade plan is critical for any UK home or organisation still reliant on aging landline infrastructure. The end of traditional telephone service could be disruptive, but also offers opportunities to adopt modern digital communications better suited to today’s internet-based world.

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