Openreach’s Big Move: The Switch Off of the PSTN Network in the UK
What the transition from the traditional PSTN to digital communication means for UK businesses, and why it’s important to prepare now.
The End of an Era: What’s Happening?
If you’re a UK business owner who’s still using traditional phone lines, then this article is a must-read for you. Openreach, the company that runs most of the UK’s phone lines, is in the process of phasing out its Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). That’s the network which has been supporting landline phones, fax machines, and some older broadband services for years. By the end of 2025, they plan to have switched over entirely to digital services. So, what does this mean for you? Let’s delve in.
Why Are They Doing This?
Before you start worrying, let’s clarify why Openreach is making this significant change. The PSTN network is getting a bit long in the tooth—it’s essentially outdated technology. The new digital network is more efficient, has better call quality, and is easier to maintain. It’s about staying current and competitive in today’s fast-paced tech landscape.
Impacts on UK Businesses
No More Landlines: The most immediate effect will be the discontinuation of traditional landline services. Businesses will need to migrate to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions or similar digital communication platforms.
Broadband Changes: If your broadband is still running on the PSTN, you’ll need to switch. Most businesses should already be on faster, more reliable connections like fibre, but if you’re not, now’s the time to upgrade.
Alarm and Payment Systems: Specialised services that use phone lines, like fire and security alarms or card payment machines, may need to be updated or replaced.
Fax is Finally Out: If you are one of the few still using fax, it’s time to say goodbye. Digital alternatives are already readily available.
Cost Implications: While the initial setup might be a cost to consider, VoIP systems can be cheaper in the long run with lower call costs and maintenance fees.
How to Prepare Your Business
Audit Your Services: Make a list of all services that use the PSTN network.
Consult with OptaNet: Contact us, and we can tell you about the steps you need to take for the switch.
Plan and Budget: This isn’t just a change; it’s an upgrade. Use it as an opportunity to evaluate what communication tools your business actually needs.
Employee Training: Make sure your team knows how to use the new systems. A smooth transition is a well-prepared one.
Test: Before the complete switch, test out the new services to iron out any issues.
It’s Not Just a Tech Swap
Don’t just look at this as a forced technology update; view it as an opportunity to reassess and upgrade your business communication tools. The digital options coming your way could open doors to features and capabilities that benefit your business in ways you hadn’t considered.
The Openreach switch-off is a big deal, but it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it might be the push your business needs to finally embrace the digital age fully. Start planning now to ensure a smooth transition and capitalize on the benefits that modern communication technologies can offer. Remember, the future waits for no one—but it’s looking pretty bright for those who are prepared.