Preparing UK Businesses for the Coming PSTN Switch Off

Hopefully you’ve already heard the latest news from the telecoms industry. PSTN and ISDN phone lines will soon become extinct once they are switched off by the end of 2025. Following the national stop-sell of copper wire based telephony products in September – it’s essential for businesses to make the switch to cloud-based and digital solutions, sooner rather than later. 

The PSTN Switch Off will require a robust framework of action as all business sectors will be impacted. In order to stay ahead of this significant change, businesses must start considering new, digital alternatives such as VoIP based communication technology.

The next year or so will be pivotal for all UK businesses and now is the time to start preparing for the digital transformation that will soon change everything.

Future-proofing UK businesses

In order to maintain a competitive edge in the market, UK businesses must prioritise adopting new technology or they will simply get left behind. Businesses that fail to prepare to make the switch may be at risk of not having a working telephone system come at the end of 2025. 

To help future-proof the UK business landscape, decision makers need to take real care when deciding on their new communications provider, to ensure it’s a smooth transition. Businesses need to take the time to carefully weigh all options to ensure they choose a telephone system that will stand the test of time, rather than one that will need to be upgraded in five years as a result of new technical developments. 

However, it’s important to note that this isn’t merely a matter of switching phone lines. It presents a chance for businesses to undergo a digital transformation that safeguards their operations against future technological advances. It’s an opportunity to enhance sustainability and elevate the businesses technology toolkit with innovative tools that can boost the team’s efficiency and productivity. 

The telephone system of choice should be one that offers greater flexibility, such as a cloud-based VoIP system – an upgrade on any current system. Ultimately, no one will be able to avoid the coming PSTN Switch Off and senior leaders will need to act fast to confidently navigate the coming digital changes to the market over the next few years.

What are the new solutions?

Upgrading to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) based solution brings with it a whole host of new advanced features that can be tailored to the business. 

With these features, businesses will be able to efficiently divert calls, have access to call analytics data and enjoy a stronger call connection, whilst providing a more professional service all in one go. Switching to VoIP will also allow businesses to better unify their communications as they will be able to integrate the system with other features such as email, instant messaging, call recording and more – making VoIP the most attractive alternative.

By moving away from outdated landlines, businesses will immediately benefit from a system that is more sustainable. As businesses are looking for ways to reduce CO2 emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future, choosing a VoIP based solution is the clear choice as less energy is required to power them – in comparison to PSTN systems that greatly rely on vast amounts of copper wiring. A resource-intensive and inherently difficult line to produce, leaving a huge carbon footprint.

By taking a proactive approach in making the switch before the September ‘stop sell’, businesses will be able to better understand the new features before committing to future monthly packages. 

Embracing the Switch Off

In addition to the operational advantages for businesses, such as the improved internal efficiency and productivity resulting from the user-friendliness and speed of these new digital tools, there are other benefits from making the switch. 

For most UK businesses a VoIP phone system will work out cheaper than the older PSTN system as there is less physical infrastructure to install and replace without all the usual copper wiring. Additionally, businesses will be able to scale up their communications by just simply adding more employees to the VoIP system. Whereas with legacy phone systems, businesses are limited to a certain number of phone lines per service, making scaling difficult. 

The Switch Off comes at a time when the UK Government has pledged to invest over £300 million into improving data skills and digital infrastructure to cement the UK’s position as a technological superpower by 2030. Switching to VoIP systems will positively contribute to the overall digital transformation of the UK’s business landscape and economy. However, its success will depend on how quickly businesses embrace the new technology and how effectively businesses incorporate it into their own digital transformation strategy.

Moreover, we must consider the sustainable advantages that come with VoIP systems. In line with the UK’s commitment to achieving Net Zero emissions, businesses are under growing pressure to contribute. Digital and cloud-based tools play a pivotal role in minimising the impact on the environment by using video, messaging and other means to serve customers, reducing the need for environmentally harmful travel. 

Looking ahead

The National Stop Sell is happening in less than three months. With that in mind, business decision makers will need to ramp up their digital strategies in order to act fast and with confidence when planning their next communication tool.

Understandably, the PSTN Switch Off will raise some level of uncertainty, but with the right information and the right tools for the job, we can work together to ensure a smooth transition for all businesses when The Big Switch Off finally happens.

Chris Wade

Chris Wade, CMPO at Gamma

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