BT have announced that in 2025 they are preparing for an ISDN switch off – starting the phasing out process from January 2020. This means all traditional PTSN (Public Switched Telephone Network) phone lines will be deactivated and old ISDN lines will no longer be maintained. So now is time to start preparing your business for the ISDN switch off and talk to our technical experts about how this will effect your business.
What do i do now?
Firstly, don’t panic! There is enough time to plan a structured move to a modern internet based technology and to minimise any distribution to your business.
Existing telephone numbers can be retained and migrated to the new technology however there may be a requirement to either change or upgrade hardware on site, this will only be identified by speaking to a technical expert.
The key to a successful migration to new internet technology is all in the planning and highlighting any potential risks along with implementing a full testing plan.
This is something we do meticulously with all our clients and we’ve listed some key steps below …
1. Don’t renew your ISDN CONTRACT
Firstly, although it may seem obvious – do not renew your ISDN contract. If you are one of the 2 million BT ISDN clients using the old ISDN system, 5 years may seem a while away. But 2020 is just around the corner and this marks the beginning of the phase out. Don’t get tied into auto-renewal.
Look at your existing contract and discover the earliest time you can do this. You can switch to an alternative sooner if you feel it is right for you, but you may have contract obligations, so check when the earliest exit could be and work towards that date.
2. Review your Current Set-up
Look at your existing infrastructure and map out your needs for the future. What set-up will help you work most productively? Do your staff need more mobility? Do you have future business plans such as a move or adding new premises?
Think about what features you want to add with a new telephone system and how you would benefit from these. Don’t rush into any “quick fixes that may not be capable of providing the flexibility your business could need in the future.
3. Review your options
When trying to prepare for the ISDN switch off, as a business you need to look for other alternatives. Businesses will need to assess how their phone lines are currently used in order to understand how the new systems will work. Look at what ISDN alternatives will work best for you based on your findings from step 2 and on your budget.
Hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a commonly used business protocol. In simple terms, this is a cloud based telephone system that replaces older site based telephone systems and delivers many additional business advantages.
If you have ISDN lines and don’t want to commit or retain an on-premise phone system, then a Hosted VoIP solution would be best. Hosted VoIP uses your internet to transit calls and data and you don’t even need any on-site hardware. It is a great option for those who want the functionality and scalability of a phone system with no extra maintenance charges.
SIP (Session initiation Protocol) Trunks are an internet-based version of older technology; like ISDN, SIP Trunks are cheaper and far more scalable that their older counterparts. One thing to be aware of with SIP trunks is that existing telephone systems may need upgrading to be able to utilise the modern technology.
It is the best alternative if you have an on-premise phone system. This is mostly down to the flexibility it gives you, the speed in which you can add/remove lines, the quality of the calls and the lower call costs.
4. Plan Your Migration
Lean on your telephony partner to discuss the options for your migration. They can advise on any hardware upgrades, the pricing, the timeframes involved and anything else you may require getting you migrated. For example, if you decide to use VoIP, you need to check our internet connection could cope with all the new traffic generated. If your current connection isn’t up to scratch, you may have to have a new upgrade.
Businesses can claim up to £2,500 against the cost of a new internet connection through the Government Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which is a new initiative to get Britain’s businesses using new fibre technology.
5. Be prepared for change!
New cloud-based technology brings real business benefits, with BT’s announcement that they are switching off the old ISDN network now is the time to discover how this new technology can enhance your business. Check out our light-hearted video below and get in touch with our technical experts on 0333 150 6780 to discuss these changes in detail and start planning for this change now.