In 2025, the UK’s Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will be switched off. Due to increased difficulties associated with maintaining the now-aged infrastructure, businesses that still use older analogue phone lines for voice services must migrate to digital-enabled communications.
But there is concern that not enough businesses are undergoing their transformation journeys away from the PSTN network, despite September 2023’s stop-sell coming into force, rendering businesses unable to place any new orders for PSTN services or making significant changes to existing services.
UK councils are also sounding the alarm for the government and organisations to assist with the transition to digital telephone systems. For businesses who might be vulnerable and not prepared for the switch-off, James Smith, Head of Pre Sales, at M247, provides tips they can implement to ease their struggles in their adoption of new digital communication infrastructure.
Embrace the PSTN switch-off as part of your wider digital transformation strategy
According to research conducted by M247, 54% of businesses do not believe that the PSTN switch-off has been well publicised, and despite the urgency of the switch-off, 88% of UK businesses still currently have analogue services running on the PSTN network.
Perhaps there is hesitancy towards moving away from the existing PSTN network, as core services including alarm systems and legacy voice systems may rely on PSTN lines. But, when the switch-off comes into force, if businesses have not transitioned to the new digital infrastructure, then they will face big problems and disruption.
However, for those who have already moved away from the PSTN network to new digital networks, 63% did so as part of their wider digital transformation strategy. Digital transformation is accelerating, as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that small UK businesses are adopting digital transformation at record pace. If business leaders adopt transitioning away from the PSTN network as part of their wider digital transformation projects, this can ensure potential pain-points are eased.
Implement upgrades to existing IT hardware to embrace digital benefits
Those who have already transitioned away from the PSTN network are enjoying a wealth of digital benefits. Our research found that 54% of respondents are enjoying improved flexibility after moving away from the PSTN network, whilst 42% have reported increased technical capabilities such as call recording and call transcription.
However, these new digital business enhancements will only work correctly with up-to-date and efficient IT hardware. Due to the increased data demands of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for example, older handsets and devices might not be compatible with newer ‘softphone’ capabilities. It’s important that IT teams undergo a full audit of their business’s entire suite of IT hardware across all departments. This will allow them to identify any compatibility issues in older devices which will ensure that they can maximise the benefits of their new digital solutions.
Enlist specialist support to assist with your understanding of the PSTN switch-off
With core services potentially facing serious disruption following 2025’s switch-off, business leaders must ensure they future-proof to ensure their transition is seamless. Enlisting the support of dedicated service providers can provide business leaders with the technical knowledge and assistance to minimise any sticking points in their migration journeys.
Managed service providers not only offer businesses a range of internet connectivity options, including Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SoGEA) or Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) broadband connections, but they are equipped to help with every stage of the migration process.
Additionally, a specialist connectivity partner can educate your workforce on how to operate new digital solutions efficiently, ensuring that employees are gaining the most value from your investment.
By enlisting the right technology partner, even the smallest of businesses can feel empowered to future-proof their IT infrastructure, drive greater business continuity, and deliver seamless experiences for customers and employees alike.