The big switch off: Is now the right time to upgrade your PSTN phone system?
By Damian Hanson, Co-Founder & Director of CircleLoop
In today’s fast-paced world, technology is advancing at a striking rate, transforming the way businesses operate and communicate. One significant development on the horizon is BT’s plan to halt the sale of products that run on old copper wiring in all exchange areas by September 2023 and the complete switch-off by the end of 2025.
This decision marks a decisive shift away from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) systems that have been the backbone of telephony for decades.
To ensure your business is not affected, preparation is in order. It is important to understand what the change means for small businesses, what the risks and opportunities are, and how to get ready before the cut-off in September 2023. So why is this happening now?
What is the Big Switch Off and why is it happening?
The Big Switch Off refers to the upcoming discontinuation of PSTN in the UK. It has been the traditional communication network since its introduction in 1875 and is now considered outdated by BT Openreach.
The switch-off will impact phone lines, fax machines, alarm systems, and door entry machines – anything running on copper PSTN wiring will no longer work and will need to be replaced with a digital network for every home and business in the UK. As a result, telephone lines that are not running over the Internet using Internet Protocol (IP) will no longer be supported by UK networks starting from 2025 onwards.
Businesses will be faced with having to make important decisions in switching their phone systems to enable reliable communication with their customers. With multiple options available it is important to understand what solutions are out there and how they can benefit your business.
Benefits of switching over to VoIP for your business
According to a recent survey conducted by National Business Communications, 69.5% of UK businesses still rely on landlines within their organizations, despite the impending switch-off.
Embracing cloud-based communications presents the ideal alternative, and delaying the transition until the last minute is not advisable if you want to make the most of this opportunity to digitally transform. By upgrading to systems like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), businesses can ensure that they are future-proofed and modernized for the digital age.
There are multiple benefits of switching to VoIP that will allow your businesses to thrive in the digital world.
By transitioning to VoIP, businesses can enjoy improved connectivity through faster broadband. This enhanced internet connection positively impacts team productivity and overall output, ultimately leading to increased profitability. With a stable and reliable communication infrastructure, companies can ensure seamless communication with their customers, partners, and suppliers which is more important in times of uncertainty than ever.
Improved Customer Relationships
Faster and more reliable communication results in a better experience for customers using their products or services. Clear and uninterrupted communication enhances customer satisfaction, builds trust, and strengthens relationships, which can contribute to long-term loyalty and repeat business.
Supports Remote Working
VoIP systems facilitate remote working arrangements. The flexibility of VoIP empowers businesses to embrace and support flexible working practices, enabling employees to stay connected and productive from any location, and promoting work-life balance and employee satisfaction.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cloud-based Phone System
A survey commissioned by Spitfire Network Services Ltd revealed nearly three-quarters (72%) of UK SMBs still don’t consider the PSTN Switch Off a high business priority. Upgrading a business phone system is no longer just an option but a necessity in order to stay competitive and keep pace with the demands of a digital world.
It may be a daunting time for your business and you may be stuck considering multiple options. When considering the selection of an alternative phone system, there are several key factors to take into account:
- Cost: Does the Cloud-based service offer comparable or improved costs compared to traditional systems?
- Upgrade: Does the chosen system provide additional benefits and enhanced value for your organization?
- Training: Will the system facilitate the learning process for your staff, allowing them to adapt smoothly with minimal disruption?
- Need: Does the Cloud-based solution meet the present and future requirements of your business?
By carefully evaluating these aspects, you can make an informed decision and successfully transition to a cloud-based communication system, ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your business in today’s digital landscape.
Embracing Cloud-Based Communications
The upcoming Big Switch Off presents a crucial opportunity for businesses to digitally transform and future-proof their business in a way that allows easy adaptation to technological advances to come. In short, now is the time to consider your alternatives to PSTN as businesses that take advantage of this immense opportunity will reap the benefits and see far faster and greater business growth in the long term.