CEO of BT, Gavin Patterson, recently announced at an investor meeting that BT was looking to ISDN services from its PSTN by 2025. It plans to begin implementing this with a cease in supply to come into effect from 2020 and then eventually a complete migration by 2025.

If data by Ofcom is to be believed, the UK has 33.2 million fixed landlines. Out of these 7.6 million belong to business outfits. BT plans to encourage adoption of IP network by phasing out legacy networks and platforms.

Businesses which still use ISDN can seamlessly transfer to SIP trunking or VoIP hosting with/without BT’s help. Their former numbers can be ported and retained, and the whole process should not take more than a couple of weeks to be completed.

Despite the BT end of life is scheduled for 2025, BT is yet to establish this as the ultimate word on the subject. It is true that you won’t be able to purchase ISDN or PSTN services after 2020. However, your existing services won’t be switched off. BT will first find an alternative before they turn off these services for you.

The final date will be determined by how successful the UK rollout is. Unless there is connectivity to run other services, ISDN is the only alternative available.

Why is BT doing this?

ISDN and PSTN circuits may have functioned well for when they first came into the picture, but the truth is that technology has now developed to become faster, smarter and in general, a lot better. Cloud-based telephony is the latest communications technology in the market, and many businesses have already abandoned the use of ISDN telephony to adopt it. Maintaining a series of legacy networks is becoming an expensive affair for BT, and so they’ve decided on this step to converge all their services to a single network for better cost-effectiveness.

What exactly are ISDN and PSTN?

ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network, and PSTN is short for Public Switched Telephone Network. PSTN is nothing but the original analogue telephone system created for vocal communication. It became the mainstay of phone calls and the primary carrier for internet activity across the world. ISDN, which came after, allowed for digital transmission of voice, video and similar services relying on the traditional PSTN network.

What options do you have?

SIP Trunking is an excellent place to start. It provides businesses with the option of streamlining their communication costs and resources. It does away with the requirement of having physical phone lines, bringing down cost and restrictions around call capacity and location.

Users have the freedom to work from any location they’d like now because of the virtual phone lines. They can attend calls from any place that makes available an internet connection in contrast to legacy phone systems which necessitate the presence of physical ISDN lines. There are also other benefits to switching to SIP Trunking. Users can choose to retain their number wherever they may be. They no longer have to shell out costly ISDN maintenance charges. SIP Trunking maximises uptime and ensures business connectivity enabling an individual to deal more effectively with emergencies that may present itself. He/she can save on call forwarding and call connection costs. Moreover, SIP Trunking provides a single connection for high-quality data and voice services.

VoIP or Voice-over-IP services allow voice calls on a much wider global scale using a computer or mobile device, i.e. connected to the internet. It also offers a veritable alternative to your traditional legacy communication systems. The cost of maintaining a VoIP connection is so much cheaper than for a conventional ISDN connection. VoIP communication systems also referred to as cloud-based communication systems enable free communication on the same network. Setup and ongoing costs are minimal, if any, as a result.

Should you Switch?

Connectivity in the UK is improving day by day, and the phasing out of ISDN and PSTN may even be complete before 2025 at this rate! The date may be shifted by a couple of years here or there, but one thing remains unchangeable and, i.e. the fact that both ISDN and PSTN are outdated technologies that need to be discarded in favor of modern technologies such as VoIP. Cloud-based telephony is the only future of communication, and it will be here sooner than you can expect, so it’s a good idea to get a move on. If technology is developing at speed it is, it makes no sense not to update your telecom system.

In case your existing ISDN/PSTN telephony contract is up for renewal in the coming years, you should start exploring the pros and cons of VoIP and SIP technologies. 2025 may still be some time away, but 2020 is knocking on our doors already.

When you adopt the right technology in time, you future proof your company improving the processes, performance and overall satisfaction of the employees. SIP Trunking can help businesses transform the ways they communicate internally and externally, facilitate the maximization of their business efficiency, enable cost savings and better client experience in the process. Moving fast will ensure that companies are not left without a phone system.

Cloud telephony in itself has modernized so much more since the days of Skype. It is all the more beneficial as it doesn’t involve rental or contractual communications. As with other similar SaaS-based tools, it allows you and your business team to use your own devices for making business calls, adding/removing users on an as-needed basis as well as work from any which location.

The future looks bright for IP systems and introducing this kind of flexibility into your business operations will only help it stay relevant and thrive in the coming years.

Existing businesses should look to making the switch to VoIP and SIP systems as soon as their contracts with legacy systems run out. New businesses should ideally implement these new systems from the get-go to stay on top of the game.