BT to Shut Down PSTN and ISDN Networks– What You Need To Know

The very latest from Channel

2 May, 2018

In 2015, BT Openreach announced that they would be phasing out the current PSTN and ISDN networks, meaning customers will need to make plans to move to internet-based telecommunications, such as SIP trunking.

Since the announcement, there has been some panic and confusion within businesses in regards to their phone systems. Many are being told they must switch over to an IP network now, by unscrupulous providers who are capitalising on the uncertainty for their own gain. However, making this switch is something that is not necessarily in their best interest if their current infrastructure cannot yet support it.

Find out more about why BT Openreach are making the switch, the alternatives and benefits of switching to an IP network and things you should consider before making the decision to switch.

Why Are BT Making the Switch?

For the same reason you now use a smartphone and not a Motorola Razr (remember them?). With much more powerful options available, more and more businesses are making the switch to IP; this change comes as part of the natural evolution of business phone systems.

Is There an Alternative to ISDN?

Most businesses use the ISDN (integrated services digital network) for their office phone systems, so ensuring an alternative is in place before the change, will be vital.

Sip Trunking

SIP Trunking has become the most popular alternative for businesses moving away from traditional fixed phone lines, offering better functionality and reduced costs.

Our SIP Trunks work by connecting your PBX with our powerful network through an internet connection as opposed to a fixed line. This connects your premises directly to the Public Telephone Network (PSTN). Your PBX can be hosted in your premises, or within a colocation centre managed by ourselves.

How SIP trunks from Channel work

Our SIP Trunks are highly flexible and compatible with all leading IP PBX brands, offering a range of different benefits to businesses:

What are the Benefits of SIP Trunking?

Scalability – Unlike ISDN lines, SIP Trunks can seamlessly grow with your business. What would have been a costly upscale is replaced with a simple configuration change, no additional hardware required.

Cost – Perhaps the most attractive reason to switch to SIP Trunks is the potential cost savings, with most businesses typically seeing a reduction of up to 40% on their monthly telephony costs.

Functionality – SIP Trunks offer vast functionality that is just not possible on an ISDN line. Examples include toll-free numbers, remote working capability, local phone numbers, call recording and call forwarding.

One Provider – With an ISDN line, businesses are required to pay separately for voice and data services. This is not the case with SIP Trunks; they allow businesses to consolidate these costs and have a more holistic view of their telecoms spend.

Flexibility – In the event of an emergency, it’s possible to route calls to an alternative location at no extra cost. Changing premises whilst keeping the same number in the event of a move is also completely feasible.

SIP trunking supporting business continuity

Faster Installation and Support – As there are fewer physical components to maintain, there’s no more waiting around for an engineer to get you connected again.

Things to Consider Before Switching

Whilst it may feel like the clock is ticking, there is no need to panic. Rushing into a decision could result in downtime, lost working hours and even the realisation that your current infrastructure can’t support your new phone system.

Here are a few considerations you should be making now to ensure your business is prepared for the change. 

Internet Connection – As SIP Trunks run through broadband and not a fixed line, having a strong enough connection is essential. Take a look at our business broadband and leased lines options to ensure you can support SIP Trunks.

Location – Similarly, some IP providers may not be able to support SIP in certain locations like rural areas. Be sure to check with your IP provider before making the switch.

Cost – Whilst SIP Trunking will certainly save your business money in the long run, the initial cost must be considered. Despite what some providers will tell you, not all SIP services will be compatible with your existing hardware.

For example, whilst some PBX’s can be upgraded to support SIP Trunking, an investment in an IP-enabled PBX or cloud based phone system is recommended to reap all the benefits of SIP Trunking in the long run.

To avoid getting stung, use a reputable SIP provider and ensure that any upgrades to your current system are included within your quote.

Be Prepared For The Switch Off With Channel Comms

If your business isn’t ready for the switch over to BT’s new IP network, don’t panic. With so much to consider, it’s in your best interest to think and plan the best course of action to ensure you are prepared.

If you’re in need of assistance or want to know which alternative will best suit your business model, we can help. We’ll help you assess which option is right for you based on your needs and budget, and be with you every step of the way to ensure a smooth switch over with no system downtime.

Call us free today on 0800 856 9000 or fill out a contact form below for more information.