The Big Analogue Phone Line Switch Off - Is Your Business Ready?
By 2025, analogue telephone networks will be completely shut down and switched off, with major changes being seen before then.
But what will this big switch off mean for businesses? What changes might we see? What benefits will switching to digital bring?
Let’s dive in, starting with…
What Is The Big Analogue Switch Off?
Essentially, the ‘Big Analogue Switch Off’ refers to the shutting down of all analogue networks by 2025 due to the advancement of newer digital technology. These networks are the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).
The PSTN is the tangle of copper wires that are the foundation of our communications network, handling the data for analogue phones and tax machines, and it dates back to Victorian times. The infrastructure required for this includes cables, green cabinets and telephone poles, which are increasingly expensive to maintain and are falling behind the digital age. Therefore, in 2015, BT announced the PSTN will be phased out by 31st December 2025.
The ISDN was the attempt in the 1990s to digitalise these connections, converting some of the copper telephone lines into digital channels, helping people to access the internet. In places where the more modern broadband internet isn’t available, ISDN is still used for this. As ISDN uses the same infrastructure as PSTN, this will also be phased out by 2025.
Businesses need to transition away from analogue lines by the time they’re shut down. According to Virgin Busines, “33% of larger firms operate on ISDN and/or PSTN and 42% of SMEs (2.4m businesses) use legacy services to transmit voice data”. That’s still a huge number of businesses that will need to move away from analogue by 2025.
Over the past decade, companies have been building more modern internet protocol (IP) networks to replace the dated analogue networks. These IP networks can support both broadband and landline telephone services. The time of the analogue network is coming to an end.
When Is The Big Analogue Switch Off Happening?
The Big Analogue Switch Off has already started, and is due to be completed by 31st December 2025.
Some providers have been switching off old services since 2020, and businesses won’t be able to acquire PSTN, ISDN, non-digital phones or non-fibre broadband from September 2023.
Traditional analogue telephone systems are also expected to stop being sold by the end of 2022.
With more and more services and devices being withdrawn, it may be time to start thinking about what your business needs to do in response to the Big Analogue Switch Off.
What’s Being Switched Off? Is It Just Analogue Phone Lines?
While the Big Analogue Switch Off is only switching off analogue lines, it will have a wide reaching influence.
Anything that uses analogue lines will be impacted, including:
- Analogue home landlines
- Analogue office phone systems
- Emergency telephones in lifts
- CCTV lines
- EPOS payment systems
- Panic alarms
- Door-entry systems
- Burglar alarms
- Traffic lights
- Broadband services which run over ADSL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Lines) and FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)
Due to the wide reaching nature of analogue lines, it’s worthwhile performing a full audit of the technology you use to assess how the Big Analogue Switch Off will affect you and your business.
Does That Mean We Need To Scrap Our Analogue Equipment?
So does this mean all analogue equipment will be obsolete when the analogue lines are switched off? Not necessarily.
There is the option of using Analogue Telephone Converters (ATA) to convert analogue signals into digital signals , thus allowing you to continue using your analogue equipment. While this may not work in all cases, it’s worth keeping in mind if there is a piece of equipment you want/need to keep using.
What Are The Advantages of Switching To Digital Phone Lines?
While some may be sad to see analogue technology go, it’s not all doom and gloom. The switch to digital technology brings with it a number of benefits.
Many businesses will have already made the switch to digital, notably VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions. This includes online meeting platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, with the pandemic playing a large role in the migration to these platforms.
Some of the advantages that come with the switch to digital phone lines include:
- Clearer, better quality phone calls
- Cheaper phone calls
- Faster to provision new lines
- Reduced line rental due to less need for physical lines
- Easy to transfer calls between offices and locations
- Use a work line from remote locations, not just in the office, increasing the ability to work from home
- Easy to check availability of team members
As you can see, digital phone lines and VoIP systems come with a range of advantages over their analogue predecessors. Find out more about VoIP systems here.
How To Ensure You’re Ready - The Stress Free Way
Make sure you and your business are prepared for the Big Analogue Switch Off. Here at Arcom, we provide a range of business telecom solutions, including phone hardware, as well as business phone line packages, and can work with you to identify your needs in a hassle and stress free way.
Get in touch for a no obligation chat about what we can do for you and your business.