ISDN switch-off – How will it affect me and how do I make the switch?
What is the ISDN switch-off?
To put it simply, BT will begin switching off all old, traditional phone lines resulting in a full ISDN switch-off in 2025. And, whilst that gives you plenty of time to address it, you should begin planning now.
BT intend to switch off all traditional networks for good. They also plan to stop supplying ISDN and PTSN in 2020, with the aim of making a full migration at some point in 2025. So, if you are considering having an ISDN phone line installed soon, you may want to reconsider.
We would absolutely recommend making the switch before 2025 instead of installing what will soon be a redundant ISDN line.
What even is ISDN?
ISDN (short for Integrated Service Digital Network) is the original high-speed internet service. Throughout the 1990s it helped high-speed internet develop at an incredible rate, which revolutionised web use and the online world in general.
ISDN was the next step up from dial-up; yes, that slow, noisy service that anyone born after 2000 may not even have heard of. As revolutionary and path-leading as ISDN was, technology has now moved along again.
What is replacing it?
For a while now, BT has been putting plans together to make the switch to its new VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) service.
Unlike previous solutions, VoIP does not need to run over copper lines, making them and line rental charges completely redundant. Now, all you need is an active internet connection, which the majority of the country has.
A good portion of the UK market has recognised the impending switch to VoIP and the benefits it brings.
Why is this taking place?
Good question. As mentioned previously, technology is moving fast and traditional lines no longer meet the demands of new, up to date communication methods. ISDN doesn’t even support data connections (the internet) and is restricted in its benefits to simple things like voicemail and the nifty 1471.
Another key reason behind the switch is that the current infrastructure runs on aging equipment, with replacement parts and the skills needed to make repairs becoming more and more rare every day.
The final reason is purely financial. BT has invested a lot of money into the new system (VoIP) and, with the old technology becoming increasingly more expensive to service, they now feel that it’s the right time to make the switch.
What should my business be doing to prepare?
If you are one of the 2 million people who are currently a BT ISDN customer, then you have just under 5 years to review all of your options and make the final change.
There are some great options on the table and, if your current ISDN contract is soon up for renewal, then you may want to consider looking at making the switch to VoIP sooner, rather than later.
Is my current internet connection good enough to deliver VoIP?
While the use of VoIP does not require much data at all compared to other services that you may use, you will still require enough bandwidth to deliver it. If your office does not have enough bandwidth then you could experience poor audio quality. Most VoIP providers suggest a broadband bandwidth of 5Mbps download and 2Mbps upload as a bare minimum for a small office.
Unsure if your internet connection is good enough to run VoIP? Get in touch with our team!
Now that you have a basic understanding of the whole process, we would recommend speaking to a member of our team who can review your current set up and help you decide on the best route forward for your business.
Remember, you have plenty of time ahead of the ISDN switch-off in 2025, but we would advise at the very least looking into it now, so that you are not caught short when the switch off date finally rolls around.
If you need more information regarding BT’s ISDN services, please click here.