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PSTN switch off

The PSTN switch off is coming! So, what does this mean for your business? In a nutshell, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will be fully closed down by January 2027. Ahead of this point, every legacy phone line and broadband connection across the UK will need to be upgraded to a fully digital service that uses internet protocol (IP) across a fibre-based network. The team at Focus Group are here to guide your business through the transition and help ensure your business is ready for the future of communication.

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What is the PSTN switch off?

The legacy PSTN (which stands for Public Switched Telephone Network) has served its purpose and no longer supports the demands of today’s level of communication. As a result, it is being replaced and upgraded to a far more resilient network…fibre.

All traditional PSTN lines, such as analogue or digital phone lines, ISDN phone systems used by businesses and older internet connections such as ADSL and FTTC broadband, will all become fully obsolete once the PSTN has been fully switched off.

Openreach are updating local telephone exchange across the UK, moving across to a full-fibre network to enable fast, reliable and cost-effective connectivity. So, it’s time to upgrade your telecoms and connectivity to ensure your business stays in touch and ready for all-digital future!

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PSTN switch off 2027

What is the PSTN stop sell?

The Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) will close in January 2027. On the 5th September 2023 the UK national ‘stop sell’ comes into effect This means every provider in the UK will stop selling traditional phone lines and fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband, additionally no changes can be made to your legacy telephony infrastructure. Every business in the UK will have to move to a fully digital network that uses Internet Protocol (IP) across a fibre-based service.

The PSTN stop sell won’t just affect telephony services, it also means you will need to upgrade your existing broadband connection. Any equipment that currently utilises the PSTN network will also need to be upgraded to an alternative solution: alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems, CCTV and so on.

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PSTN switch off 2025 stop sell

Farewell PSTN, hello full fibre!

Why is PSTN being switched off?

The traditional PSTN network, which is made from copper cables, is aging rapidly, has become fragile and is becoming increasingly costly and difficult to maintain. Installed back in the late 1800s, the PSTN simply doesn’t support the demands of 21st century communications, with the demand for higher speeds and bandwidth growing as the United Kingdom moves towards a digital future. The world has moved to mobile and internet communications with speed, accessibility and reliability at the top of the agenda. Our expectations are high and digital technology is the answer, so the country has opted to phase out legacy PSTN technology, in favour of the full fibre connectivity required to meet the demands of modern technology.

PSTN switch off - moving to VoIP
UK PSTN switch off

When is the PSTN switch off happening?

In 2027, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is being switched off by Openreach. This means everyone across the UK, including businesses, currently using PSTN-based services will need to upgrade to a new service ahead of this point.

In place of the copper based PSTN network, Openreach have been busy laying fibre and are currently on track to replace every connection across the UK by 2027. However, a rollout of this magnitude doesn’t happen overnight, so migration to full fibre is already fully underway and in many exchange areas it’s no longer possible to buy copper based PSTN services.

So, it’s time to make sure your business is prepared for the PSTN switch off. But fear not, it’s an exciting time and the benefits of a full fibre, IP network are huge!

Who and how will it affect me?

According to reports, around 2.4 million businesses across the UK still operate on legacy telephone lines and ISDN networks - served by the PSTN (public switched telephone network). With the PSTN switch off fast approaching, it’s time to make sure your business isn’t one of them, as legacy systems simply won’t work.

If your business is currently using ISDN/PSTN telephony or broadband services, now is the time to start exploring the benefits of upgrading to fibre based technology.

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UK PSTN switch off 2027

What do I need to do?

The full PSTN switch off in 2027 may seem a while away but many locations across the UK will be affected by a stop sale on any new ISDN or PSTN-based services much sooner than that. In fact, by September 2023, you’ll no longer be able to buy a traditional phone line across any exchange area. So, now’s the time to explore the exciting new and futureproof services available to your business.

If you currently have a PSTN service you'll need to switch your services to an IP (VoIP) telephony solution and your broadband to a based solution. Due to the PSTN switch off you will be force to move to a new service, however, upgrading your services and systems now means that you can take advantage of the benefits of hosted telephony and fibre connectivity ahead of the competition, whilst also futureproofing your business.

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PSTN switch off January 2027

What replacement products are available?

The future is fibre so going forward, all phone calls will be made over the internet using IP technology and solutions such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) voice technology and broadband services such as SoGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access), FTTP (Fibre to the Premises), full fibre broadband and wireless leased lines.

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What does the PSTN switch off mean for me

Benefits of the PSTN switch off

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Stay connected, anytime, anywhere

A business phone system keeps you connected. Whether your team are office-based, working from home or out and about, you can call, connect and collaborate. No matter where your business takes you, access to all the tools and features of your phone system are at your fingertips.

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Flexible and cost effective

Moving to VoIP means your phone system will run over the internet, which opens the door to making free or very low cost calls. It also gives every business the ability to be much more flexible because you can take and manage calls; anytime, anywhere and from any device – meaning you’ll never miss an important call again!

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All the features

Switch to a business phone system and tap into a world of communication tools. The easy-to-control call features are endless; from call management abilities such as call handling, voicemail-to-email, collaborative call distribution and auto attendant through to live call boards, real-time analytics and call recording. You can configure the system to match the exact requirements of your business.

Frequently asked questions

The Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) is due to be disconnected by Openreach on 31st of January 2027. As a result of this every phone line for UK businesses will move to a fully digital network that operates using voice over internet protocol technology (VoIP) that operates over a fibre-based service. The PSTN switch off will not only effect phone lines across the UK, it will also involve switching broadband lines away from a standard copper line onto a full-fibre network that is being rolled out across the country.

The rollout is gradual across the UK and may mean that you may need to switch from PSTN to fibre and IP services before the January 2027 deadline, it is important to ensure that you switch your services as soon as possible to ensure there is no loss of phone and broadband service as a result.

All traditional PSTN lines, such as analogue or digital phone lines, ISDN phone systems used by businesses, and older internet connections, such as ADSL and FTTC broadband, will all become obsolete. So, if your business is using any of these legacy connections for its phone lines or broadband, it’s time to upgrade to a full fibre connection and a VoIP-based phone system.

Unfortunately, it was announced on the 22nd of May 2024 that the PSTN switch off 2025 was not going to be feasible by BT Openreach. The deadline has since been delayed to January 2027 where all analogue phone lines are set to be deactivated, moving the countries infrastructure to full fibre.

Openreach will close the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), however even with the delay it is still important for all businesses to change over to IP based servers as soon as possible to prevent loss of service when the switch off reaches their premises.

It’s fair to say that the PSTN has served the world of communication well since its introduction back in the late 1800s. However, the copper-based network is old, has become fragile and increasingly difficult to maintain. It’s been straining under the weight of 21st century demands for fast, reliable connectivity and, quite simply, is no longer fit for purpose.

There is a huge range of VoIP business phone systems so the team at Focus Group are here to help. We’ll take a look at the specific requirements of your business, discuss all the options available and help you select the best system to suit you, we have a wide range of VoIP phone systems suited to business of all sizes include: Gamma Horizon, Microsoft Teams phone system, Phoneline+, SIP trunking, 3CX and more. And naturally we’ll guide you through all you need to know to ensure a seamless transition to an all-IP future.

As exchange areas hit 75% completion for installation of fibre connections, “stop sell” notices are being issued on copper-based services. After this point, the services will be withdrawn. Businesses need to upgrade to fibre-based telecoms and internet solutions ahead of this withdrawal process to ensure continuity of service. Look at what services you need to migrate now, avoid a last-minute panic or potentially long-lead times for the installation of new services and take advantage of all the benefits of VoIP services sooner rather than later.

PSTN is a basic service which uses the circuit-switched copper phone lines to transmit analogue voice data. Used for decades in homes and businesses, a PSTN phone number is equivalent to one line and can’t be used for anything else whilst a call is being made. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) uses IP-based technology to make calls over the internet – enabling faster, cheaper, more reliable and flexible communication, whilst also removing the need to rely on expensive and high maintenance copper-based services.

ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network – allows the digital transmission of voice, video and data over the traditional PSTN phone lines. Put simply, it allows you to make phone calls and access the internet using the same port as your phone line but the departure from the PSTN will also mean an ISDN switch off.

Yes. Openreach is already busy preparing exchanges across the UK and the migration to new, full fibre connections is now well underway. In some exchange areas, a stop sale of legacy PSTN phone lines has already been implemented. You will need to update your legacy telephony and connectivity to a full fibre and hosted solution to ensure your business remains connected before the full Openreach UK WLR switch-off in 2027. *Please note - In some exchange areas, a stop sale of legacy PSTN phone lines has already been implemented & all exchanges will fall into this rule by October 2023.

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PSTN switch off explained

With the PSTN switch off well under way, it’s important for UK businesses to future proof and get ready for an all-IP future by 2027.

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What is hosted telephony?

Learn about hosted technology and why it’s time to consider switching in 2024 before the big Openreach switch off for UK customers.

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What is SIP trunking?

Let us introduce you to the session initiation (SIP) protocol, which can be deployed to replace your phone system and get you ahead of the PSTN switch off.

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Impact of the PSTN switch off

With the PSTN/ISDN switch off fast approaching, many businesses are wondering how this event will change the infrastructure of their business.

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PSTN vs digital technology

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