Published - 21 April 2021, UK

Life After The ISDN Switch Off:

What the traditional telephone switch-off means for your business and how you can prepare yourself for the future.

Sonia Older

By Sonia Older
Campaign Executive

If you’ve been ignoring the ISDN switch-off then we’re afraid it’s time to pull your head out of the sand… because very soon you’re going to have to address what it means for your company’s telephone system.   

Whilst the loss of a traditional method of communicating might seem confusing and expensive it could actually present your company with an opportunity to be more productive and cost-effective.

We break down what the ISDN switch-off means and how to navigate through it…

What is the switch-off? 

BT are phasing out the traditional analogue and digital telephone systems. By 2020 no new lines will be installed and a permanent switch-off is planned for 2025. This is not just because this vast network requires a huge amount of maintenance but because it is now outdated technology, similar to when your TV switched from analogue to digital.

lady using voip phone

Going forward, all business phone calls will be made – both domestically and internationally – via the internet, using a computer or connected device. This is called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or ‘cloud’ telephony. Your calls will be handled via a desktop app, similar to Skype or FaceTime, or you can still use a physical handset if preferred.

Who is affected? 

Any business still operating phones or internet using an ISDN line, unless you already use cloud-based telephony this means you!

BT has 2 million ISDN customers using over 6 million fixed landlines, all of whom will be affected. These companies must start planning a transition to VoIP now before their phone system becomes redundant.

But with most of the market already making the transition and switching their calls up into the cloud there’s no reason to be left behind.

What does this mean for your business? 

You will have to investigate moving your business telephones over to the new system. But it can be done easily and is an opportunity to make your telephony work harder for you because VoIP comes with lots of benefits.

Cloud telephony offers a more productive business future, one that is cost-effective, flexible, easy to maintain and scalable - meaning it can adapt as your business changes. It offers increased mobility - if you have the internet you can make and take calls as easy as if you were at your desk, making it great for home-working and hot-desking. It’s also an opportunity to improve your company image.

Other benefits include:

·     Constancy - a portable number that can be used in any location

·     Easy expansion - it’s quick to add in new lines

·     Confidence - your system is hosted off-site and safe from any accidents

·     Savings - a reduction in costs of line rental and much cheaper or free calls

Oh, and talking of savings… there are government grants and incentives that have been made available as part of an initiative to boost the adoption of digital technologies. So, look into the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme or the full fibre Gigabit Voucher Scheme as part of your research. 

Man with headset on using voip on a laptop

What options are available for businesses?

Focus Horizon is the UK’s leading hosted platform. The system lets employees manage calls from wherever they are with its ‘one number anywhere’ approach, its packed full of call management features and upgrades (such as conference calls, video messaging, call recording and reception function) and removes the cost and burden of on-site maintenance and repair.

And with Focus Horizon you’re your own administrator, you can quickly and easily configure the system in-line with your organisation’s changing requirements.

What’s next? 

If you haven’t already started your transition to cloud-based telephony, then now is the time to talk to someone who can help.

Focus Group will be able to answer any questions you have and take you through:

·     Is your bandwidth capable of hosting VoIP?

·     The functionality of your hardware set-up

·     Number porting so you can keep your existing numbers

·     Mobile and desktop applications

·     Cost implications for your business 

For those new to the Horizon Phone System our staff are on hand to help; contact our helpdesk for support, or alternatively watch our online video tutorials.