PSTN vs. Digital technology. The race is on!

Author: Sonia Older  |  Date published: June 29, 2023, UK  |  Read est: 6 min read

Focus Group
Focus Group
Focus Group
Focus Group
Focus Group
Focus Group
Focus Group
Focus Group
Focus Group
Focus Group
Focus Group
Focus Group

PSTN switch off: The lowdown on the shutdown

It’s widely reported that Openreach is on track to switch off the historic ‘Public Switched Telephone Network’ (PSTN) at the end of 2025. However, there’s a minefield of information out there when it comes to key dates, the actual impact on businesses and the digital alternatives available. Plus, the goalposts and timelines are continuously shifting so it can be tricky to navigate the process of switching from PSTN to full fibre technology, especially with concerns around escalating costs of everything from the office energy bill to the weekly shop in this tough economic environment.

PSTN, ISDN and all things connected by copper

First things first, let’s talk about what will happen when the PSTN is resigned to the telecom’s history book towards the end of 2025. In short, if your business phone lines or broadband are connected by the copper lines of the PSTN, it could leave your business completely disconnected and without telephony, broadband connectivity, VPN access and so on. Furthermore, the PSTN supports several products, including ISDN lines. These could be ISDN2 or ISDN30 lines depending on the size of your business and Wholesale Line Rental (WLR).

The important thing to understand is that it won't just affect telephone services. Broadband services which are connected to the legacy copper lines will also require upgrading. Plus, any other business services or infrastructure that connects to the PSTN such as alarm systems, EPOS, lift systems and CCTV will also need upgrading.

Read more about the Impact of the PSTN switchover here >
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Six reasons to believe in next-gen digital technology

In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, it’s clear digital technology plays a pivotal role in shaping our lives and a new era for voice and broadband technology is on the horizon. The way we communicate, work and access information has undergone a remarkable transformation. So now is the time to explore the myriad benefits of digital technology and full fibre and highlight why this transition from PSTN services is essential for unlocking a new era of efficiency, reliability and secure connectivity.

1. Enhanced communication efficiency

Digital technology, combined with full-fibre networks, offers unparalleled communication efficiency. Unlike traditional PSTN lines that rely on analogue signals, full fibre networks utilize advanced digital signals that provide superior voice quality and enhanced clarity. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services leverage full fibre to deliver crystal-clear voice calls, eliminating the issues of background noise, distortion, and dropped calls that can plague traditional lines. This level of communication efficiency empowers businesses and individuals to connect seamlessly and collaborate effortlessly, regardless of geographical barriers.

2. Lightning-Fast internet speeds

Legacy PSTN lines often struggle to keep up with the demands of today's data-intensive world. On the other hand, full fibre networks offer lightning-fast internet speeds that can reach gigabit levels. With full fibre, businesses and individuals can experience uninterrupted streaming, seamless video conferencing, and swift downloads/uploads, resulting in increased productivity and improved user experiences. The transformative power of high-speed internet enables the smooth operation of cloud-based applications, online services, and emerging technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

3. Greater reliability and resilience

One of the critical drawbacks of traditional PSTN lines is their vulnerability to disruptions and outages. Harsh weather conditions, physical damage, or equipment failures can severely impact voice and broadband services, causing significant disruptions to businesses and individuals. In contrast, full fibre networks are inherently more reliable and resilient. By utilizing robust fibre optic cables that are immune to electromagnetic interference, full fibre infrastructure ensures consistent and uninterrupted service, even in adverse conditions. This reliability is crucial for mission-critical operations, emergency services and businesses that heavily rely on uninterrupted connectivity.

4. Future-proof infrastructure

Investing in digital technology and full fibre is an investment in the future. With the exponential growth of data and the continuous evolution of technology, legacy PSTN lines are quickly becoming outdated and insufficient. By embracing full fibre, businesses and individuals can future-proof their infrastructure and ensure they can leverage upcoming technologies seamlessly. From Internet of Things (IoT) devices to smart homes and smart cities, full fibre provides the robust foundation needed to support the ever-expanding digital landscape.

5. Scalability and flexibility

Digital technology and full-fibre networks offer unparalleled scalability and flexibility. Businesses can easily scale up or down their voice and broadband services based on their changing needs without the hassle of physical line installations or disruptions. Full fibre's flexibility allows businesses to adapt quickly to new communication requirements, such as remote work, expanding branches, or seasonal demands. This agility and scalability contribute to cost savings, operational efficiency, and enhanced customer experiences.

6. Eco-Friendly and sustainable solution

Embracing full fibre infrastructure is not just beneficial for businesses and individuals; it also contributes to a greener and more sustainable future. Fibre optic cables, unlike copper-based PSTN lines, are environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. The reduced power consumption of full-fibre networks translates into lower carbon footprints, aligning with global sustainability goals. By transitioning to digital technology and full fibre, we can pave the way for a more sustainable and eco-conscious society.

What is replacing PSTN and ISDN?

Businesses have several digital alternatives to consider as replacements for the traditional PSTN or ISDN networks. From VoIP and SIP trunks to SoGEA and FTTP, there are several digital alternatives that provide businesses with modern and feature-rich options to meet their evolving communication needs.

  • VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) - VoIP enables voice communication over the Internet, offering flexibility, cost savings and advanced features.
  • SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) - SIP trunks provide businesses with scalable and efficient communication solutions by transmitting voice, video and messaging over IP networks.
  • SoGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access) - A digital alternative that leverages Ethernet technology to deliver voice, data and video services over a single broadband connection.
  • FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) - Using fibre-optic cables to provide high-speed internet and voice services directly to homes and businesses, FTTP bypasses the traditional copper telephone lines with ultra-fast and reliable internet. Additional benefits include a reduced amount of equipment required in exchanges, which subsequently drives down costs whilst increasing the speed of the network.

As an independent supplier of essential business technology, Focus Group are well placed to offer scalable and flexible solutions that drive cost efficiencies and can be streamlined for financial management that is predictable, standardised and efficient.

Woman talking to IT support technician at work

Ready to join the digital revolution?

In conclusion, it’s clear the transition from legacy PSTN voice and broadband lines to digital technology and full fibre is a transformative leap forward. The enhanced communication efficiency, lightning-fast internet speeds, greater reliability, and future-proof infrastructure offered by full-fibre networks are revolutionising the way we connect and collaborate.

Moreover, the scalability, flexibility, and eco-friendliness of digital technology contribute to improved productivity, cost savings, and a greener future. Embracing this new era of connectivity ensures that businesses and individuals can thrive in the digital age, unleashing the full potential of technology and paving the way for a more connected, efficient, and sustainable world.

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.

Contact the team >
Sonia Older photo

Sonia Older
Brand & Campaign Manager

Sonia Older is the Campaign Manager at Focus Group and a highly experienced copywriter. She boasts over 20 years of experience in content marketing and PR across multiple industries, and is the key driver of content and PR for Focus Group across all UK offices. Away from work, Sonia usually swaps keyboard strokes for ski slopes in the Alps with her family.

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