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ISDN & PSTN Lines: What you need to know

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

BT has previously announced that they will be switching off their existing PSTN and ISDN lines and new modern technology will be replacing it. Before now we didn’t know exactly when this was going to be happening which has been quite stressful for company owners who are near the start of a long lease. Should you switch now and pay the buyout penalty and be ready or hold on until your system suddenly stops working. The good news is that BT have announced the switch over will be in 2025, giving the millions of companies still using PSTN and ISDN lines time to consider their options when switching.

Find out about the alternatives and how to be prepared.


What is PSTN?

The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is the aggregate of the world's circuit-switched telephone networks that are operated by national, regional, or local telecoms operators, providing infrastructure and services for public telecommunication. Analogue voice data is sent over a circuit-switched phone line made up of copper wires which is owned and operated by your phone provider.

What is ISDN?

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is a set of communication standards for simultaneous digital transmission of voice, video, data, and other network services over the traditional circuits of the public switched telephone network. Put simply your standard telephone line is used to send voice and data over the same line. This is why you can make phone calls on a home telephone and plug your broadband router in to access the internet using the same port.

Why is BT switching to IP?

BT introduced ISDN nationwide in 1986 and since then connectivity has advanced greatly. The recent investment and nationwide roll out of superfast fibre internet and new Ethernet products provides a viable alternative. In fact BT have not installed any new ISDN lines in central London since 2014 which goes to show that many businesses have already moved on. But switching over 3 million active ISDN users is no small task which is why they have given businesses so much notice.

What are the alternatives?

The recent investment in the UK communications network has made the new fibre infrastructure widely available and affordable to small businesses. This means IP based solutions such as VoIP and SIP are the top alternatives for businesses.

What is SIP?

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) provides you with a phone line which is carried over your fibre Internet connection removing the need for an ISDN phone line. SIP lines used to have reliability problems due to inadequate underlying broadband connections. These issues have now been fixed due to the recent connectivity improvements and Service Level Agreements now offered by providers.

What is VoIP?

VoIP is a cloud based telephony solution which moves your whole phone system online so all your calls are sent over your internet connection. This digital cloud based phone system offers a wide range of additional features such as call recording, receiving voicemails via email, call queuing and unified communications – being able to access the system on multiple devices such as a mobile, tablet and desktop.

Top 5 Benefits of SIP and VoIP

Huge savings

Up to a 78% reduction in costs compared to ISDN due to cheaper calls and no more expensive line rental.

Greater flexibility

Move anywhere in the UK and simply plug back into the network with no need to change numbers.

Faster installation

No more waiting for an engineer to install physical lines means you get connected faster. Higher resiliency

Multiple fibre lines can be installed providing an automatic backup and failover so you’re always connected. Advanced features

Increased control, integration and analytics offers a huge range of new and advanced features.

To find out how we can help you make the switch get in touch today on 01476 851185


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