UK firms urged to prepare for analogue phone switch-off as 2025 deadline approaches

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UK businesses have been urged to accelerate preparations for the analogue phone switch-off in 2025, with experts warning of serious disruption for those who fail to adapt in time.

In 2015, BT announced plans to retire its Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and integrated services digital networks (ISDN) by the end of 2025.

Instead, customers will be migrated to new digital technology using an internet connection, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Digital Voice, or All-IP telephony.

Already, it's no longer possible for businesses to purchase traditional landline contracts nor PSTN-enabled devices such as legacy phones or fax machines.

"The landline isn’t going away, but is being upgraded to replace the decades old analogue technology that is increasingly unreliable and is no longer supported by suppliers and manufacturers," said BT.

"Customers risk facing increased service outages if this urgent infrastructure upgrade isn’t carried out now by BT and other operators. This new future-proof, digital landline technology is also a major step towards preparing the country for a full fiber future, in support of the UK government’s gigabit connectivity ambitions."

The rollout has already started, with the North West and London getting the new Digital Voice late last year, and the West Midlands, South East, Wales, and East Anglia set to follow suit during the spring.

The North East, Scotland, and the South West to be migrated during the summer.

Andy Fung, communications solutions architect at Espria, warned that some businesses may not be aware that significant changes are looming, and urged firms to ramp up preparations.

"Already, large parts of the UK can no longer receive new ISDN or PSTN provisions," he said. "Changes are coming and your area may already be affected - Mildenhall and Salisbury were switched off last year as part of the test roll-out."

According to Espria, UK businesses need to properly understand the impact of the changes, particularly for often overlooked services such as lifts, alarms, broadband, PDQs, and EPOS devices, as well as phones.


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"Businesses have a duty to themselves to ensure they do not lose access to vital communications tools, and that means looking into exactly what systems are at risk of disrupted business continuity," said Fung.

"The switch off not only affects your telecommunications but could also disrupt your alarm systems, PDQ and EPOS machines, lifts and more, interrupting more than just your business communications."

Espria recommends that businesses should start auditing systems now, looking at voice services, video conferencing, and real-time collaboration tools, but also lesser-noticed yet still integral systems, such as alarms, door entry systems, lift emergency lines, payment terminals, cash and fax machines.

They should consider the needs of both hybrid and office-based employees.

Similarly, firms will need to understand the specifics of their business service provision, such as the use of fixed or mobile networks, knowledge of current and future capacity, and whether VoIP has appropriate ease of use and is fit for purpose.

Hardware needs - such as IP headsets, a softphone client or a hybrid approach to communications - should also be considered, as should the possibility of extending digital transformation across more than just phone services.

"2025 is fast approaching," Fung said. "Preparing now is of the utmost importance to comms providers, and consulting your systems and making changes now can help future-proof your business, not just for the next couple of years but for the foreseeable future."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.