With BT’s switch off programme under way right now, we are receiving a lot of enquiries from companies looking for advice on how they should be preparing for the inevitable consequences of having to migrate to an all-IP communications solution. Here are the most commonly asked questions, along with a handy checker to help you identify when your exchange is scheduled for switch off.

What is switch off?

In just over 4 years, BT Openreach will officially retire the old copper lines that have been the foundation of the UK’s telephony system for decades, and replace them with fibre-optic based internet telephony. Both ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) and PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) run over the copper network, so upon switch off, all these services will cease.

ISDN is generally used to connect lines to a business telephone system, allowing you to provide departments or individuals with a direct dial number. If your business has a security or lift alarm linked to a phone line, it will likely be using PSTN which is the system that is used most for residential telephone lines.

When will it happen?

While complete switch off is scheduled for December 2025, it has already started in parts of the UK. The ‘stop sell’ transition is planned to be operational across the UK by September 2023 and after that date, nobody will be able to buy or add new features like CLI, call barring and 1471 to a PSTN or ISDN-based telephone system.

You can check the list of confirmed areas being switched off, and when, here .

How will it affect businesses?

This depends on your existing communications infrastructure, and your future aspirations and requirements. We help our customers think about how their businesses are going to grow and change both immediately and, in the future, before recommending or implementing any solutions. Due to the pandemic, many have already done this, and they are now reaping the benefits of an early transition to IP, providing efficient and flexible collaborative working solutions for their remote workforce.

Migrating to an all-IP communications package may seem like an unsettling process, but switch off is unavoidable, and once you have decided what you need, it’s actually very straightforward. You may be pleasantly surprised; all of our customers say that using IP telephony has brought them significant cost savings.

What are the benefits of migrating to IP communications?

With as close to an always-on solution as you can get, our business customers are reporting substantial benefits such as:

  • Business Grade Connectivity with SLAs
  • Faster response times due to cloud-based solutions
  • Improved Collaboration through Microsoft Teams
  • Enhanced Disaster Recovery
  • Superior Business Continuity options
  • An impressive range of call features like video calling, screen sharing and recording

Can we help you?

V12 Telecom is a privately-owned telecommunications company that works with clients and partners to provide voice, data and mobile services on a global basis. Based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, we offer a range of high quality and secure telecoms solutions throughout the UK and abroad, in a wide range of sectors including Energy, Technology, Retail and Telecoms. We are proud of our reputation for providing straightforward, open and helpful guidance and robust state-of-the-art solutions to companies of all sizes.

If you would like to find out more about when your local exchange is scheduled for switch off and how you could benefit from it, or arrange an audit of your existing communications systems, please do get in touch, in confidence.