Everything you need to know to prepare your business for Openreach’s PSTN switch-off in 2025. Upgrade your connectivity, switch to internet based services, avoid business disruption.
In 2025, the nation’s analogue phone lines, known as the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), will be switched off forever and internet enabled networks will take its place.
Businesses that haven’t already made the move to digital need to start planning for it now.
But what does this mean, and where should you start?
Our experts have gathered together all the information you need to make the switch as smooth as possible for your business. From the hardware you need to consider to the questions other businesses are asking, you’ll find it all here…
Are you ready to start the switch?
In 2025, Openreach will turn off the UK’s public switched telephone network and migrate all customers to internet enabled telecommunications.
While the move has been motivated by the rising cost of maintaining the centuries-old network of copper wiring, the switch will provide businesses with countless benefits and opportunities for growth, such as:
The analogue switch-off presents an exciting opportunity for all organisations as we move towards a hybrid future.
Business benefits of moving to a digital network:
Did you know that 42% of SMEs are still using analogue PSTN and ISDN lines to support their digital solutions?*
Businesses should start preparing and switch to digital now to future-proof connectivity and ease into life after PSTN.
Business services affected by the PSTN Switch-Off
For traditional technology, such as phones, the switch-off and change to FTTP will be simple. While some phones may need an adaptor, many will continue to work—you’ll just have to plug them into your router or a new socket.
Older, analogue phones will need to be replaced if they aren’t compatible with VoIP or FTTP services. Providers may offer a new model or upgrade, but this may come at a cost. Similarly, you may need a new or upgraded router to be supplied by your provider.
It’s not just telecoms that will be affected by the PSTN switch off, as a lot of hardware relies on the PSTN/ISDN network. As a result, the following technology may be affected with the transition:
How can my business prepare for the PSTN switch off now?
Although the PSTN switch off is in 2025, businesses around the UK need to start preparing now.
To make the transition go smoothly, there are a few things you can do:
*Source: Virgin Media
42% of SMEs are still using analogue PSTN and ISDN lines to support their digital solutions. Businesses should start the switch to digital now to future-proof connectivity.
The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is the network of copper wiring that has kept the UK connected since the late 1800s. It is expensive to run and maintain, and is becoming obsolete, as people are now connecting digitally rather than via telephone.
For these reasons, Openreach has decided PSTN will reach the end of its life in December 2025. It will be replaced by an internet-enabled network, befitting modern life.
PSTN currently supports a number of Openreach products bought by communications providers and sold onwards to households and businesses in various line rental, broadband, and call packages.
Openreach products that will be affected by the PSTN switch-off include:
If your business uses any of these products, you’ll need to find a digital solution before December 2025.
At M247, our digital experts and technical teams can help with everything from assessing your current hardware, to identifying the best connectivity and communication solutions for your unique business needs.
Want to find out more about our solutions and what we can offer your business?
BT Openreach recognises the need for a network suited to the demands of modern life and business. The replacement of PSTN with a high-speed, high-availability, fibre-first network will future-proof the national communications network for businesses and consumers alike, while saving them money.
This is because the current PSTN lines are costly for both Openreach and customers.
FTTP and VoIP connectivity will provide businesses with a single, unified solution to telecoms and internet access, instead of paying for multiple packages.
Because many of the communication and connectivity solutions we use today have been built on the PSTN network, the impact of the switch-off will be wide-ranging.
The PSTN cabling currently supports: WLR, ISDN2, ISDN30, Local Loop Unbundling Shared Metallic Path Facilities, Narrowband Line Share and other classic products, all of which will be affected when PSTN is mothballed.
It will also impact traditional broadband, Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) broadband and Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL), which use PSTN’s copper wiring as the basis for delivering services. They will cease to work, like the previously mentioned products and ISDN.
The impact of the switch-off will vary from business to business, depending on how reliant they are on PSTN and ISDN.
Businesses will need to identify and review all the hardware and functions that are connected to and working through the phone lines, including things like lifts, door alarms, fax machines, CCTV systems, traffic light monitoring and even panic alarms.
The switch-off will also signal an end to the maintenance and recovery of phone lines, so it’s essential that businesses have migrated and settled into new infrastructure well ahead of the December 2025 deadline.
An easy way to check if your business relies on PSTN is to look for a box on the wall where lines might be coming in. Any lines or connections that don’t come in via your router or internet connection could be a sign you’re connected via the PSTN.
If you’re still not sure if, how or where you might be using the PSTN, contact your communications provider or the manufacturer of the equipment and ask them if they work on a digital phone line.
Just be aware that, even if you think you’re connected via fibre broadband, you may be running on an FTTC service. This means you are still relying on old copper wiring to deliver connectivity to your premises.
Openreach has already begun a phased withdrawal of PSTN services. In its two trial sites – Salisbury and Mildenhall – services will be completely withdrawn by December 2022.
The rest of the network will be switched off in December 2025, although the FTTP Priority Exchange Rollout means this will happen sooner in some areas.
VoIP will be the main replacement technology for ISDN. VoIP – or Voice over Internet Protocol – allows telephone services to be delivered over the internet, resulting in better call quality, greater flexibility and lots of additional features.
SIP Trunks will be another popular replacement technology, enabling VoIP by connecting phone systems to the new public network from an IP system. SIP – or Session Initiation Protocol – can connect to the majority of existing systems.
The FTTP Priority Exchange is a scheme that allows Openreach to stagger the rollout of digital services.
When FTTP reaches 75% in a certain area, that is designated a Priority Exchange and a Stop Sell notice is given on all analogue services. This means customers in a Priority Exchange area can no longer purchase new copper-based products or services.
12 months after the Stop Sell notice is issued, the Public Switched Telephone Network will be switched off in that area. Openreach also aims to stop selling all PSTN services in September 2023, so any customers who are still in active PSTN areas and are looking to buy products or services after that will only be able to access digital ones.
Openreach has an updated list of all Priority Exchanges.
From 2025, all businesses will need good broadband connectivity to support even the most basic telephony functions.
In the age of digital voice communications, however, it’s worth considering how connectivity could be the defining factor of success; the better your connectivity, the better your business will be able to capitalise on the huge range of digital solutions aimed at delivering flexibility, speed, resilience and cost-effectiveness, as well as superior call quality.
Not necessarily. Digital services mean your tech must be able to work through a router, so while this might mean you need to invest in new handsets, some legacy models will support VoIP with the addition of an adapter.
The ‘softphone’ capabilities of VoIP means calls can be made from any internet-enabled device. This includes laptops, tablets and desktop PCs. So, if you’re running a remote or hybrid team, it might be that all you need to do is ask individual users to download an application that turns their device into a ‘softphone’. This will reduce the number of handsets your business needs.
The best thing to do is audit all your hardware and identify everything that is currently relying on PSTN. Only when you’ve done that will you be able to consider the best digital solutions for your business needs.
Start preparing for the switch-off.
While 2025 might sound like a long way off, it’s important to remember that some areas will go digital before then, and 2025 will be here before we know it.
With the PSTN switch off, businesses should audit their current setup and assess future business needs. By doing so, they can create new digital comms and connectivity solutions that will better support their internal processes and future growth.
In the age of the hybrid workplace, digital really does pave the way for businesses to grow. The PSTN switch-off presents businesses with a golden opportunity for digital transformation.
If you’re a current M247 customer and have PSTN lines with us, we’ll be in touch in the coming weeks to let you know your migration options.
PSTN will be replaced by the following connectivity and voice options:
SoGEA - Single Order Generic Ethernet Access
A data only service that enables businesses to have internet access without a traditional phone line. Delivers up to 80 Mbps. SoGEA is now widely available in the UK.
FTTP - Fibre To The Premise
FTTP delivers internet connectivity via fibre optic cables to offer up to 1 Gbps bandwidth, and is up to ten times faster than your average broadband connection. FTTP is not yet available everywhere.
FTTC - Fibre To The Cabinet
Combines fibre optics with copper wiring to deliver up 80 Mbps bandwidth. This connectivity option uses existing copper wiring with fibre optics. It is ideal for remote areas where FTTC is not available.
VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol
A like-for-like telephone service that delivers voice calls over the internet. VoIP can deliver real-time voice calls by swiftly converting voice into data packets that’s transferred over the IP network. Once it reaches its destination, it quickly converts back to voice.
SIP Trunking - Session Initiation Protocol Trunking
SIP enables the connection of the business private exchange (PBX) to the PSTN over the internet instead of traditional phone lines. With the upcoming PSTN switch off, SIP is already aligned with the transition as it already uses IP technology. With SIP, it encompasses VoIP connectivity as well as video calls, call recording and instant messaging.
Hosted Voice is a type of telephone service in which a third-party provider manages the phone system's hardware and infrastructure, eliminating the need for on-premises maintenance. The provider hosts the phone system in the cloud, enabling customers to make and receive calls over the internet.
Read our blog to learn more about PSTN replacement services here.
SoGEA stands for Single Order Generic Ethernet Access. It is a type of broadband service that delivers high-speed internet connection of up to 80 Mbps, and is now widely available in the UK. It is ideal for businesses that want reliable internet access but don’t need to do high volume data transfer.
FTTP stands for Fibre To The Premises. It is a type of fibre-optic internet connectivity that delivers super fast speeds of up to 1Gbps. It is suitable for businesses that undergo large volumes of data transfer. Thanks to its large bandwidth, it transfers both data and voice. One thing to note is that FTTP is not yet available everywhere, so it is good to check if it is available in your area.
The PSTN switch-off is happening in 2025. Although this may seem like the distant future, PSTN networks across the country are being switched off in phases now.
To prepare your business for the future, you need to be making the necessary changes to your network and in-office technology so there will be no disruption to your company when the switch off does occur.
To make sure your business is ready, it’s crucial you:
Depending on your current connectivity infrastructure, you may find your current internet provider isn’t suitable for the future growth of your business.
Public Switched Telephone Network. This is the traditional circuit-switched telephone network that has been in general use since the 1800s. PSTN has been adapted over time and is a combination of the telephone networks used worldwide, including:
The Integrated Services Digital Network, or ISDN, converts digital voice and data to be carried over the Public Switched Telephone Network. Essentially, this uses the PSTN infrastructure, allowing more data to be carried via copper wires, such as internet data. When the PSTN is switched off, so will the ISDN.
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, which is when voice calls are made over the internet, and will replace your traditional PSTN telephone connection.
Plain Ordinary Telephone System can sometimes be referred to in place of PSTN.
Fibre To The Premise is ultra-fast full fibre connectivity that runs straight from the exchange directly to end user premises. In this case, it will be directly to your place of business.
Single Order Generic Ethernet Access is replacing FTTC, giving an option to purchase broadband without a copper phone line. This is available to both residential and commercial premises.
Single Order GFast (SOGFAST) is the high speed version of SOGEA. This gives businesses faster internet speeds, meaning you can stay connected with your customers and remote workers. Similarly to different broadband speeds currently, SOGFast will be available at a higher cost.
This term is used by Openreach to signify certain PSTN or ISDN products being discontinued and stop being sold in September 2023. This is different from a product withdrawal, as under stop sell, any end customer who already has the product will be able to keep using it until it is withdrawn.
Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) allows businesses to provide their own phone service using BT Openreach networks via their copper cables. This is a product supported by the PSTN network along with:
Collaborating with the right digital partner can help you get the most out of the move from PSTN.
Here at M247, our digital experts and technical teams can help with everything from assessing your current hardware to identifying the best connectivity and communications solutions for your individual business needs.