A brief look at the impending BT ISDN ‘Switch Off’ and what alternatives are available to affected businesses. (4-minute read)

You may have heard whisperings about the IDSN ‘Switch Off’ – it’s no secret but does need to be addressed and can no longer be swept under the carpet.

In an industry full of jargon and acronyms, we break down what is happening, what this means for businesses and what you can do.

What is ISDN?

Technically, ISDN (an acronym for Integrated Services Digital Network) is a circuit enabling the transmission of voice and data over copper wires. These digital lines run over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

Since its introduction in the 1980s, ISDN has been a staple in businesses, enabling features not available with analogue lines, such as video conferencing and file transmission. Although ISDN was progressive at the time, it has been overtaken by cheaper and more flexible technologies and is increasingly seen as a legacy solution, soon to be obsolete.

What’s the plan?

In 2015, BT announced that they would be phasing out ISDN solutions and switching the network off entirely. This means existing ISDN capacity is being ceased and new orders will be not be accepted. Come 2025, the whole ISDN copper network and all associated solutions will no longer be supported.

The withdrawal from analogue is as a result of the broad migration towards VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, however the switch off will force users to upgrade to digital IP telephony solutions.

What are the options?

While many businesses have already peeled away from ISDN in favour of feature-rich IP-based solutions, those who haven’t yet will need to proactively migrate before it’s too late.

There are options available to businesses but it’s important to select a solution matched to the specific requirements of the organisation.

SIP Trunking: If you currently own or lease a telephone system, you may elect to use SIP Trunking, which bridges the gap between what you already have and what’s to come; this uses VoIP technology and makes cloud features available while retaining an on-premise PBX. With this option, you can preserve the features, numbers and call quality you already receive but add capability and exploit opportunities to future-proof your business.

Hosted: Alternatively, your business could benefit from a fully Hosted solution, meaning there is no physical telephone system in your premises; your calls are transmitted as data over the internet via BT’s highly resilient and secure next-generation network. The telephone system itself off-site, in a data centre for example, and the features are accessed via subscription user licences.

Which option is best?

You won’t find a blanket response or a one-size-fits-all solution here. For example, if you have recently made an investment in a PBX, you may be inclined towards SIP Trunking to make the most of this outlay. If your system is not compatible to upgrade to SIP, or you require bespoke functionality for each user, you may lean towards a Hosted solution which has minimal upfront costs for hardware and tailorable user packages.

Ultimately, you will need to consider your present set-up, determine the features and capabilities you require and review the costs involved.

Need help deciding?

Our Business Development Managers are available to audit your current configuration, help you think through your requirements and provide recommendations for moving forward.

To arrange a no-obligation consultation, please call us today on 020 8300 9495 or complete our contact form.

Why Premier Choice?

We have spent the last two decades growing with technological developments in B2B telecommunications. We’re experts in SIP Trunking and Hosted – we’ve have been supplying these services since the technology first existed. We see Hosted telephony as an excellent opportunity for many businesses and have developed our Pure Hosted solution to be completely customisable.

As a BT partner, we’ve been preparing for the ISDN ‘Switch Off’ since it was announced and have successfully migrated hundreds of customers, enabling system upgrades and cost efficiencies as well as peace of mind that they will not be affected by the ISDN termination.

As always, all of our solutions are backed up by outstanding Customer Service; including our UK Service Desk, National Field Engineering Team, Account Management, Bespoke Billing Solutions and Customer Training.

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