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How to get ahead of the ISDN switch-off

The ISDN switch-off is fast approaching and at the Network Communications Group (NCG) we’re determined to help businesses get ahead of the deadline. If you aren’t aware of the switch-off or are looking for guidance on your next steps, this blog (whitepaper) is for you.

What is the ISDN switch-off?

In 2015, BT announced their plan to completely shut off their ISDN and PSTN services. This is already underway and will be done by 2025. ISDN and PSTN lines have been supporting businesses for decades, but they can no longer deliver the quality or volume of voice communication that teams need. It’s been big talk in the telecoms industry for many years but it’s finally impacting other businesses.

Why is the ISDN switch-off happening?

ISDN lines have been around since the 80s and PSTN has been around even longer. They’ve been updated continually over their lifespan, but modern business broadband completely outcompetes them in terms of speed. Because of this, the majority of new communication services for business run via the internet using VoIP lines. These VoIP lines offer some great new opportunities.

What are the benefits of VoIP?

Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom. Making the switch away from ISDN to VoIP is painless, you’ll be able to keep all your existing phone numbers as well as unlocking a wide range of benefits for your team. The one you’ll notice straight away is how much cheaper call rates are, as calls are hosted over a secure internet connection, rather than taking up space on fixed lines, there’s much greater capacity for many people to be on a call at the same time.

VoIP also offers your business a much greater level of flexibility. With ISDN lines, your business numbers & phones are essentially bound to the same location at all times. With VoIP there’s a lot more room to manoeuvre. You can relocate offices with ease and take your numbers & phones with you and work from home or another location UK or worldwide whenever needed.

At the Network Communications Group, we’ve been helping businesses to migrate to VoIP enabled services for many years. There used to be some debate about whether many businesses’ internet connections could support these services. With the expansion of high speed fibre broadband options designed to deliver both voice & data, we think on the whole there’s nothing stopping any organisation from making the switch. If you’re unsure about your business connection or infrastructure, get in touch.

What steps do I need to take to avoid the ISDN switch-off?

Preparing your business is simple, but that doesn’t mean it should be left until the last minute. Making the switch sooner allows you to make the most of more cost-effective calls and new features. Here’s the process you need to follow.

The first is to recognise which systems need to be upgraded. Many customers are surprised to hear when we tell them it’s not just their phones that are affected by the switch-off. Many intercom, CCTV and access control systems are also powered by analogue lines. These will also go offline in 2025 unless you upgrade them to IP services.

Next, as we mentioned previously, you need to check your internet connection. VoIP has the potential to unlock a range of new communication services for your business, and you need a connection that supports them. Everything from video conferencing to more advanced analytics are now available but require the right connectivity. Visit our website to see the options available.

The final step is deciding which communication service your business will use to replace your ISDN lines. There are a variety of ways to switch, but cloud communications are currently taking the business world by storm.

Why switch to cloud?

Cloud communications and VoIP are mostly interchangeable but have a couple of key differences. Cloud services also deliver voice communications over a secure internet service, but are hosted in a cloud data centre, rather than on-site at your business.

A cloud service helps you to avoid the ISDN switch-off, while benefitting your business in a variety of ways. With a cloud system, you can use any device with an internet connection (mobile smartphone, tablet laptop etc) as a way to communicate with customers and staff alike. You can access your calls, video conferences, instant messaging and voicemail from wherever you choose.

Cloud is ideal for creating a flexible working environment. As all your servers and equipment are hosted in our secure data centres, there’s no need to make room for it on-site. Your system can be scaled up or down whenever needed, and audio quality remains crystal clear, as long as you have a stable internet connection. We’ll automatically update your cloud system throughout your contract too, adding new features and security patches.

Your next step

If you’re looking to get ahead of the switch off, make the move to cloud or just want some free and impartial advice, book a consultation with our team here at Netcomms. We’ll be happy to talk you through the process of switching and what it can mean for your business. You can get in touch with our team by calling 020 872 27766 or emailing at enquiries@netcomms.co.uk