The old Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is on its way out. This is not a scaremongering tactic but the truth. Made from copper, the PSTN has become fragile and has served its purpose and is now making way for a modern replacement...fibre.
All PSTN lines, such as ISDN phone lines used by businesses, and all older internet connections, such as ADSL and FTTC broadband, will become obsolete.
Openreach is on course to replace all copper connections by the end of 2025 and lockdown has not delayed their rollout timetable. I understand that 2025 seems a very long time away, especially under the current circumstances, but it’s not as simple as that.
Let’s start with Salisbury. This is Openreach’s first trial city and will become the UK’s first full fibre city, which means copper services will be withdrawn from the city first too. The second trial area is Mildenhall in Suffolk.
Sales of copper products will start to cease in December this year and will be withdrawn, or switched off, for good in December 2022.
While Salisbury businesses need to make plans to accommodate this change, they will benefit from having a choice of superior fibre products before many other areas in the UK.
If these businesses are using ISDN, ADSL or FTTC services, they need to find replacements. This will be in two, possibly three, stages.
- Choose the internet service to suit their business needs
- Switch to fibre voice services, known as SIP or SIP trunks
- Upgrade phone system to be compatible with SIP or install a converter
Does this mean the rest of the UK can sit back and watch Salisbury prepare for the copper withdrawal, safe in the knowledge we are a few years off yet? No!
A rollout and withdrawal of this nature cannot just happen overnight. Once the test sites have been completed, other cities and towns, where fibre has been deployed, will be brought online and copper services will be switched off. Openreach has identified 118 exchanges that they are ready to begin the withdrawal process by this time next year.
These early withdrawal exchanges can be found across the UK, including Bristol, Cardiff, Cornwall, Exeter, Swansea and Swindon. They are due to be switched off by mid-2023.
So far from scaremongering, I wanted this blog to keep businesses aware of the facts. This video from Openreach may help too.
And aside from giving you fair warning, the other intention is to allay your fears. Switching to these fibre services is a good thing. You can do so much more with them. Your business can access and rely on cloud-based services with guaranteed speeds and improved resilience. You can create a secure, digital business environment with the flexibility to be more productive.
Does this sound like a load of marketing speak? If you can access your documents in split seconds from a cloud storage solution rather than waiting an age for them to open or you can eliminate call costs rather than paying per minute for every outgoing call or you can work just as easily at home as you can in the office, then these are just some the factual benefits of a fibre based service. No marketing speak!
You do not have to wait until 2022, 2023 or 2025 to start enjoying the benefits. If you want more guidance, please get in touch and I will put you in contact with one of my colleagues. You can find more information in our Switching from ISDN to SIP guide here too.