The PSTN Analogue Switch-off FAQs

/ / Connectivity

What is the PSTN?

The PSTN is the traditional analogue voice telephone system.
It’s been the backbone of the UK’s comms infrastructure for many decades, enabling voice calls over copper telephone lines.

What is the switch-off?

Basically, dial tones will be switched off by December 2025.

Any device which uses the analogue dial tone we are accustomed to hearing on telephones will cease to function after the switch-off.

Think of anything which makes a voice call, such as home & office phones, telecare lines, lift lines, and alarm lines.  Also included in the switch-off are ADSL and FTTC broadband services (see below).

Okay…but why?

The technology behind PSTN is ageing, and maintaining it is becoming increasingly costly and inefficient.  Moving to a fully digital infrastructure makes it easier for telecom providers to offer a broader range of services and ensures that the network is future-proofed.

What about broadband?

The big switch-off will impact broadband as well.
Most ADSL & FTTC services are supported by PSTN.  When the switch-off happens, your broadband will need to move to a new digital variant.

Will we need new sockets?

Actually, no.
Existing Openreach infrastructure will be retained, although it’s best practice to switch to full-fibre as soon as it’s available as a replacement.

We’re a housing provider/ local authority.  What do we do?

First of all, analyse your assets.  Acknowledge what your lines are being used for, especially lines with critical services that need to be retained.
Involve the suppliers of these services – your telecare supplier, your lift maintenance provider and your alarm provider.  Ask them how they’re updating their products.
Plan your budget to include your new digital telephone lines and services.

That is a lot of work, how can Social Telecoms help us?

Step 1 – We can identify your lines.

It’s a common challenge for many organisations to keep track of essential lines, often leading to new lines being ordered when ‘spare’ ones could have been utilised.  Years of accumulating telephone lines means you need boots-on-the-ground onsite surveys.  We have the engineers and project managers who will organise and conduct on-site visits – pinpointing the exact location of each line and its specific function. Trust in our hands-on approach to optimise your transition.

Step 2 – Evaluation of implications

Post-audit, we’ll have a clearer picture of how deeply integrated PSTN is within your organisation. It’s vital to grasp the ramifications of the 2025 switch-off as older systems are particularly vulnerable.  We’ll highlight to you which:
– Services require transitioning to digital versions,
– Lines require updated hardware to function post-switch-off,
– Lines are not being utilised and can be disconnected

The shift to digital isn’t merely about mitigating risks, it’s an opportunity. Transitioning from outdated systems unlocks the benefits of cloud technology, offering enhanced agility, security, and flexibility, as well as fibre broadband solutions.

Step 3 – Determining the path forward.

While 2025 might seem distant, it’s closer than you think when considering the size of the task and annual budgets that need to be planned. Working with you, we will consider the optimal solutions for each service and reflect on whether it’s an extension of your current connectivity or a complete change.  This might this be a chance to redefine your IT landscape, and Social Telecoms are on hand to help with this.

Step 4 – Migration strategy

With a clear understanding of your options, it’s time to blueprint the migration process. Factors to consider include the Openreach timeline, plus the potential impacts on business operations, and necessary communication to both employees and other suppliers in your supply chain.  
Being conscious of Openreach’s timeline is crucial. They’ve already commenced phasing out new PSTN services in specific regions, and this will only accelerate as the project progresses.



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