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Dec 10 2018 | Anne Edwards

ISDN is coming to the end of the line….

You may already be aware that BT plans to withdraw ISDN and PSTN telephone lines in 2025.  

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is an older, basic telephone network, traditionally used at residential addresses and by some smaller businesses.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) circuits were then introduced in the 1980’s. The key difference with ISDN was that it integrated speech and data on the same lines, adding features that were not available with classic PSTN lines. ISDN therefore became the service on which most business telephone systems were based.

However, technology has moved on in leaps and bounds since then. Newer telecommunications options are faster, smarter and more agile – and are now in use by large numbers of businesses across the UK.

From BT’s perspective, maintaining legacy networks alongside new technologies is not cost-effective – hence the decision to phase them out by 2025.

Whilst 2025 may still seem a fair way off, another important milestone to be aware of is 2020, when it will no longer be possible to purchase new ISDN networks.

2020 is not far away!!

Business owners should consider the following points:

• If you are planning to replace your phone system over the next year, then an ISDN-based system is unlikely to be the best option due to its lack of longevity.
• If you are moving into new premises and / or need a new line installed over the next year, then the same applies.
• If you have an existing telephone contract which is coming up for renewal shortly, you should be looking at newer alternatives rather than ISDN.
• If, by 2025, you are still using an older telephone system over ISDN lines, it will simply stop working.

What are the alternative options?

1. A hosted telephone system. Also known as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), a hosted system uses cloud technology which means a very flexible service that doesn’t have to rely upon hardware in your office. Individual handsets connect directly to a cloud-based “telephone system” rather than you having a box on the wall in your building. Hosted phone systems have a range of modern features which are ever-evolving, and their monthly subscription model means that there is often minimal up-front capital cost.

2. SIP trunks. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and it refers to the technology which is used to establish a voice connection on a data network. A SIP trunk is not physical wiring, but a “virtual” phone line which connects your business to the provider of the service. You would choose SIP trunks instead of VOIP if you wanted to keep an on-premise “box on the wall” – perhaps if you use a phone system which needs to integrate with external “non-cloud” services, including some CRM packages, call data or recording systems.

To find out more about which telecoms solution would be most appropriate for your business, please give us a call.