What can we Learn From Germany’s PSTN Switch Off?

The telecommunications sector is going through a transformative period following the September Stop Sell and the Big Switch Off.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Big Switch Off, it is an initiative whereby all Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDN) lines will be phased out by the end of 2025, to make room for more modern and innovative digital communication solutions.

Making the transition away from PSTN is something that businesses in Germany are very familiar with as they shut off their lines in 2018. That said, Germany’s Switch Off has provided UK businesses with a solid framework for our own transition away from PSTN and ISDN lines.

The power of proactivity

Acting as early as possible is essential for businesses who don’t want to experience any unnecessary down-time. When Germany’s PSTN Switch Off took place, many businesses were on the back foot, and missed the deadline. The main reason that many businesses failed to make the transition away from legacy PSTN systems is because the Switch Off was not communicated effectively enough to organisations and customers alike.

This led to businesses lacking the crucial information that they needed to ensure that they made the switch to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems in a timely manner. This just goes to show how important information and communication is, in order for UK businesses to successfully make the switch, ahead of the 2025 deadline.

But what exactly do UK businesses need to know to prevent this from happening to them?

Navigating the Big Switch Off – what do businesses need to know?

The PSTN Switch Off doesn’t just affect phone lines!

Phone lines being switched off across the nation is only one element of the Big Switch Off and many businesses are not aware of what else may be affected by this change.

It also influences systems such as CCTV, fax systems and even critical care systems. This is a problem that Germany faced during their own Switch Off as many businesses were still relying on fax machines post Switch Off which led to businesses experiencing unnecessary downtime. To avoid a repeat of this, it is important for businesses to take a close look at their entire estate to make sure that they are aware of what will be impacted well before the deadline.

Don’t delay!

It can be daunting to implement a new infrastructure project alongside your business’ daily operations, especially against a backdrop of economic uncertainty. However, we have seen from Germany’s PSTN Switch Off in 2018 that time is of the essence.

In terms of what alternative solutions are available for businesses, VoIP systems – technology platforms that facilitate voice communication to be transmitted over IP based networks – have firmly established themselves as the communications tool of the future.

How VoIP systems can revolutionise communications

VoIP systems can unlock a realm of benefits for businesses across the UK and beyond, which will in turn positively impact a business’ bottom line. This is especially important in our current economic climate for a few reasons.

Firstly, any calls made over VoIP systems will be significantly cheaper than any calls made using older analogue solutions. These older solutions are more difficult to fit and maintain – meaning that there are more users than there is infrastructure available, which has led to an ongoing battle for data carriage. This is where VoIP systems come in.  Calls made using these systems will be routed through the Internet which eliminates the fight for data carriage altogether, meaning that calls will be significantly cheaper. A huge benefit for any businesses that regularly make international calls or are looking to scale up.

Aside from these cost-saving benefits, VoIP solutions can also increase business’ sustainability.

VoIP use less energy and is less resource-intensive in comparison to PSTN systems. By making the switch, businesses will be benefiting from a system that is more sustainable and will be doing their part in helping the UK meet its net-zero carbon emissions goals.

Additionally, VoIP systems provide increased flexibility which can lead to greater efficiency throughout your business operations. By routing phone calls over the Internet, you can communicate from anywhere in the world at any time, without needing to be in an office. This new model works greatly in favour of the fast-paced hybrid world that we are currently living in.

Germany’s PSTN Switch Off has provided the UK with a great framework ahead of making the switch in 2025. That in mind, in order to ensure a smooth transition, businesses need to ensure that they act quickly and make sure that they are armed with all of the information that they need to make the right decision. For this 2025 Switch Off to truly revolutionise the telecommunications industry, it’s in every business best interest to be proactive to ensure they get the most out of this change.