New Year’s Resolution: Plan for the 2025 PSTN Switch-off

Important note - readiness can take up to 18 months!

The impending PSTN switch-off shouldn’t be a new concept to most brands.

BT (British Telecoms), announced they would be switching off ISDN and PSTN technologies in 2025 way back in 2015, long before many companies were starting the digital transformation projects they’re invested in today. Yet, despite approximately 10 years of notice, many companies have still failed to create a clear plan for how they’re going to respond to the change.

According to one report released at the beginning of 2022, 70% of businesses are still using landline phones and services set to be affected by the PTSN switch-off. 33% of SMEs admit they haven’t taken any precautions to prepare for the change.

With only 2 years left until the official switch-off date, it’s more important than ever for companies to start implementing the right strategies. Our research reveals that preparing for the PSTN switch-off can take as long as 18 months!

Why Companies Need to Start Preparing Now

Making the transition away from a legacy communication system into a new world of cloud and internet-based solutions can seem like a huge, expensive, and daunting prospect. There’s a lot of work to do, and businesses may face some challenges along the way. Now that many companies are already dealing with pre-existing challenges, such as an evolving economic landscape, it’s easy to see why many would want to put the strain of switching away from PSTN on the back burner.

It's easy for business leaders to tell themselves there are still 2 years left for them to replace their old PSTN and ISDN systems. However, 2 years isn’t as much time as it seems to be. With so many tasks to complete before you can effectively “switch” to a new solution, you may find starting now is the only way to ensure you’re ready by 2025.

It’s also worth noting that aspects of the PSTN switch-off initiative are already being implemented. The “Stop Sell” order for ISDN and PSTN will be introduced this year (2023), which means it will be impossible to access any new functionality connected with these technologies.

The “Stop Sell” is likely to place additional pressure on manufacturers, as companies purchasing new connectivity and communication systems begin to invest more heavily in modern tools. Combined with the supply chain issues facing the technology landscape today, this could make it harder for companies to access the technology they need at the correct speed.

The Lengthy Sales Cycle for the PSTN Switch-off

One of the main reasons why many companies have failed to make the transition away from the PSTN landscape at this point is that they’re underestimating the work involved in moving to a new solution. There’s more to do than simply finding a supplier offering like-to-like components in an alternative technology. To truly prepare for a future-proof strategy, companies need to connect with educated suppliers and vendors to create a comprehensive strategy.

The best companies and partners helping organisations prepare for the PSTN switch-off are able to look holistically at the entire estate of the business, as well as their specific user requirements. This ensures companies can build a step-by-step plan for not only switching away from PSTN, but also improving workforce productivity, and efficiency while lowering costs.

Not to mention, there are still all of the standard parts of a sales cycle for businesses to consider, such as:

  • Problem identification: To effectively prepare for the PSTN switch-off, companies need to determine which of their tools and solutions are going to be affected. 83% of organisations say they aren’t even sure which services and tools the PSTN switch-off will impact.
  • Solution exploration: There are numerous ways for companies to address the PSTN switch-off. In some cases, modern companies may choose to opt for full cloud adoption, so they can accelerate their agility and unlock new opportunities. Other brands may prefer to take a hybrid approach. Knowing which strategy is best for you is essential.
  • Requirements building: The PSTN switch-off isn’t just a chore companies need to address; it’s also an opportunity. Companies can take advantage of new technologies to overcome issues with their existing infrastructure and performance. However, this means taking the time to assess the available solutions in the market carefully.
  • Supplier selection: Working with the right vendor is essential in preparing for the PSTN switch-off. Companies need to find a knowledgeable, authoritative partner capable of assisting with everything from needs planning and testing, to change management, technology selection, and education.

The Various Points Companies Must Consider

Part of what makes the process of preparing for the PSTN switch-off so complex, is that there are so many different points to consider before a business can make the right decision. Brands need to not only assess their existing landscape but also plan for what they want to accomplish in the future, with the technologies and systems they’re going to be implementing.

The PSTN and IDSN switch-off will require a consideration of the entire connectivity and communication landscape. From a connectivity perspective, businesses will need to ascertain whether they’re going to be moving away from FTTC and ASDL broadband into SOGEA, SOFAST, or full fibre alternatives. When it comes to managing voice, organisations will need to determine whether they’re going to be moving their entire communication environment into the cloud, maintaining a portion on-premise, or dealing with private automatic branch exchange strategies.

There are other crucial points to look at too, such as:

  • DID ranges: Who needs to maintain a number, and how will you be accessing and using new numbers in your ecosystem going forward?
  • Public and customer-facing numbers: Which numbers need moving? Should you be considering a non-geo strategy to make your business more future-proof?
  • ID analogue lines: Will you be switching these lines off, or taking alternative plans, such as using ESPA protocols to convert lines top SIP and deliver them to tools like MS Teams?
  • Contact centre: How will you manage your contact centre going forward? Do you have an effective cloud-based solution in mind?
  • Common area phones: Do you need to update your hardware throughout the business? Will you be using standard SIP phones or phones designed for tools like Microsoft Teams?
  • Resources: Do you have the technology and skilled professionals in-house required to manage the switchover, or will you need extra support?
  • Business continuity: How will you ensure phone services and connectivity lines continue to remain accessible in emergency situations?
  • Security: How will you ensure the lines you implement for communication and connectivity continue to remain secure as you transition away from PTSN?
  • Budget: What kind of budget do you have to invest in new technology? How much of your existing legacy technology do you want to be able to retain?

It’s Time to Start Preparing Now

Ultimately, with so many points to consider before a company can begin an effective PSTN switchover strategy, brands need to get started as soon as possible. Even a basic strategy for transformation can end up taking years to complete.

If you don’t have a plan in place for the PSTN switchover yet, now is the time to take action. Contact Resonate today to see how we can help you get ready for the next stage in your digital transformation.

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