The UK Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) Switch Off is happening, and it is happening soon. It’s not just about your phone lines, either. The PSTN Switch Off could also impact your payment terminals, CCTV, intercom, alarms and much more.

There’s a lot to do and we don’t recommend waiting until the last moment. In fact, you could enjoy benefits from switching sooner. Here’s our guide to preparing your business.

What is the PSTN and ISDN Switch Off anyway?

The PSTN is the UK’s traditional copper wire telephone system, deployed way back in 1876 to enable analogue voice communications.

Fast forward to the 1980s, and the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) was incorporated into the PSTN. This upgrade uses digital transmissions to make phone calls and video calls, as well as distributing data, enabling broadband and introducing other network services through the existing phone system. Essentially, it birthed the age of the internet as we have known it till now.

Since then, the world has undergone a digital transformation, and the demand for connectivity and speed has vastly outgrown what these traditional technologies were designed to deliver. This is why Openreach has taken the decision to roll out new fibre technology across the nation and retire these networks.

When is the PSTN Switch Off happening?

Back in 2017, Openreach announced it would be turning off the analogue PSTN and ISDN services in December 2025, although this will not happen all at once. There will be a phased shut down of these networks with some areas like Salisbury and Mildenhall already well on their way.

Since September 2023, there’s been a national stop sell of PSTN-related technology. This means you can no longer buy new PSTN-based services or modify any existing services that rely on ISDN or PSTN.

By 2026, every phone line in the UK will be digital, which means they will be routed over Internet Protocol (IP) instead of the traditional PSTN.

What’s the plan?

December 2025 will be on us before you know it, but you still have time to prepare. Follow these ten steps to minimise disruption and ensure your business survives the PSTN Switch Off.

1. Act now

The fact that you’re reading this article means you’re moving in the right direction. But you need to have your new set of solutions selected, deployed, tested and fully working by December 2025. And the sooner you switch, the sooner you can relax.

Plus, there are many cost savings to be had, so the faster you move, the sooner you save. You can try a call with your existing provider and use the steps below to guide the conversation.

2. Build your strategy

The best place to start is with a clear strategy. Start with that PSTN Switch Off date of December 2025 and work your way back, marking out your milestones.

You can use the next steps in this article as a guide to what you need to include in your strategy. Start with your device audit, evaluate your hardware options and keep moving from there.

It’s important to keep in mind that you need to give yourself enough time to complete everything before December 2025, and the closer we get to that date the more national demand there will be for engineers. Build in contingency time and make sure you test your new system.

3. Carry out a device audit

It’s not just your phone lines and broadband connection that could be affected by the Switch Off. Make sure you run a device audit that takes into account everything in your business that relies on analogue lines to function.

Make sure you check:

  • Your phone system:
    Does it rely on an Integrated Services Digital Network – ISDN2, ISDN30 – or PSTN Multiline?
  • Your broadband:
    Does it rely on an Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, ADSL2 or Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)?
  • Your wider business systems and services like alarms, security or access systems:
    Do they rely on a Single Analogue Exchange Line?

Potential Single Analogue Exchange Line services include Process Data Quickly (PDQ) handheld payment devices, emergency alarms, lift lines and help point systems, door entry systems, fax machines and care home alarms.

If your business relies on any of the above, you need to put a switchover plan in place.

Don’t know where to start? Call your current provider to find out more.

4. Consider your new hardware options

Once you have the results of your audit, you’ll know how your business will be affected and can evaluate your best options.

To replace business telephony, you may want to take a closer look at your Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) options. VoIP is a communications technology that allows you to make voice calls over a broadband internet connection. It uses a digital telephone system, and you can still use a compatible desk phone, but it also allows you to make calls from a mobile phone or even your laptop.

If you’d like to take it a step further and combine your voice calling with video calls, instant messaging and fax, then you should explore the advantages of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking. Some of the options you have are:

  • SIP trunking connected to your current Private Branch Exchange (PBX).
  • SIP trunking connected through an ISDN to SIP converter.
  • A unified communications (UC) solution.

Your chosen solution is going to form the backbone of your communications strategy, so make sure you take the time to understand which route is best for your business.

5. Check existing broadband

For your broadband, you need to check whether you are still using an ADSL2 connection. This relies on the old copper wire network, and you’ll need to switch it out. Speak to your current provider if you’re unsure of the technology that you currently have in place.

To replace ADSL2 broadband, you may want to take a closer look at full-fibre broadband, which is currently being rolled out region-by-region. You can also wrap your telephony into your broadband, by choosing Single order Generic Ethernet Access (SoGEA) with VoIP, but that’s the subject of another article.

To continue using alarms, door entry systems and other services that rely on a Single Analogue Exchange Line, then SoGEA can help you again, though you’ll need to work with a supplier who has experience in migrating more complex business environments.

Once you’ve identified the equipment that will be affected, create a plan for replacing, upgrading or migrating it.

6. Make sure you have enough bandwidth

Not only is switching to an all-digital solution going to create an increase in your broadband traffic, the Switch Off is also a great time to assess your current business needs without the limitations of outdated, limited technology. Make sure your existing or proposed connectivity solution can handle the future bandwidth requirements of your business.

It’s good to talk to your supplier and ensure you have the best solution for digital calling and hosted voice. Remember, it’s also very easy to over-spec and pay for a system that you don’t really need, so there’s a bit of a balancing act.

7. Select your supplier carefully

The PSTN Switch Off has created an upsurge in managed IT services providers and telecommunications companies looking to cash in. In a competitive marketplace, finding the right supplier for your business can be tricky. You should be looking for a combination of expertise, experience, value for money, reliability, good customer service, financial stability and clear communication.

Use independent review websites and ask your business contacts for recommendations. When you talk to potential suppliers, think about the questions they are asking about you and your specific requirements.

The best provider isn’t the same for everyone. Those who try to understand your business requirements from the outset are more likely to offer you a solution that fits your needs, rather than just trying to sell you a standard package.

8. Get your employees involved

Don’t let the upcoming changes come as a surprise to any members of your team. There are going to be changes to the ways they communicate, so get them familiarised with the new systems. For example, mobile and desktop apps will allow your employees to make calls using headsets and laptops, or mobile phones. Not only is this a great solution for your sales or customer support teams and remote workers, it also means you won’t need to buy as many desk phones, so it will save you money.

In addition, if you choose a unified communications solution, you’ll need to make sure your team is confident with switching from voice to video or instant chat whenever necessary.

Regardless of the solution you choose, ensure everyone understands the changes, is trained to operate the new equipment, and is aware of any new features, updates in procedures or enhanced system capabilities. If you don’t involve everyone, you’ll frustrate your employees and deliver a substandard service to your customers.

9. Test ahead of time

Be prepared. Before the PSTN Switch Off date, you should test and monitor any new systems. Make sure you conduct a thorough analysis, identify potential issues and resolve any compatibility problems.

If you’ve followed all the steps above and employed the services of the right supplier, you shouldn’t have many issues. However, there’s always the possibility of some teething troubles or employee unfamiliarity with any new system, so build in time to monitor performance of the new system and ensure it meets your business requirements.

10. Embrace the opportunity

Make a start now, and the effort you put in will be more than worthwhile. Your new systems will be more reliable than PSTN, and less likely to experience poor connectivity or interference.

Plus, you’ll be starting out on the path to enhancing your business performance. This is an ideal opportunity to explore the other ways that digital transformation can help your business increase its margins, improve customer service and attract more customers.

BONUS TIP: What to do if your current provider can’t help you

If you’re getting nowhere with your current provider, or they can’t answer your questions, it’s time to look for help from elsewhere.…

1–10 employees?

XLN is standing by

Bespoke support for smaller businesses is just a click away over at XLN.

11–250 employees?

Daisy has got you covered

If your business has over ten employees, experts at Daisy Communications are waiting to help you.