The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is going to be switched off, and it’s going to happen soon. From December 2025, any of its systems or services linked to the PSTN they will stop working when the PSTN Switch Off occurs.

It’s as simple as that.

This could very easily put your business in jeopardy. And, as an established SME, if you’ve yet to run a PSTN audit, there’s a good chance some part of your business still relies on the PSTN network.

Being a larger organisation, you’re also more likely to undergo greater disruption from PSTN switchover than an operation with a handful of employees.

Your existing phone systems could be comprehensive Private Branch eXchanges (PBX), you’re more likely to have door entry systems, and fast, reliable broadband is almost certainly a key pillar of your business strategy.

For all these reasons, let’s take a look at our five essential PSTN Switch Off tips for established SMEs.

1. Check your existing PSTN dependency (not just your phones)

Before you can act, you need to know what you’re up against, and the scale of the impact that PSTN switch off will have on your business.

To do this, you’ll need to identify and review all the hardware, services, systems and functions that are connected to, and working through, your phone lines. Here’s a list of the things you need to be looking into:

  • Phone lines
  • Broadband connections
  • PDQ handheld payment devices
  • Franking machines
  • Emergency alarms
  • Lift lines
  • CCTV systems
  • Traffic light monitoring
  • Help point systems
  • Door entry systems
  • Fax machines
  • Care home and panic alarms

You’re looking for anything that relies on PSTN, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) or a Single Analogue Exchange Line. Many of these systems and services are secured through third-party providers, so you may need to follow a few paper trails along the way. Call your service provider if you need support.

2. Evaluate your business needs

It’s not all hard work for no reward. The PSTN switch off presents you with the opportunity to improve your business over the long term. You could also make some serious cost savings. Now is a great time to look at the tech you’re using and work out if there’s a better way to do things.

For example, Voice over IP (VoIP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) can provide voice and data services over the internet. SIP can even be used to connect most existing systems directly to the new public network.

Begin by looking within your business and identifying what you do now and how that could be improved.

3. Research your options

Do comprehensive research, not just into the systems and services that are direct replacements for what you have already. Take a closer look at options that allow your business to make dramatic improvements to the way it operates.

Unified communications (UC) and cloud integrations are good examples of ways that you could propel your business forward when you switch to full-fibre broadband.

A UC solution combines your company’s phone system, voicemail, instant messaging, video conferencing, faxing, email, online apps and CRM capabilities into one complete package.

This allows your employees to switch seamlessly from one mode of communication to another within a single session.

Why does that matter? Well, a customer could start a conversation using instant messaging, which could then be escalated to a video conference with a single click, without having to open a separate application.

Many UC systems also integrate with third-party business applications, such as project management software and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. CRM is used to manage interactions with customers and potential customers, to ensure information is up to date and consistent, as well as improving workflows.

Move into the world of cloud integrations, with calendars, scheduling, personal assistant functions, enterprise social networking, collaboration platforms, large-scale data storage and business analytics all connected.

If these integrated solutions aren’t right for your business, then that’s fine, too. But make sure you investigate them.

4. Get the whole team involved

The bigger the business, the more likely things can fall between the cracks. If you’re following hybrid working practices as well, there could be a few disconnects and pockets of miscommunication along the way.

Make sure everyone knows what’s going on. There are going to be changes to the ways your people communicate with each other as well as the outside world, so ensure everyone understands the changes and is trained to operate the new equipment.

If you don’t involve everyone, you could end up frustrating and demotivating employees, lowering customer service levels and reducing the effectiveness of your new business development activities.

5. Consider external advice

Let’s face it, telephone and broadband connectivity services are vital to your business, so you need to have a reliable, trusted partner to guide you through the switchover process.

The decisions that surround PSTN switch off can often be daunting. If you don’t have the right expertise within your business, then make sure you get it elsewhere. Work with a provider who can advise you constructively.

As well as providing choice, reliability and value for money, your telecoms partner needs to be able to provide customisation options that meet your requirements. You should be able to select products and bundle them together in a reliable, secure and stable offering that works for your business.

Take your next steps to get ahead of the PSTN Switch Off

There is not one definitive answer that will allow every enterprise to achieve a successful post-PSTN outcome. Every business is different, but that doesn’t mean each approach shouldn’t use a similar framework. The answers may be different, but the questions you ask should be the same.

If you follow our tips in this article and take a look around our website for further advice, you’ll be able to build a roadmap and define a strategy that works for you. Best of luck, and we hope you enjoy a highly successful PSTN switchover.

Not sure where to start?

Getting nowhere with your existing provider(s)? Don’t worry, you can get help from a specialist in keeping small businesses working…

1–10 employees?

XLN is standing by

XLN is dedicated to keeping small businesses working, so get in touch with the experts there today.

11–250 employees?

Daisy has got you covered

Daisy Communications can talk you through the various options available on the market from leading suppliers.