ISDN connection cable

ISDN Lines Are Ending in 2027 - What This Means for You

Technology is a force that never stops evolving. It is constantly adapting and becoming more revolutionary by the year while meeting our needs and keeping up with demand. Inevitably, this means out with the old and in with the new. This is where ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network) lines going end of life in 2027 aka the ‘BT ISDN Switch Off’ comes in. 

Technology has become a huge part of most people’s lives and BT understands that the traditional copper network cannot keep up with faster, sleeker alternatives. IP (Internet Protocol) phone systems have quickly surpassed ISDN lines which were introduced in 1986, especially in terms of speed and cost-effectiveness.

This is why, in 2017, it was announced that the UK would transition to a fully digital communications network. Digital services built on SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) will replace older PSTN networks (Public Switched Telephone Network), providing more capacity, higher speeds, and a wide range of flexible features and benefits to customers. 

On top of advancing technology, the way we work has also changed - especially in the past few years - with many organisations now adopting a flexible working approach, making the fixed desk phone obsolete. People who have the option to work from other locations aside from the office need to be able to take their calls from other devices while they’re working remotely – which is what can be done via VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) – which is set to become the default way that people and businesses communicate. This type of phone system allows you to take phone calls via the internet on a cloud network, rather than an on-premise landline phone.

What does this mean for my organisation?

The end of ISDN doesn’t necessarily mean no more desk phones, but it does mean a shift to IP to cater to how we work and operate in the modern day. The move to hosted voice is unavoidable – but it is also highly desirable for your business. The potential benefits – reduced costs, increased productivity, new ways of working, greater flexibility – are all available right now. This means that by choosing to upgrade now, you can reap the rewards of newer technology immediately and avoid the lengthy waiting lists that begin to form as Openreach stop selling new ISDN services. 

Many people use their phones to communicate during their working day. Our hosted telephony solution allows you to connect your mobile, desk phone and laptop via an app. You’ll be using the same number and can pick up from any location from any connected device, as long as there is an internet connection. 

Why cloud telephony? There are many benefits of hosted telephony including:

  • Cost Efficiency: Hosted telephony eliminates the need for extensive hardware investments and maintenance, reducing upfront costs.
  • Scalability: Businesses can easily scale up or down based on their needs, adding or removing lines and features without physical infrastructure changes.
  • Flexibility: Your teams can make and receive calls from anywhere with an internet connection, supporting remote and flexible work arrangements.
  • Advanced Features: Hosted telephony offers rich features like call routing, voicemail, conferencing, and auto-attendants, enhancing communication capabilities.
  • Business Continuity: Cloud-based systems ensure uninterrupted communication even during outages or disasters, safeguarding operations.
  • Cost Predictability: Subscription-based models provide predictable monthly costs, avoiding unexpected expenses associated with traditional systems.
  • Integration: Hosted telephony easily integrates with other business applications, streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity.
  • Maintenance-Free: Service providers like Sharp handle system maintenance, updates, and security, freeing businesses from technical upkeep.
  • Global Reach: Geographical boundaries are overcome, allowing international communication at lower costs compared to traditional phone systems.
  • Environmental Impact: Reduced hardware and energy consumption contribute to a smaller carbon footprint, aligning with sustainable practices.

While 2027 may seem a while away, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the time comes around, so it’s important to start thinking about your telephony situation and what the end of the conventional ISDN lines means for your organisation. You don’t want to be left playing catch-up in a few years by not being proactive now. 

How can I prepare? 

Here are five simple steps plan will ensure you’re properly prepared for the change and realise the opportunity to save time and money by future-proofing your communications:

  1. Audit your current communications usage - What do you have in place right now? Take an audit to assess your current communications set-up so you fully understand what needs to be updated. Don’t forget to check those easily forgotten details like fax machines, alarm systems, modems etc. Every single one of your ISDN connections will need to be replaced with an IP alternative.
  2. Find out when your legacy contracts end - Check to see when your local communications,exchange is due to be issued with a stop sell notice. Do your contracts expire before or after that date? A service still in contract after that date will continue to work - but you won’t be able to renew any agreements that expire.
  3. Define your future communications strategy - Meet with your stakeholders to determine current and future business requirements. Will you increase the use of flexi-working? Are more of your team working remotely? Do you have international expansion plans? Answering these strategic questions will help you understand what your upgrade needs to achieve and help to future-proof your business communications.
  4. Assess potential of next gen technology - With your communications strategy defined you can investigate how newer technology can help you meet those goals. 
  5. Speak to a telecoms partner like Sharp - We’d be happy to support you on this project, so get in touch today and we’ll start mapping out your digital journey together. Our real-world experience will help you navigate the various upgrade options, selecting the best solutions for your strategic goals.

Although the Big Switch Off will not be completed until 2027, you should still be planning to migrate to a hosted voice solution at the earliest opportunity. The fact that Openreach continues to issue ‘stop sell’ instructions at a growing number of local exchanges serves to underscore the importance of taking action now.

The Switch Off Timeline

The Switch Off Timeline

“The Big Switch Off could be seen as an inconvenience – but it is actually an opportunity to deploy new technologies that save money, unlock new ways of working, and prepare your business for the realities of communication in the digitally transformed marketplace.” Sara Sheikh, Head of Product Management, Gamma Telecom

Learn more about Sharp's Hosted Telephony solution here.