The Copper Switch-off: 6 Things You Need to Know
The biggest permanent change to the UK telephone network is due to be completed by 2025 and will affect approximately 16 million premises and homes. This may seem a long way off, but it is important to have the facts on which to base your next steps so the disruption to your organisation is minimal. Read on to discover what the copper switch-off is and how you can ensure your organisation is prepared for the UK digital upgrade.
1. What is the Copper Switch-off?
BT Openreach will be switching off the UK’s Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or copper analogue network by the end of December 2025. PSTN has been the foundation of the UK’s telephone network for decades, with some infrastructure in place since the 19th century. As our demand for faster internet access grows, the time has come for the copper network to be upgraded to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). There is no need to worry about these changes, in fact it will mean your organisation will benefit from faster broadband speeds and higher quality communication.
The below diagram demonstrates the current connection setups available to UK premises and homes. After the copper switch-off most locations will be connected by a FTTP connection.
2. Why is the Copper Switch-off Happening?
The existing analogue copper network in the UK has become increasingly expensive to maintain. Reliability and download speeds are often an issue for users depending on how far they are located from the closest telephone exchange. The switch to a full fibre network will offer quicker connectivity, increased reliability, and flexibility. This will allow users to take full advantage of cloud computing, video conferencing and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls.
3. When will the Copper Switch-off Happen?
Openreach plan to cease the use of the PSTN and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) service by the 31st of December 2025. By this time, it is hoped most business or home users would have been transferred to the upgraded fibre network. The UK digital upgrade may have already started in your area as it is being approached on a region-by-region basis. This means the sales of analogue phones and lines may have been already phased-out in certain areas.
For those living in rural areas the switch to a full fibre network might not happen as quickly as other areas. For some, 4G, 5G and other alternative services might be a more viable choice. Your chosen telecoms supplier will be able to advise you further on what connectivity is available in your area.
4. How Will this Affect My Organisation?
It is important that you start to check if the phones and services you use will need to be replaced with fibre-based alternatives. It isn’t just telephones and voice services that use a copper line. You will need to check if devices such as care alarms, smoke or security alarms and payment terminals will continue to function after the switch-off date. This can be checked by contacting the company that installed the equipment or directly with the manufacturer.
Time is still on your side. Don’t see the upgrade as a burden where you need to make a rash decision on replacing equipment. It’s a perfect time to step back and re-evaluate your current services and hardware. Take time to understand how your employees currently work and what your organisation’s future requirements might be. For instance, will you offer hybrid working and hot desking?
Importantly, your existing phone numbers can be ported to any new service you might engage. That’s one less thing to think about!
5. How Can My Organisation Prepare for the Upgrade?
There are various options available to your organisation if your existing phone system does need to be upgraded. A service such as VoIP combines the traditional functionality of an analogue phone system with digital telephony and can be based on premise or in the cloud.
Switching to a VoIP solution means you can benefit from reduced call charges, cheaper or free additional call services and the flexibility to use your digital phone line on-the-go using the same number. Perfect for hybrid working and being digital ready!
You can discover more on our range of 3CX VoIP phone systems here.
6. What Should My Organisation Do Next?
Be ready for the digital upgrade with a 3CX VoIP phone system. 3CX is a complete unified communications solution that includes web conferencing, presence, softphones, smartphone clients and more. Being completely web-based, 3CX eliminates the need for a wired phone system allowing your team to work from anywhere.
NCI Technologies are a 3CX Silver Partner and a preferred reseller with over 17 years’ experience in deploying phone systems designed for small and medium organisations. Our expert telecoms team can offer tailored advice on upgrading your existing phone network, ensuring a smooth switch with minimal disruption.
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