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  • Datanetex

The end of comms as we know it??

In 2017, BT announced that it will be closing the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) in December 2025 (https://www.openreach.co.uk/cpportal/products/the-all-ip-programme/wlr-withdrawal). After this date, Openreach will no longer support or offer this product.


As a result, a UK-wide 'Stop Sell' will be in effect from 5 September 2023, meaning that after this date it will not be possible to provision new PSTN services. In-life services will remain operational until 2025. Once the 'Stop Sell' date was announced, many communication providers swooped on the opportunity to end services earlier, citing the lack of commercial benefit in continued service provision.


But it's not the copper that is being phased out - it is the voice element of the service delivery. This affects Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) services, as these rely on a mutual PSTN element. The demise of FTTC has caused some ripples in the world of connectivity, with some campaigners suggesting a short-sighted commercial model from BT after the demise of ISDN a few years back.

PSTN has become overwhelmed, difficult to maintain and the infrastructure is rapidly ageing - essentially it is no longer fit for the 21st century. As a by-product of the nationwide fibre upgrade, focus has turned to how the services we have traditionally relied upon copper to deliver can instead be delivered using the latest full fibre network.


The full fibre roll out has not been without issues, in fact it's been slow progress. Salisbury was one of the first locations where a copper 'Stop Sell' was trialled. Unfortunately, the fibre rollout in this area left thousands of properties only able to access copper services, so Openreach have faced a mammoth task to deliver fibre in a compressed timescale with September 2023 looming. So, PSTN services are being phased out; what is coming in it's place?


A new product, called SoGEA has been launched, which removes the PSTN element of FTTC services. Essentially you'll see no real change in delivery other that no telephone line to make calls over. The drive of course is towards a full fibre network. Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) rollouts continue, but some areas of the UK are not due to see their rollout for several years potentially. Most affected by these delays are rural areas and surprisingly those which has seen a massive rise in population in recent years. This is due to the amount of new infrastructure required to deliver services and our growing need to connect.


The major change is to voice services, where the mobile network or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will take up the slack. VoIP is relied upon by the business community heavily and customers can benefit from a hosted or on-premise solution. It is considered that most households will use mobile phones for calls with a vast number of free minutes available.

Businesses however will need to migrate away from PSTN and ISDN-based products efficiently to retain their call volume and minimise interruption. We have seen a steady rise in clients moving to hosted VoIP solutions such as our Eve platform, offering simple number transfers and a good return on investment into hardware. VoIP is dependant


on a good data connection and with SoGEA offering great bandwidth options there should be no reason for this not to work for your business.


If you'd like more information concerning the PSTN switch off, VoIP services or general communication advice, please drop us an email - [email protected].

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