Nearly 90% of UK businesses still rely on PSTN, despite the imminent switch-off.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

July 26, 2023

3 Min Read
PSTN switch-off coming in UK

UK businesses will be caught out by the imminent public switched telephone network (PSTN) switch-off, research shows.

A survey indicates that most (88%) UK businesses still rely on the PSTN for essential services. These include analogue phone lines, broadband, alarm systems and CCTV cameras.

This is despite the imminent PSTN stop-sell in September, which will see the sale of all new PSTN-related products halt immediately. This will be followed by a full deactivation of the network by Dec. 31, 2025.

The PSTN is a network of copper wires that has kept the UK connected since the 1800s. But its owner, Openreach, will switch the network off in 2025. This is due to increasing difficulties associated with maintaining the now aged infrastructure, as well as evolving communication habits.

PSTN-Switch-Off-Survey-Infographic-1024x724.jpgThe PSTN switch-off will have a huge impact on UK businesses, preventing any further usage of analogue phone lines and older broadband connections. It will also affect services such as lift lines, EPOS systems and CCTV cameras, which may come as a surprise to business owners unaware these services use PSTN lines.

Cloud and connectivity provider M247 surveyed 500 UK-based IT decision makers and found that awareness of the PSTN switch-off is high. Seventy-seven percent of respondents are aware it is happening by 2025. Almost the same number (76%) are aware of the stop-sell scheduled for September. Then, businesses will be unable to place any new orders for PSTN services or make significant changes to existing services.

Despite this, most firms have yet to take any action. Just over one-quarter (29%) list the PSTN switch-off as a top priority. This trails behind issues such as growing cybersecurity threats (50%) and investment in cloud migration (47%).

Of the businesses using the PSTN, one-third (33%) have more than 100 devices connected. More than one-half (51%) say they would experience significant disruption if the network is switched off before they migrate.

Four in five (80%) believe migration from PSTN services would take up to six months to complete and 23% believe the disruption caused by the PSTN switch-off would lead to a loss of business.

Liz Hawke, product manager, UC&C, at M247, said it’s important for businesses to act sooner, rather than later. She advocates for businesses adopting the right IP technology for their needs to avoid disruption in months to come.


M247’s Liz Hawke

“Time is ticking for UK businesses, and the bottom line is simple,” she said. “Migrating away from PSTN is an important step in the digital transformation process for businesses, and those that don’t act soon risk being left behind.”

PSTN Switch-off Creates Role for Channel Partners

The findings suggest there is still much work to do for the channel. Hawke believes there is a big opportunity for partners to support their customers ahead of September’s stop-sell and the 2025 PSTN switch-off.

“Arguably the most important action channel resellers can take is providing the right information to educate their customer base on the implications of the switch-off, and what it will mean for their business. By offering educational materials, such as webinars and workshops, partners can encourage customers to proactively address the situation head-on, before it’s too late.”

Hawke also said partners should assess their customers’ existing IT infrastructure to determine which devices the PSTN switch-off will impact.

“From there, they can work closely with their customers to offer new digital solutions,” she said. “These include VoIP and SIP. These she said, are “better equipped to meet current business challenges and can facilitate enhanced digital transformation.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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