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PSTN Switch Off Update

Grant Thain, Voice and Connectivity Vendor Alliance Manager at Chess, discusses the upcoming PSTN Switch Off, with the latest updates and what it could mean for your business. He covers:

Watch this session from Future Insight Technology 2023 where Steve Blackshaw, All IP Director at BT, covers the upcoming PSTN Switch Off and the next steps your business should take.

The upcoming PSTN Switch Off is happening sooner than you might expect. It’s important for businesses to get ahead and make the necessary changes to avoid disruption. 

What is the PSTN Switch Off?

In 2025, the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN), is being switch off by BT Openreach. The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), with its traditional copper wire infrastructure, has been the backbone of voice communication in the UK for over a century. Originally designed for analogue voice transmissions, it has performed well, but we are now moving to a new era of digital communication, moving away from the limitations of copper wires towards the vast potential of Internet Protocol (IP)-based systems.

It’s not just your phone services that are affected. It’s everything else that currently uses the old phone network, all your non-voice services connected to PSTN or ISDN lines. Whilst most businesses are going to be affected by the change in broadband services, things like alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems, CCTV, and even faxes are affected too.

The Switch Off means that businesses using these services will need to move to different solutions to avoid any disruption.

That’s next year, why should I worry now?

Although the final stages of the switch off are happening in 2025, your business and your existing services may be affected earlier. It’s crucial to have a plan in place especially if you have multiple locations or are greatly reliant on your phone or broadband lines. Switching to future-proof connectivity and a cloud voice phone system should be a priority for your business.

Time marches on….

As of September 5th, 2023, BT Openreach initiated a national stop-sell of the PSTN, which was a significant milestone in the transition to modern digital technology. This marked the beginning of the phase-out process, with the full PSTN switch-off scheduled for the end of December 2025. 

The Stop Sell means you can no longer order new telephone lines, ISDN2/30s or ADSL/FTTC Broadband. Further to that, there is no longer an ability to move services between suppliers, so basically you have what you’ve got.

Stop Sell, What Now?

If we presume that the final stage of the PSTN switch off also goes to schedule, there isn't long left to make your decisions and migrate your existing services across to 2025 compliant services. This is one of those things that it is best to review early and avoid the rush that will no doubt happen as we get closer to the December 2025 deadline.

It is worth noting that many small businesses have already made the move to a digital phone line. That said, a significant number have not, and over a quarter (26%) are unaware of the upcoming change.

What do I do?

If your business relies on traditional PSTN services, and you are among the 43% of small businesses in this category, it may be best to switch to an IP-based solution sooner rather than later. It requires a proactive approach to evaluate your connectivity needs, assess your current infrastructure, and embrace digital communication technologies. Transitioning will not only align your business with future technological standards but also unlock benefits such as faster internet speeds, enhanced reliability, and improved productivity.

To avoid any disruption, it’s important to ensure that your devices are compatible with the digital phone network as well. Check if your current phones are internet compatible, and make a note of any special services. Your alarm systems, CCTV, and payment terminals may well work via the traditional PSTN. Just like your desk phones, these devices need to be compatible with the digital (internet-based) phone network.

Keep your goals in mind: Maybe you need more or different hardware moving forward. For example, your current set-up may work fine now, but if you envisage more flexible video-based customer service, you might want to prepare for this sooner rather than later. In other words, plan for your future business as well as your current business.

How do I make the change?

Depending on how complex your existing reliance on PSTN based services, it could be a challenging task to identify what you have, what you use it for and what you need to meet your future business requirements.

The decommissioning of PSTN lines is a once-in-a-lifetime technological change, however, it doesn’t have to be scary, but planning is crucial. Now is the time to act proactively and contact Chess to avoid the pitfalls of any last-minute switching, including potential increased costs and inadequate preparation time. If you have questions, Chess is here to help, whether it is a move to an all-IP solution or to simply maintain the status quo for an additional period of time beyond the 2025 deadline. We can provide a solution that will meet your timescales and business needs.

The first step is to speak to a Chess 2025 expert. We’ll help identify what the impact of the 2025 PSTN Switch Off is on your business and everything you need to consider. Our experts can help remove the stress from your migration plan and help you transition away from these at risk services before they disrupt your business.


Some Chess customers can continue to use pre-existing legacy PSTN services until the complete switch-off in December 2025, a proportion of Chess’ customers' pre-existing products will continue to operate beyond the 2025 PSTN closure. In fact, Chess has positioned itself as one of the few service providers with access (dependent on location and availability) to continue providing traditional services such as FTTC and ADSL, which could allow customers to avoid any last-minute decisions, complications, delays, and disruptions a move to a full IP-based solution may cause despite BT Openreach's stop-sell from September 5th, 2023. This applies only to a specific segment of existing Chess customers. Please talk to one of our specialists today to find out more.

About the author

Grant Thain

Grant Thain is an experienced Connectivity and Voice specialist. He’s undertaken a number of roles at Chess, and is now Vendor Alliance Manager. He supports Chess customers, vendors and people with his in-depth experience and knowledge of the solutions that are both available now, and under development.

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