Stephen Dracup, Chief Operating Officer at Chess, summarises the most recent updates on the 2025 PSTN Switch Off, including:
The technology that powers your telephone line will be switched off as part of the PSTN 2025 shutdown. This will impact everyone in the UK to a greater or lesser extent, with over 3 million business customers to transfer as well as most residential properties in the UK. The shutdown affects 'old world' products like all analogue (POT/SAL) lines, most broadband and all ISDN2 and ISDN30 lines.
The country is mainly split into two – those who will be on an FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) priority exchange and those who are not. Everyone is at best 400 working days from a stop-sell date which means you will not be able to buy or expand your 'old world' products, and 1000 days from end-of-life when they will be switched off completely. For some of us, the deadline to transition may be even sooner.
FTTP Priority: If you are on an FTTP priority exchange, you may already be subject to a stop sell notice because some exchanges are going end-of-life much sooner than 2025. Openreach announces new tranches of exchanges every three months.
WLR Withdrawal: For everyone else, we already have the dates where there will be a national stop-sell (September 2023) and end-of-life (December 2025).
So that's plenty of time?
Well, not really – because:
FTTP Priority: new tranches of exchanges are being announced every three months, so you might be added to the list at any stage.
WLR withdrawal: due to the sheer scale of the number of lines to migrate, anyone leaving this to the back end of next year may well start to bump into issues with delivery times.
ACT NOW TO AVOID THE CHAOS
Why it's complicated...
- Telephone Users: : if your lines are plugged into a phone system, you will likely need to make a number of changes within your premises. Either by upgrading your phone system (if possible) or replacing it entirely.
- Broadband Only Users: for data only customers, things are somewhat simpler. Where available FTTP (like our Ultrafast Broadband) is much more reliable and faster than copper solutions like FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet), so the sooner you get it installed, the less impacted by 2025 you will be. However, FTTP is not currently available to everyone, and it is not always clear what your best alternative option will be going forward.
- Single Line Voice Users: People who use the most basic service (a single line with a phone on it) do not currently have a cost-effective or simple replacement product. These are in development with most carriers, but the process of moving from what you have now to what you will need is not yet smooth. Also you may experience internal wiring if you run extensions off the main master socket. When you add the cost of this product to the cost of the broadband service you need to support it – it becomes more expensive than the product it is replacing. Over time, it is hoped this gap will close, but staying put may be your best option for now.
- Alarms and lifts: If you have an alarm system, lift, or other device attached to an analogue line, this may need replacing.
- The Data is Constantly Changing: It would be great if Openreach had already planned the complete rollout and could tell everyone what was going to happen. However, this is not the case. We (and you) get fed information by them every three months, and even the data about who can have FTTP in their premises is changing monthly.
Our advice on next steps
The transition to new world products is complicated because most businesses' circumstances, needs and location are unique. Our advice is to start discussing your switch now. Register your concerns with your service provider to see what they have planned to help you rather than try to fathom this on your own. In specific scenarios, the best advice is to wait. In others, it might be to act quickly. The sooner you deal with this, the sooner you can relax knowing you have a good plan.
We offer all our customers a free consultation to help them agree on their strategy and take back control of the situation. We can then understand what your business needs and help you decide the best course of action for you to take. So act now and avoid the chaos.