Back in 2015, BT announced that the Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) would be phased out by December 2025. This means that people will no longer be making calls over these analogue phone lines, but will be switching to faster, clearer IP technologies instead.
Why is this happening?
The switch-off marks the next evolution of telecommunications technology. ISDN was introduced in the 1980’s, allowing both voice and data services to be delivered simultaneously. Considering the technology and services available at the time, it served its purpose very well and continued to do so for many years.
Nearly 40 years later, we’re now well into the 21st century and technology has progressed rapidly. The old telephone solutions are falling behind the curve in an increasingly fast paced digital world where everything is moving to the Cloud.
What does this mean for your business?
The switch-off could affect over 2 million UK businesses, primarily SMEs who still operate on ISDN. If you’re one of the businesses still using landline telephones and fax machines, the switch-off will dramatically impact your operations. You’ll need to figure out how this situation will change how your staff communicates with clients, customers, partners, and vendors and how you’ll cope with that change.
While 2025 may still seem a long way off, we strongly advise businesses to not wait until the last minute to make a change to all-digital communications such as cloud telephony or hosted PBX.
What’s the alternative?
Many businesses have already embraced an all-digital model, moving their communications to the cloud, making calls over the internet and embracing video conferencing.
Voice-over-Internet Protocol or VoIP is one of your best options if you’re planning to switch from ISDN. VoIP frees you from an on-premise phone system that restricts your ability to work outside of the same four walls. Rather than speaking to someone over a traditional phone line, VoIP allows you to take and make calls over an internet connection, on a cloud network.
Benefits of VoIP
With a stable internet connection, VoIP can offer a number of benefits to businesses that make the switch. These benefits include wider flexibility and scalability – you can easily add and remove users as needed, and you can work from anywhere since you’ll be able to make calls from your mobile device.
VoIP is also a cost-effective solution and offers great portability — VoIP is usually much cheaper than ISDN lines. Furthermore, because VoIP is cloud-based, it means you wouldn’t need to worry about any maintenance costs.
If your company has a compatible PBX (Public Branch Exchange), you may want to consider switching to SIP Trunks. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking is a protocol used to start and finish multimedia communication in VoIP applications. In other words, it allows you to send and receive voice traffic via your internet connection.
Unlike ISDN, SIP trunking completely eliminates copper lines. You can use the same data network to transmit all types of media – pictures, text, voice calls, video calls, documents etc.
With SIP trunks, your phone numbers are not tied to a physical exchange or location. This means you don’t have to worry about losing your numbers when you move- increasing flexibility. Also, if you have a growing business or even plan on downsizing, SIP allows you to add and remove lines as necessary.
Below are some additional VoIP features to consider:
Video and Audio Conferencing
Advanced Call Routing
Mobile App Integration
Customer Relationship Management Integration
Is VoIP any better than ISDN?
The reason for moving to all-digital isn’t just because the traditional phone systems are old. The reality is that all-digital communications are so much better. Plus, even at the most basic level, you’ll be able to make and receive calls on any device, from wherever you are, with the same numbers.
You can seamlessly integrate your business systems and apps with video chat and calls for communication and collaboration, so you’re closer to your customers and team members. With cloud-based systems, you can also access company work at any time, from any place.
Factor in the lower costs that IP technology can bring and it makes sense to get a move on and go digital as soon as you can.