How will the ISDN switch off impact small businesses?

The important facts and figures you need to know about the ISDN switch-off – from if it will impact you and when to the actions you need to take.

ISDN switch off – the background in numbers

PSTN, which stands for Public Switched Telephone Network, is the traditional telephone network that first facilitated calls across the UK in 1875.

It’s connected across the UK by nearly 5,600 telephone exchanges.

The ISDN network was added to the PSTN by BT in 1986. Its purpose was to transmit data that the PSTN couldn’t facilitate previously, like video calls.

BT has not installed any new ISDN lines in central London since 2014. This fact alone goes to show that many businesses have already moved on.

Exactly 150 years after PSTN was introduced, BT Openreach decided that the equipment is too old to stay in use. The company has already begun work on upgrading the old copper wires that currently make up the PSTN.

PSTN switch off – the dates you need to know

September 2023 – any broadband or phone services that use the old copper network will no longer be sold.

January 2027 – the PSTN will be switched off and all UK landlines will cease to operate.

February 2027 – all home or phone calls will be hosted via the internet.

Who will be impacted, and are they prepared?

It is estimated that the switch-off will impact more than two million local UK businesses.

Businesses that rely on fax machines or landline telephones will take the brunt of the switch. But any UK business still relying on legacy communication infrastructure will be impacted one way or another.

It’s important to recognise the benefits of this shift, too. For example, businesses will experience better call quality and faster networks. This will in turn improve innovation, increase productivity, and keep teams tight via hyperconnectivity.

But, despite this, findings show that just 8% of businesses in the UK are 100% ready for the 2025 PSTN (Public Switch Phone Network) switch off.

What you can do

Any businesses relying on ISDN/PSTN lines or legacy telephone systems should review their communications infrastructure as soon as possible.

This is because in today’s new world of work, cloud technology and digital transformation are fundamental to modern business models. They move companies towards more flexible and inclusive hybrid experiences, better enabling future-ready operations and intelligent workspaces. Leaving everything to the last minute could therefore leave your business in the past.

Organisations that are not prepared before the switch off date might also find that they’re at the back of a long queue of instillations while also having no telephone system. This could cost businesses customers and revenue.

There are several great partners out there who can support with your migration. Be sure to research your options and look for a company who can help make this process a smooth and successful one – readying your business for the future.

For more support, guidance and free 1-2-1 business advice, you can also speak to one of our V-Hub Digital Advisers

Get switched on before the big switch-off

Prepare your business for new ways of working and get ahead of the PSTN switch-off.

Free one-to-one support

Available Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm, our friendly team are here to provide guidance and support on the topics that matter to your business.

0808 005 7400

Content made available to you on this website is for general information purposes. Independent advice should be obtained for your needs. Read full disclaimer

Call me back