Switch off

When is it happening and what does it mean ?

Many businesses are unaware that BT Openreach have now officially announced that the existing UK telephone network will be switched off in 2025; This date may seem a long way off but given that well over 15 million lines will need to be moved to a replacement service by this time it really isn’t meaning that preparations to secure your telecoms services should to be made as far in advance as possible.

From 2022 BT Openreach will no longer accept orders for new copper lines and in 2025 all traditional telephony services will be finally switched off. As part of the switch off process customers will be need to move their existing telephony services away from traditional copper lines and onto an Internet based telephony service before the switch off date.

What does this mean for UK businesses?

It means that users will need to move from standard telephony services to some form of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol ) based telephony service by 2025.

What will happen to my existing lines and numbers ?

The existing telephone service on your lines will be switched off and the copper wires that currently carry these lines will be used only to bring a broadband connection into your premises. By the time of the switch-off businesses will need to have a VoIP phone system capable of connecting to a broadband service and move their existing telephone service to a VoIP service provider, any incoming numbers will need to be moved to this new VoIP provider.

What is a VoIP telephony service?

For a simple explanation of what VoIP telephony is please visit https://www.vocaltel.co.uk/faq...

Do I have to act now?

Given that well over 15 million lines are going to need to be switched over to VoIP in a relatively short space of time it would be wise to make the change to VoIP services as soon as possible so that everything is in place to ensure that your business is not affected by the switch off but in short no, you do not have to act immediately.

Can I move to VoIP telephony now and is it easy?

Yes, VoIP is currently available to any business that has access to broadband internet and the migration is quick and easy.

Is VoIP reliable and what are the pros and cons?

VoIP is extremely reliable and improvements in technology in recent years means there really are no downsides to moving to VoIP, in fact quite the opposite as VoIP services can allow your business to support mobile extensions anywhere that a mobile data service is available, link multiple office locations free of charge, provide disaster recovery solutions and give much lower call costs as well as VoIP PBX systems being much cheaper and having a huge range of standard features.

Can I keep my existing non-VoIP telephone system?

In some cases yes, VoIP to analogue adapters can be provided but in almost all cases the benefits and cost savings of moving to a fully VoIP system far outweigh any benefits of continuing to use a legacy system.

Is there an additional cost in moving to VoIP?

In most cases no, quite the opposite as VoIP services can be up to 60% cheaper than traditional telephony services.

Why has this not been widely publicised?

BT Openreach are trying to manage the process in the best possible way and the initial steps have been to inform industry bodies and service providers so as not to cause a huge amount of uncertainty amongst end users.

What now?

This is entirely your decision, you can continue to use your current systems until you are notified by BT or your service provider that things are changing but if you want to make your own advance preparations for the switch off please contact us at https://www.vocaltel.co.uk/con... or call 01375 820090 and we will be happy to give expert impartial advice on what changes you will need to make and what options are available to you.

What if I do nothing?

Your current service provider will, in time, contact you regarding the switch off so you will not lose any services however some providers may decide to wait some time before taking action which would greatly narrow your options in terms of assessing the best solution for your needs. BT Openreach are giving reasonable notice of the change and as such we would recommend that you take advantage of this and explore all of the available options.

I am tied into a fixed term contract with my current provider and cannot move, what can I do?

Most fixed term contracts will end well before the switch off date so there is no need to worry as there will be plenty of time to look at all of the options available however please be aware that your current provider may use the switch off as a reason to pressure you into signing up for a new long term contract with them when in fact you should use it as an opportunity to look at other available options.