Interpreting BT’s latest PSTN switch-off announcement

In November 2017, BT announced their intention to retire analogue telephone networks such as the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) by the end of 2025. On 20th May 2024, they released details of a “refined digital switchover programme,” causing confusion for the industry and business owners alike. So, what are the facts and what should you do?

The switch-off has already started 

While BT’s official press referenced a revised migration deadline of January 2027, they did not state that their exchange switch-off timeline has changed nor that the 2023 national stop-sell would be revoked. Put simply, this means that the deferred deadline is likely to only impact a small portion of customers; consumers deemed vulnerable or with additional needs, such as telecare users, who do not need to provision any additional services. Their press stated the following:

From Summer 2024, BT will ramp-up non-voluntary migrations for customers who do not identify as vulnerable or have additional needs.” 

It went on to say the below about businesses and their approach to the switch-off:

“The company is asking business customers, large and small to act now and move over to all-digital networks, to futureproof their operations and reap the rewards of being a digital business.” 

So, while the announcement has caused some organisations to believe that they have more time, the reality is that this is primarily a BT Consumer customer movement, so businesses should remain focused on transitioning sooner rather than later.

Understanding your requirements  

As referenced in our PSTN switch-off guide, it isn’t just your phone lines that will be affected by the switch-off. PSTN-based broadband services, CCTV circuits, alarm systems, lift circuits and other mission critical services will also be affected. The best way to understand your end-to-end requirements is to speak to an experienced provider of IP-based solutions, who can review your setup and design a seamless migration plan that keeps you up and running beyond the deadline. They will also be able to check when your local exchange is being switched off; as referenced above, while January 2027 is the new official end date, BT started switching off exchanges in March 2024. Their phased transition plan – which hasn’t been revised – states that they will continue to switch off exchanges before the deadline, so you might not have as much time as you think.

The opportunity 

While this may all sound doom and gloom, the reality is that this is a positive initiative. Digital phone lines guarantee much better-quality voice calls, and even the most basic VoIP phone systems offer far more features than traditional telephony. The opportunity to effortlessly improve the service you offer is real, and being the last to act will only set you back against your competitors.

Can I keep my existing business phone number?  

Transitioning does not mean losing vital assets such as your business phone number. This blog explains the steps to follow to migrate successfully and take your numbers with you.

We’re here to help 

Don’t worry about what the PSTN switch-off means for your business. Speak to us today for a no-obligation consultation and begin your journey towards better communications.

More articles

Wave earns ‘PC Pro Recommendation’ for third year running

Wave earns ‘PC Pro Recommendation’ for third year running

We are delighted to announce that our very own, cloud-based phone system, Wave has earned PC Pro Recommended status for the third consecutive year. As part of PC Pro Magazine issue 357, which included a report marking the best business VoIP phone systems, Wave stands...

How To Keep Your Business Phone Number After The PSTN Switch-Off

How To Keep Your Business Phone Number After The PSTN Switch-Off

Do you recognise “Got your number, 118 118” or “0800 00 1066”? Does reading the numbers here in that order create a sense of nostalgia and mean you can easily call back to the advert you saw them on and remember the related business? Your business phone numbers...