The Copper PSTN / ISDN Switch Off: Explained

The PSTN / ISDN copper switch off may affect your organisation. If you don’t know what this is, please read these FAQs to get yourself up to speed. Also check out our dedicated page for more details and updates! In the meantime:

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What is this switch off?
Put simply, the UK’s old analogue copper telephone network (Public Switched Telephone Network) is being switched off. This network will be replaced by a fully digital network. This new digital network is already up and running, with many people enjoying a faster and more robust internet connection.

How will this impact my business?
Services and devices using the analogue PSTN / ISDN copper connectivity will be impacted. This includes telephones, broadband, EPoS devices, alarms, security and access systems, fax machines and CCTV.

When is the switch off happening?
The copper lines are being switched off from April 2025 and all services will be switched off by the end of 2025. We are receiving on average 22 calls a month from businesses that have started considering the transition.

That’s years away. Why are we talking about this now?
We suggest you start planning as soon as possible because there could be a lot to do. Waiting will likely get more expensive and you may find your organisation struggles to find a solution partner as we get nearer to the switch off. Also, organisations relying heavily on copper services may need time to identify appropriate replacement strategies, plan the transition, then migrate over to the new services. Remember, it’s not just about calls. You need to review everything you’re connecting to your phone lines, like door entry systems and alarms. Many businesses have already embraced an all-digital model, moving their communications to the cloud, making calls over the internet and embracing video conferencing.

I don’t use BT or Openreach – will this still affect me?
Yes – your connectivity provider likely uses the old infrastructure. BT’s announcement said: “We’re moving all our customers from the old copper ISDN telephone service to a new fully digital network.” And by all customers as their infrastructure provider, they mean you and the end customers, regardless of your telecoms.
(Source –, 2021)

Sounds a bit drastic. Why is this happening?
PSTN / ISDN copper has been the backbone of the UK’s phone network for decades. But, we’ve seen dramatic changes in technology over the past few years, especially recently. It’s all around us: smartphones, apps, the cloud, Zoom, Internet of Things, and so on.

I use a phone line that comes with broadband, is that affected?
Yes – As the phone line still counts as a PSTN copper line, so will need to be changed to a digital service. Your broadband will also need to be upgraded to one of the latest products, as those associated with PSTN lines will be decommissioned.

So IP (Internet Protocol) is better than PSTN?
Yes – As an essentially 20th-century technology, the PSTN / ISDN copper network is increasingly out of kilter with the demands of modern communications. As people switch to mobile and internet communications, everyone demands much more than traditional technologies were designed to deliver. This is why we’re switching to IP.

Should I get a replacement service from my PSTN / ISDN copper line provider?
You could do but if you’re reading this, they may not have been keeping you updated on this major milestone and helping you plan for it through a migration strategy.

What do I look for in a supplier to replace these lines and services?
It is important to work with a supplier experienced in digital connectivity and cloud such as Spire. We specialise in providing organisations with the latest in internet connectivity and can also provide you with top of the range VoIP phone system that will help to make your migration even easier.

Can Spire help?
Yes, we can! Give us a call or an email and one of our team will work with you to provide your organisation with a package that fulfils your requirements.

Call us on 0330 205 0250 or
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