First launched in 1986, the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) was a piece of revolutionary technology released into the market by BT, migrating outdated landlines to new digital technology with huge benefits.
For the first time, multiple callers could dial a number at the same time without receiving an engaged tone. By adding more ISDN lines, an organisation could increase its caller volume as much as it so wished. However, technology has now moved on and ISDN has had its heyday. There is now a much simpler, cheaper alternative, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) which uses cloud technologies to deliver telephone and multimedia sessions over the internet. VOIP has a simple set up, requires very little on site equipment and is much easier to maintain than a traditional telephone system with copper wiring. It offers more flexibility as you can easily add and remove users as you need, also the physical location doesn’t matter, anywhere you have an internet connection, you can have a number.
VOIP has been available for a number of years with many businesses already using the service with great success and due to this, BT Openreach announced in 2019 that it planned to switch off the old ISDN network in December 2025, phasing out the service over the next five years.
In replacement of the ISDN network, a single Internet Protocol solution will be rolled out, it’s called SoGEA and it’s a single line broadband. Households and businesses will be able to connect to broadband via one dedicated connection instead of piggybacking off the existing Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) phone line. Once the rollout is complete, VOIP will be the only way to make and receive phone calls as there will no longer be an ISDN network to use.
The ISDN phasing out plan is now under way and Salisbury is being used as the pilot site before the roll out continues throughout the UK. As of 1st December 2020, a ‘stop sell’ order was placed on ISDN in the city and existing services will be switched off and withdrawn from service by December 2022.
As ‘The Big Switch Off’ plan continues how can businesses prepare?
The first thing to do is review your current plan and find out when your current contract is set to expire. 2025 may seem a long way off, but rather than signing up to your traditional phone system for another year, why not start looking at alternative internet-based phone systems to get ahead of the curve.
Datasharp Integrated Communications is an award-winning local provider of unified communications and collaboration solutions, specialising in many areas including VOIP technology. Contact them to arrange a professional audit of your current communication systems and advice on how to best prepare for the ISDN switch-off.