Are you aware of the UK’s approaching PSTN switch-off? Recent research suggests you might not be. In a survey reported by ISPreview in February, 24% of UK businesses admitted to not knowing about the plan for traditional copper-line phone services to be entirely phased out by December 2025.
This transition has been initiated by the BT-owned Openreach in order to ensure it can more strongly focus its financial resources on its modern, entirely IP-based network. So, how should UK businesses prepare?
Look at how you could streamline your infrastructure
If you run any UK-based business operations, now would be a good opportunity for you to look closely at the telecoms infrastructure they use. This is for two reasons above all: one, you need to know how much of it you can transfer to an IP-based format, and two, you could spot elements you no longer really need.
Aspects of your current telecoms setup you should assess include the amount of bandwidth it uses, every single telephone number configured with it and how unified the entire system is.
Start planning the migration process
Without a plan for this process, you could too easily find your company running into unexpected issues and failing to keep all of its teams aligned to the mission. Keep in mind that migrating all of your company’s infrastructure could take months, as ITProPortal warns.
As you plan, you should think about whether your company’s on-premise PBX hardware is compatible with SIP trunks and whether you should transfer your business straight to a cloud-based PBX system.
Find a suitable provider of IP-based telecoms systems
Which provider you should choose will depend on your specific needs. As you think carefully about different providers, you should take into account such factors as the call features and service delivery and uptime your business would need from whatever provider is eventually chosen.
It would bode well for you to choose a PSTN replacement supporting the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) standard, which allows both voice calls and data to be transmitted online.
Create a checklist for minimizing disruption
Naturally, while the migration itself is underway, you don’t want customers or clients to notice any fall in the usual quality of service they receive from you. Therefore, you should put together a checklist that would help your employees to work around various awkward implications of this transitional phase.
You should, for example, decide on your contingency plan for when the voice network goes down, and figure out how to make it easy for members of your staff to work from home.
Assess the success of your migration
You could do this at various stages during the migration – such as by collecting feedback from customers via regular surveys. After all, you want to discern how the new technology your business is taking up in preparation for the PSTN switch-off is affecting the customer experience.
If a certain solution you have chosen doesn’t seem to work, you could then look for an alternative that nonetheless remains reassuringly future-proof.