10 questions people are asking about The Big Switch Off
With The Big Switch Off fast approaching, people naturally have questions and concerns ahead of the shutdown. The transition from conventional networks to digital technology is unavoidable in the fast-evolving world of telecommunications. In this blog, we address ten common questions people have about the Big PSTN Switch Off, shedding light on the topic and providing clarity.
1. What is The Big Switch Off?
The Big PSTN Switch Off refers to the phase-out of the traditional analogue lines telephone network within the UK, known as the PSTN. Telecommunication service providers are gradually replacing analogue telephone lines with digital and internet-based technologies, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and mobile networks.
2. Why is The Big Switch Off happening?
The primary reason behind The Big PSTN Switch Off is the requirement for more effective, affordable, and feature-rich communication technologies. Traditional landlines are getting older and older, and can't keep up with advances in digital technologies. Modernising networks paves the way for future developments and enables improved interaction with web-based services.
3. What are the benefits of switching?
The Big PSTN Switch Off brings several benefits. Some of these include cost savings for your business, better functionality, flexibility and scalability, as well as the possibility of being mobile-enabled. Digital networks offer improved call quality and reliability. The switch also enables enhanced mobility, allowing individuals to make and receive calls from various devices anywhere with an internet connection.
4. How should I prepare for The Big Switch Off?
To prepare for The Big Switch Off, you should plan to stay ahead. It is important to evaluate your options as soon as possible to ensure you consider the budget, required features, infrastructure needs, and employee training. You should also understand the timeline and plans to ensure that you don’t fall behind
5. What happens if I don’t switch?
By not switching you will be left disconnected from service, meaning you’ll be left without a working phone line; subsequently, you won’t be able to make or receive calls. There will also be limited support and maintenance and even if it does continue to function, you’ll experience low call quality, and service interruptions. Furthermore, in an emergency the emergency services won’t be able to reach you, or you to them.
6. How will The Big Switch Off affect me?
The Big PSTN Switch Off will have an impact on every company that currently uses ISDN in its operations, therefore every company must start planning for the shift by modernising its business telephone system. The switch-off may include upgrading hardware or changing current phone systems. It’s also important to note that traditional landline features and functions could change or stop being available.
7. Is VoIP more reliable?
Yes. VoIP will operate on fibre optics and be more dependable than PSTN once phased out. The PSTN currently relays data using outdated copper cable, which is prone to breakage and more likely to encounter poor connectivity. Although the traditional PSTN has a long-standing reputation for high reliability, VoIP's reliability has improved over time and will continue to do so.
8. What challenges may arise from The Big Switch Off?
The PSTN Switch Off may bring some challenges like compatibility issues, reliability concerns and user adoption. Overcoming them requires planning, communication, and collaboration. It is important to seek support when needed and ensure compatibility and reliability of alternative communication systems during and after the switch-off.
9. What are the next steps for The Big Switch Off?
As of September this year, providers will stop selling PSTN and ISDN products to businesses and homeowners. In December 2025, the PSTN will be completely phased out, leaving it no longer in use. And as of January 1st 2026, all home or phone calls will be hosted via the Internet.
10. How can I ease the transition to VoIP?
Aculab offers the leading ApplianX IP gateway which facilitates VoIP and TDM migration, extends user access to applications and builds upon existing enterprise infrastructure. Essentially, ApplianX bridges the gap between existing and new infrastructure, therefore allowing you to sweat out your assets for longer, and as a result, you’ll have cost savings for your business.
The Big PSTN Switch Off is a crucial turning point in the development of telecommunications. It brings about changes and challenges, but it also paves the way for more sophisticated and adaptable communication systems. By understanding the process and preparing ahead of time, businesses and individuals can smoothly adapt to VoIP and continue to enjoy reliable and innovative communication services.