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And it’s good night from Beattie

A couple of months ago, I wrote this blog about the demise of the PSTN. I wrote that people have been forecasting such an event for many years now; well over a decade.

That post was prompted by lots of pertinent news activity in Europe over the last 12 months or so. The newswires reported several telecom operators, including Deutsche Telekom, announcing their intention to terminate ISDN access.

This post was prompted by BT’s announcement of a firm date for switching off its ISDN service.

The essence of what BT has made public is that it intends to migrate all of its customers on to a single IP core network, replacing all legacy networks and platforms, by 2025. By then, BT envisages all of its voice customers will be served using VoIP.

So it looks like the death knell of the legacy PSTN has been well and truly sounded, or the end of the world as we know it. I wouldn't give the seers too much credit though. They got it right, but never predicted the timeframe with any degree of accuracy.

Okay, you might argue about the death throes, given that BT has provided 10 years notice. However, in order to achieve its goal, BT will have to begin the process of migrating all of its customers off the ISDN network sooner than you might think.

Expect end-of-life notices to be issued, service by service, city by city, region by region, starting soon. Which means businesses will need to revisit their telecoms strategy sooner rather than later.

As I’m sure BT is only too aware, the options are not restricted to its IP voice offerings. There are lots of alternatives from which to choose.

The options for businesses range from a forklift upgrade, replacing legacy systems with an all-IP solution, through to the installation of gateways between legacy PBX equipment and new SIP trunking services. Of these examples, the former is strategic and the latter purely tactical.

Other strategic options include considering cloud telephony APIs, which have lately achieved a new level of credibility (see recent post). Such platforms can be used to integrate voice, readily and in a fundamental way, with many business processes and applications.

Regardless of your market sector or focus – healthcare, education, public safety, finance, government – now is very much the time to think strategically about your next generation communications.

Whatever you do, make sure it’s not too late in the day.

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