PSTN, ISDN2e, ISDN30e, IP and VoIP. What does it all mean and how will it affect your business if you don't plan for the big copper switch off? Don't panic! But do start to think about the evolution of fibre and the transition from copper services ...
In basic terms, ISDN2e is the current protocol, using the public copper network services that transmit a 'digital' signal to generate a dial tone and carry your phone number to and from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
"This old technology uses the ageing UK copper network!"
It requires vast amounts of power and equipment to serve each customer. If you have 3 lots of ISDN2e (six channels), this is delivered to you using three pairs of copper wire, with each pair connected to a 90-volt current generator.
Ok, this does allow six simultaneous calls (incoming and outgoing) to and from your business at any one time, but the cost is around £75.00 to £125.00 plus call charges per month and the possible annual maintenance fees of a legacy phone system.
You may already have fibre broadband. This only uses one pair of copper wire from the 'green' street-side cabinet. Assuming there is fibre from the BT exchange to the cabinet, you've got what's called Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC).
Now, let's assume you pay £45.00 per month for this FTTC service. By switching to a VoIP system you'll immediately save £75.00 to £125.00 per month and keep the same business number by porting it to the cloud. If you still want six simultaneous calls, you add, on average, £10.00 per month for a user licence, so your total rental is approximately £105.00 per month and calls are included with some VoIP services.
Hopefully, this all makes sense. In short, broadband is forever improving and now we have companies such as City Fibre installing better value fibre to the premises (FTTP). BT is finally making plans to retire the ageing PSTN/ISDN network as more and more businesses switch to Internet Protocol (IP), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and SIP services (that's a whole blog all on its own!) then port their phone numbers to VoIP.
"So, what's the date for the final copper switch off, I hear you ask? Not long now folks: 2025!"
With so many people working from home, many companies have found it difficult to adapt to this new style of working. With legacy PSTN switchboards, it's nigh-on impossible to divert calls to employees homes, let alone switch numbers around as staffing levels need it.
This change is inevitable. Openreach, who is now a separate company within the BT Group, are solely responsible to build a new fibre infrastructure to replace the copper network due to consumers wanting faster and faster broadband.
They will no doubt want to keep to the schedule from now on.
Until next time ...
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