Transforming the conventional telecom technology, the UK telephone network is plans to switch to a digital route by the end of 2025. The long-standing analogue network will be given a makeover with digital service, which is expected to be superfast and highly convenient.
Revised and Revamped
Good news! The PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) will replace the traditional landline connection with a copper cable network in the UK and bring Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This revolutionary move is scheduled to be done by 31st December 2025.
BT’s Openreach runs PSTN and has been in use since 1876. The services include landline services, FTTC (Fiber-to-the-Cabinet) and ADSL broadband services through fibre optic cables. With this move, the standard telecom technology will upgrade to a digital VoIP mode, the most popular mode of internet connection often used in popular video call and messaging services like Skype and WhatsApp.
During this transition, the copper cable network will not be removed completely, and rather it will be used to carry digital signals. The services are applicable to everyone; hence, both individual and commercial customers are bound to switch from the conventional PSTN to the advanced VoIP network by the end of 2025.
To make this move successful, all the devices that run on the analogue network, like CCTV, fax machines, electronic POS tiles, automatic door entry systems, etc. Should move to an internet-based service.
Reason For Shift of Landline Connection
The main reason for this remarkable move is to embrace the technological advancements in the telecom industry. The age-old copper cables will be replaced with a faster and more reliable internet-based digital network.
BT Openreach is already doing a lot of work in the UK to put together an extensive fibre optic network in the country to cater to the growing demands of modern communication and technology. Some of the leading mobile network providers in the country have already shifted to a full fibre network.
According to Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report 2023, almost 75% of UK homes have gigabit-capable broadband and more than half of homes have easy access to fibre services.
Timeline of the Final Switch-Off
While countries like the Netherlands and Estonia have already undergone this switch and adopted fibre optic network, other countries, including the UK are catching up fast. The expected time to complete this UK switch-off from PSTNs to VoIP is 31st December 2025.
Homes and businesses need to upgrade as soon as possible; otherwise, all devices that use PSTN technology will no longer have any service. The whole movement started when Openreach announced the commencement of switching off PSTN in November 2017. After that, the switch takes place in different regions simultaneously.
The process will take place in two stages. In stage 1, the providers follow the ‘Stop Sell’ rule wherein they are expected to cease conventional lines. In stage 2, you need to upgrade the existing services. In the UK, stage 1 ’Stop Sell’ came to light in September 2023. After that, all the mobile network providers ceased the sale of copper wire landlines. The next phases are as follows-
Winter 2023: London and the Northwest
Spring 2024: Southeast, West Midlands, East Anglia, and Wales
Summer 2024: Northeast, Southwest, and Scotland
From 1st January 2026 onwards, all the calls will be connected through the internet. To make this revolutionary move successful, the customers will be contacted four weeks before the switching off in their region. If anyone misses doing it, they will temporarily lose the service.
Things to Remember While Switching from PSTN to VoIP
In the case of a landline phone, you might need an adaptor or have to replace the phone to transfer the connection from PSTN to VoIP. In some phone models, you can use a new socket or router to plug in your phone.
Those already using BT’s PSTN lines can easily switch to the digital version by plugging their phones at the back of the broadband hub. The best thing is that the customers don’t need to change their phone numbers. You can also give up your VoIP landline phone plan or simply have a broadband-only one.
For broadband, you must upgrade the usual FTTC or ADSL plan to a full-fibre one. You might require a fibre installation process wherein an engineer will visit your property and do the needful.
This expansion plan is spread across UK’s different regions, including the remote villages. Many providers, like Hyperoptic, Community Fiber, Virgin Media, etc., are already in the process of upgrading and shifting their clients to the internet.
If you use PSTN services on various devices like alarm systems, CCTV, and payment terminals, follow the digital route and make everything easier. You can contact your service provider to make this process easier.
People already using landline phones with PSTN need not pay for the VoIP services as there is no additional cost. However, in the case of a broadband plan, you need to pay a little extra cost if you have a basic ADSL connection. In return, customers can avail of free gifts, discounts, and more.
With VoIP networks, customers can experience seamless calls with multiple connections simultaneously. The last date to complete this switch is 31st December 2025.