If you were not aware already, the PSTN is set to be switched off by BT OpenReach in 2025. For those who are still relying on PSTN services, this means that your phone may cease to function when the time comes. To ensure that everyone is prepared for the change, let us take a look at who will be affected by the PSTN switch off, and a few ways you can minimise the effects.
Who will be affected?
The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is the very cables that our telephones operate through. Though it once only carried analogue signals, the PSTN also has digital capacity, known as the integrated services digital network (ISDN). As both PSTN and ISDN operate through the copper wire network, users of both will be affected with the 2025 switch off.
This means that everyone who regularly uses a landline phone will be affected by the switch off. No matter whether you are a residential homeowner or work in an office, it is likely that your communications will be affected when the PSTN is switched off.
However, the degree to which you might be affected largely depends on age. People who rely on smartphones are typically younger and more tech savvy, allowing them to more quickly adapt to the new way of calling. On the other hand, the elderly populus are more likely to rely on landlines, sparking the worry that our older generations may be adversely impacted.
How to minimise the effects of the PSTN switch off?
- Invest in a PSTN replacement
When the PSTN is switched off, you will no longer be able to make any calls through your traditional landline. So that you aren’t left stranded without any telephony capabilities, it is a good idea to invest in a PSTN replacement such as VoIP as soon as possible. This way, when the time comes for the PSTN to become obsolete, this will not affect your ability to use your phone at all.
- Embrace the opportunity for change
Change can be a scary prospect for a lot of people, but it doesn’t always have to be! Think of it as an opportunity for you to see what is and isn’t working with your current communications systems. This way you will be able to use the opportunity to make your telephone better and more efficient.
- Consider new hardware
Whilst you are looking into new software to host your telephony, you might also like to consider new hardware. VoIP can be used over your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop, whilst still appearing to others as a traditional landline. If swapping to VoIP is too much too soon, you might instead consider investing in a new phone handset that supports both PSTN and VoIP services, so you can simply switch over when the time is right.
- Educate yourself
It is clear that the people who are most likely to be affected by the switch off are the elderly, and those who are not as well versed in technology. However, if you feel that this is you, there is no need to worry! The switch off is a few years away yet, giving you plenty of time to educate yourself in the new kinds of technology and telecommunications that are available to you.