The PSTN/ISDN switch-off is coming and will have a major impact on businesses all over the UK. That was the message from a panel of industry experts on a recent webinar hosted by satellite-enabled communications company Krucial.
“The PSTN switch-off: don’t get cut off” brought together connectivity experts Krucial, telecommunications consultancy Intelligens Consulting and Openreach to discuss the key considerations businesses need to be aware of in the lead up to the switch-off, and the most resilient alternative solutions on offer.
From 31 December 2025, all PSTN and ISDN telephone lines – in use for around 40 years – will be switched off, meaning phone sockets will stop working and only master sockets will be retained, and only to provide broadband.
John Livermore, ALL IP Industry Engagement Manager at Openreach, pointed out that for thousands of businesses, local authorities and critical industries (including blue light services), this means a migration must take place to a new alternative solution. While voice calls will take place over VoIP through the router, other services including alarms and telemetry will also need to connect to a router – and in the event of a power outage will rely on the router being powered, which will be the responsibility of the customer.
He called on organisations to undertake a full audit of their estate and fully understand the current setup, including making sure they know how they will be contacted by suppliers (what department will the letter go to and who will action it). Iqbal Bedi, CEO and Consulting Director at Intelligens Consulting, reinforced this call, noting that a full audit is a must as the switch-off looms.
Iqbal also pointed out that although fibre is seen as the preferred replacement, it won’t reach millions of premises for years after the switch-off – and recommended that organisations consider alternative solutions such as satellite, especially where fibre or 4g is patchy or non-existent.
Iqbal detailed the use case of a critical national infrastructure transport operator with more than 3,500 PSTN/ISDN circuits found following an audit. Due to decades of growth and amalgamations, there were numerous contracts and processes at play which meant transition could be complex. Iqbal’s advice is to audit, understand contracts and when they’re due, get committed capital for technology transition from the board, look at reusing existing assets, and future proof contracts. The process can take up to 18 months – so start now.
The conversation moved to a potential alternative to PSTN/ISDN, and Kevin Quillien, Co-founder and CTO of Krucial, explained that the switch off might require a suite of digital replacements to cover data and voice – and noted that hybridisation is the best way to make that happen.
Using satellite covers all areas, regardless of terrestrial infrastructure, and so data can be moved from anywhere, any time – even in extreme weather conditions. Power outages which could knock connectivity can also be mitigated with the Krucial CONNECT solution which has battery backup for maximum resiliency.
Kevin noted that it’s estimated the full fibre ISP network rollout will reach fewer than 50% of premises as it is often built around populated areas – leaving some businesses without reliable connectivity. He argued that satellite needs to be part of any new solution due to its global nature – and pointed out that Krucial can stitch together both satellite and cellular backhauls for a near-failsafe solution.