The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) switch off deadline has been extended to January 31, 2027. This gives providers more time to address digital switchover challenges, such as safety concerns for vulnerable customers. 

 On May 17, 2024, BT Group confirmed that the PSTN switch off would be pushed back from its original date of December 31, 2025. This comes after speculation that the deadline could be delayed by up to two years for vulnerable customers, with the Financial Times recently revealing that two people died in the weeks after their telecare devices failed. These devices, which are used by 1.8 million Brits to alert emergency services and relatives of falls or accidents, did not function correctly after the installation of digital landlines.

However, the new deadline to ditch analogue phonelines doesn’t mean that businesses should deprioritise their digital switchover, as leaving it too long means your company risks being left without a functioning phone system.


Dangers of delaying

Openreach has now stopped the sale of copper-based telephony and broadband products such as ADSL connectivity to over 880,000 premises across the UK. Further stop sells will be triggered in exchanges where over three quarters of premises can access full fibre, with over 700 exchanges expected to be affected by the summer. The full fibre rollout is picking up pace, so even if PSTN products are still available in your area, it’s better to upgrade your business comms setup now in advance of potential changes.

The sales slowdown means the production of replacement parts for many PSTN-based services has ceased, making it difficult to carry out essential repairs in the case of damaged or broken equipment. Consequently, analogue phonelines are becoming less reliable, with Ofcom data showing a 60 per cent increase in lost service hours in 2023.

Therefore, delaying the switch to digital means your company will likely face difficulties not only with internal communication but also when dealing with clients and new business prospects.


Benefits of switching now

In addition to limiting communication issues, switching early offers a host of other advantages.

Digital phonelines such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) help your business to be more flexible by supporting call forwarding to mobiles, facilitating more seamless remote working. VoIP solutions only require you to pay for the number of users you need, making them affordable and easily scalable during your company’s peak times or quieter periods.

Switching now also gives your business sufficient time to adapt your processes to the new communications set up. Being an early adopter ensures there is enough time to train staff on the new system, increasing their confidence and ability in handling calls.

Moreover, making the switch now gives you an advantage over your competitors. There are thousands of businesses that are yet to adopt digital PSTN alternatives, with Which? research showing three quarters of UK landline users still have a copper-based connection. Switching now leaves you with more time to find the right connectivity option for your budget and business needs.

As a PSTN switch off specialist, Crystaline offers independent advice on how to futureproof your business comms setup, allowing you to choose a telephony and broadband alternative that suits your company.

Despite the PSTN switch off being delayed until 2027, it’s important your business doesn’t delay switching to digital. Choosing a futureproofed PSTN alternative now not only helps you avoid a last-minute rush before the deadline, but also allows you to start reaping the benefits of digital connectivity straight away.