There are less than three years to go before the PSTN switch off, and all businesses must prepare now to ensure minimal disruption. But with one in four businesses unaware of what the switch-off entails, how can they get ready for the change?

1.     Understand

All premises that rely on a landline connection must switch to a digital replacement before December 2025. That includes properties that use the PSTN and the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).

You can check whether your phoneline relies on the PSTN by identifying the cord it’s connected to. Traditional cords indicate a PSTN connection, whereas ethernet cords suggest you’re already operating on a digital line.

2.     Check your connection

If you’re upgrading, you’ll need an internet connection that supports digital services. A connection with low latency and high bandwidth is ideal, which can be achieved by opting for a fibre connection straight to your doorstep with Fibre to the Premises (FTTP).

3.     Review hardware

Some digital solutions can be integrated with existing hardware, reducing the cost of a switchover. However, switching can provide the ideal opportunity to review how well your existing hardware is working for your employees. Since hybrid working has become the norm, it might be that hardware purchased pre-pandemic isn’t really fit for the current working culture.

4.     It’s not just phones

Is anything else using your PSTN line that you weren’t aware of? Common culprits include alarms, door entry systems and payment terminals. These are vital to a business’s daily running, so taking the time to identify and list them all is key in ensuring a smooth switchover.

5.     A team effort

New setups can be daunting for employees. To make the transition as smooth as possible, ensure that your staff are involved with the process at every step.

Giving them the opportunity to ask questions and understand the new solution means that when it lands on their desks, they’ll be able to pick it up easily, minimising frustration and preventing an impact on productivity.

6.     Review your options

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the digital replacement of the landline. VoIP systems can be accessed through the internet via multiple devices. This means employees aren’t tethered to their desks or a single machine, and offers them the opportunity to work far more flexibly.

And you don’t need to lose your existing phone numbers if you’re switching from a landline. All your numbers can be imported into a VoIP system, so you and your customers don’t need to memorise any new numbers.