In 2025, BT will be switching off the UK's PSTN network. This means that everyone will need to make the switch to VoIP, or find that their phone line no longer works. If this is the first you're hearing of this, then don't panic. In this blog post, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about it, and the steps you need to take before the 2025 switchoff.

What is the BT 2025 Switchoff?

While they are no longer a public company, BT still maintain most of the UK’s landline network. Until fairly recently, this network ran solely on PSTN (or "public switch telephone network") technology, some of which has been in place since the late 1800s. More recently, with the advent of broadband internet, they introduced ISDN (or "integrated service digital network") lines.

At the time, this was a major step forward towards a digital phone network. However, technology has come on leaps and bounds since then. In an increasingly digital world, consumers are demanding more from their phone lines- and PSTN technology simply can't keep up. To bring landlines fully into the twenty-first century, all users will be switched to IP lines from 2025 onwards. From then on, BT will be switching off the ISDN and PSTN networks entirely- so if you are still using them, you'll need to make sure your system is brought up to date by then.

Isn’t this move a bit drastic?

While it may seem like a big step (and it is), the BT 2025 switchoff does make sense. If anything, the UK is actually far behind our European neighbours in this regard. Norway have already shut off their analogue lines, with Sweden and Germany not far behind. It's a global trend, too; Japan are also making the leap to an all-digital network in the near future.

While landline phones are becoming less of a household fixture in the UK, the same can't be said for Europe. That's because countries like Germany have been much quicker in moving to VoIP, which gives all the benefits of a traditional landline but with much cheaper calls. VoIP is also a much more flexible solution, with the option of making calls from the same number on any compatible device, and many more useful additional features for business users.

Switching to an all-digital also makes sense for BT as well. As the years go by, the cost of maintaining such an outdated system keep increasing. This is one of the reasons why landline costs have jumped in recent years, while mobile phone costs have fallen to almost nothing for calls and texts. With up-to-date technology, it will be much less expensive to manage the UK's phone network- meaning everyone will benefit from this switch.

What do I need to do to prepare?

At the moment, there's no rush to update your phone system. BT first announced the 2025 switchoff back in 2015, to make sure end users had plenty of time to prepare. If BT are your landline provider (and they remain the UK's most popular provider), then they will almost certainly get in touch with you nearer the time to help you move over to BT Cloud. Other providers will likely do the same, as they all offer some kind of VoIP package alongside their traditional landline service nowadays.

Of course, there's no harm in getting prepared ahead of time. As we mentioned earlier, VoIP is usually much cheaper than an analogue line, so you'll likely end up saving money by switching early. What's more, with the pressure off, you'll be free to look at all the different VoIP packages out there. It may well be the case that there's a better deal than the one you'll be offered by your current supplier!

For businesses, things may be a little more complicated. Two-thirds of larger UK businesses already use VoIP. If you are yet to make the switch, then it's probably best to do this as soon as possible. Again, by sorting things ahead of time, you'll be able to look at the plethora of VoIP business solutions on offer. Whether your business is large or small, you could be getting so much more out of your telecomms with VoIP- so it pays to get yourself ahead of the game.

Is there anything else I need to think about?

For most people, the switchoff will only affect their landline phone. However, there are some devices, such as older CCTV cameras, alarms, and door entry systems, which use a phone line. Naturally, these will need to be updated to digital technology, or they will no longer function.