Is your business preparing for the biggest change in the history of UK telecoms?
Many UK businesses are unaware that BT Openreach have now set a date for switching off the existing UK telephone network and moving all customers over to fully digital Voice over IP (VoIP) service. The process will begin in 2022 and the final switch-off will be in 2025 which may seem a long way off but with well over 15 million lines needing to be moved to a replacement service it really isn't and with this in mind it makes sense to begin making preparations to future proof your telecoms services as far in advance as possible. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the switch off and brief, factual answers.
What does this mean for my business?
From 2022 BT Openreach will begin the process of switching off the traditional telephone network and in 2025 the telephone network as we know it will be finally switched off meaning that every telephone user in the UK will be required to move to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) based telephone service before the final switch off date.
Is VoIP reliable and what are the pros and cons?
VoIP is extremely reliable and improvements in technology in recent years means that there really are no downsides in moving to VoIP in fact quite the opposite. VoIP based systems provide a vast range of features and facilities that are not available on traditional telephone systems, provide substantial cost savings and business efficiencies and have in built support for home working and disaster recovery.
What is a VoIP telephony service?
In simple terms VoIP uses the internet to carry telephone calls rather than traditional copperwires, for an explanation of how VoIP telephony works please visit: www.vocaltel.co.uk/faqs/voip
Can I keep my existing non-VoIP telephone system?
In some cases yes, VoIP to analogue adapters can be provided but in almost all cases the benefits and cost savings of moving to a fully VoIP system far outweigh any benefits of continuing to use a legacy system.
Do I have to act now?
You do not need to act immediately but with over 15 million lines needing to be moved to VoIP before the switch off it would be wise to make arrangements as far in advance as possible.
Will there be any changes to my numbers or network services?
No, all of your numbers will remain the same and all current network services can be provided over VoIP.
Can I move to VoIP telephony now and is it easy?
Yes, VoIP is currently available to any business that has access to broadband internet and the migration is quick and easy.
Why has this not been widely publicised?
BT Openreach are trying to manage the process in the best possible way and the initial steps have been to inform industry bodies and service providers so as not to cause a huge amount of uncertainty amongst end users.
Is there an additional cost in moving to VoIP?
In most cases no, in fact quite the opposite as VoIP services and systems are usually cheaper and much more cost effective than traditional telephony services.
I am currently in a long term contact with my current supplier, what can I do?
In most cases your contract will probably end before the switch-off date and you will have time to make preparations, however please feel free to contact us at any time to discuss your options and what you can do if your contract end date is after 2025.
Is this just scaremongering to make us buy a new system from you?
No, firstly this is published BT Openreach policy and secondly all of our advice is free, completely impartial and carries no obligation to use our services.
What if I wait and see?
Your current service provider should, in time, contact you regarding the switch-off however they may decide to wait some time before making contact which will considerably narrow your range of options in terms of assessing the best solution for your business. BT Openreach are giving reasonable notice of the switch-off and as such we recommend that you take advantage of this and explore all options available to you.
This is entirely your decision, you can continue to use your existing services and systems until you are notified by your current service provider that things are changing but if you wish to begin making advance preparations for the switch-off and would like straightforward, impartial advice at no cost feel free to contact us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 335 1385