When does ISDN finish?

25th August 2018

In 2015, BT revealed its intention to shut down its ISDN network by 2025. The company’s PSTN network is scheduled to go by this time, too – and, for these reasons, companies still using either of these networks for their phone systems are being urged to switch to more modern solutions.

However, a closer look at the facts suggests that the selection of 2025 as the cut-off year for ISDN could yet be in flux. This doesn’t take away from your business’ need to explore moving away from an increasingly outdated phone system, but exactly when does ISDN finish? Can we discern this?

VOIP To replace ISDN and PSTN

The rationale behind ISDN’s extinction

BT’s decision to announce its upcoming ISDN switch off, regardless of when exactly it will occur, is sensible. After all, many businesses have rapidly embraced the IP protocol for their telecommunications systems – and these have many advantages over the legacy networks.

Even the mere branding of the older systems as “legacy” can be beneficial through discouraging new businesses – or companies set to renew an existing telephone system – from even choosing between a PTSN and ISDN network. For these companies, an IP-based solution is better for the long term.

BT itself stands to financially benefit from discarding its PTSN and ISDNnetworks, as these are very expensive for the company to keep maintaining. BT can narrow down its maintenance focus to a single IP network if it converges all services – voice, video and data included – to the IP protocol.

Why BT might still drag its feet

Despite BT having specified a year for ISDN’s end, ComputerWeekly.comsays that “the date is not set in stone”. BT has simply pencilled in a gradual phasing-out of its PTSN and ISDN services.

These services will be removed from BT’s menu for new customers by 2020. However, the networks will still operate after this point, as BT has set 2025 as the deadline for these to go. Even as 2025 creeps nearer, BT could opt to extend this deadline – for these credible reasons…

One is that, for many companies’ internet connectivity needs, ISDN still provides the best fit. Furthermore, the UK still has 33.2 million fixed landlines, according to Elite Business Magazine. BT will have to know what to do about these before proceeding with shutting down ISDN.

Another necessity will be that of fibre being rolled out right across the UK and so strengthening the country’s internet connectivity enough to make IP-based services viable for all BT corporate customers. ISDN could receive a stay of execution if BT fails to get all of these boxes ticked by 2025.

Why ISDN might start disintegrating even before 2025

As BT is still drawing attention away from ISDN, this platform will likely receive less investment as time passes, ITProPortal cautions. As a result, if your company continues to use this network over the next few years, its phone system could be hampered in reliability.

If you do notice this ISDN telephone system faltering more frequently than before, quality declines in a financially-strangled network and support infrastructure could be to blame. Therefore, it is in your company’s interest to discard its reliance on ISDN sooner rather than later.

You can start benefitting from IP telephony surprisingly quickly

To preserve business continuity, it would be advantageous to have your business entirely transferred to an IP-based network well before 2025. Fortunately, putting this transition into action doesn’t have to be nearly as taxing as you might be dreading.

While continuing with usage of an ISDN phone line could also leave you with the costly “line rental” to which your company might have become accustomed, it’s a different matter with VoIP. This example IP service relies on the internet for the digital transmission of voice and other services.

As a result, VoIP can afford your business much greater flexibility with its phone system. If you want to add new lines, you can do so much more speedily – and, as VoIP requires fewer physical lines than PTSN and ISDN, your company could significantly lower its spending on line rental.

ISDN will be replaced by SIP trunks and your business needs to be ready; we can help you ensure that it is.