What is the ISDN switch-off and is your business ready?

What is ISDN?

With ISDN switch-off happening, these inputs will be redundant

Before delving into what the ISDN switch-off is, it’s first important to understand what ISDN is. ISDN or Integrated Services Digital Network, is a circuit-switched telephone network system, allowing for the simultaneous transmission of both voice and data across digital lines.  

The technology which was first introduced in the late 1980s by BT was a solution to the then-current landline technology. At the time, ISDN was considered a huge gamechanger in the world of telecommunications, offering the fastest internet available at 128 kbps, whilst also supporting both video-conferencing and analogy phone lines.

The faster speeds meant data could be unpacked at a much faster rate, improving the overall experience for consumers, whilst also opening the doors to transform how businesses were able to now communicate internally and with customers.

So why is there an ISDN switch-off?

The short answer as to why the ISDN switch-off is taking place is simply the technology is out of date. Over the last 20 years, telecommunications technology has evolved rapidly. Traditionally, a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is the technology used to carry telecommunications data.

What is going to replace ISDN?

The ISDN switch-off will pave the way for VoIP

IP (Internet Protocol) technology, more specifically hosted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is set to replace ISDN. Unlike current technology which requires copper lines, VoIP simply only requires an internet connection.

There are a number of benefits to VoIP systems over ISDN and PSTN including:

  • It can be implemented into businesses much quicker
  • It can connect to multiple devices such as fax machines and credit card readers
  • It provides a higher data transfer rate
  • Hugely scalable and flexible e.g. easily transfer calls between offices and locations
  • It offers an abundance of further voice and video features

Should I be concerned about the ISDN switch-off?

The first thing to determine is whether your business still operates under an ISDN. Has your phone been installed more than three years ago? Do you have the ability to take more than one call at a time? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably using an ISDN line. 

Whilst Openreach has been providing details of the telecommunications switch for many years, multiple businesses have decided not to prioritise the ISDN switch as it was seen as too far in the future, or organisations didn’t know the consequences of not switching. 

BT stopped taking orders for ISDN at the backend of 2020, with the final switch-off of ISDN taking place sometime in 2025. Moreover, the first blackout of ISDN has been touted to take place in Sailsbury this year. This gives businesses very little time to prepare.

Whilst in the interim businesses will still be able to use their current ISDN services until the full switch in 2025, businesses will begin to notice limitations on what they can and can’t do. For example, organisations may find they cannot make changes to things such as changing numbers, adding more lines, or diverting calls. These are all features businesses will have taken for granted during lockdown.

What should you do?

It is strongly recommended you speak to an expert such as Claro Communications, who can give you all the available options for your business.

We can ensure that your whole team across all their locations and devices are integrated seamlessly together, offering one complete future-proof communications solution. Furthermore, being non-affiliated with any specific provider means we can truly provide you with the best solution to match your business needs.

So if you’re concerned about the ISDN switch-off, just need a no-hassle future-proof solution, or have any other telecommunications needs, why not take a look at our services page or give us a call on 01423 535 333.

What is the ISDN switch-off and is your business ready?


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