pstn switch off

Openreach Consults with Providers on PSTN Switch-off

Openreach, the functional department of BT which manages infrastructure, has commenced talks on the mammoth task of switching 16 million UK landlines by the year 2025. This step is part of the long-term plan to move telephony from the traditional PSTN network to the internet based platform of which VoIP is part. As a part of this change, Openreach will gradually terminate its WLR – or Wholesale Line Rental – offerings. These rely on the PSTN network but as customers switch to VoIP, they will no longer be necessary.

A century of telephone services

Commenting on the plan, an Openreach spokesperson said that the PSTN network was a combination of different networks that were associated with the development of the GPO – or General Post Office – telephone network, that dates back to the 19th century. However most of the equipment in use these days only goes back a few decades, the oldest probably being relics of the 1980s.

The change to VoIP, or a network based around fibre transmission, is a major shake-up for the industry and for communication providers, or CPs. More than 15 million users will be required to take up an alternative provider by the time the PSTN network is shut down. This may also mean that business or residential users will have to upgrade the equipment that they are using to be able to connect to a VoIP platform or whatever communication alternative they choose.

The aim is to transfer as many users a possible to a fibre based solution. Of course, this may not be possible for everyone and there could be a gap where some customers cannot access fibre services. However, Openreach is already planning to move 3 million users to a full fibre service by 2020 and another 10 million users will be moved to Copper G Fast Product or ultrafast hybrid fibre services in this time frame. These fibre services will be compatible with the replacement for PSTN.

For those customers who cannot access a fibre service, there will be a copper alternative which will be compatible with VoIP. While moving all these customers from the PSTN network is a huge challenge, Openreach has allowed plenty of time to achieve this goal with minimal disruption.

Benefits of an international VoIP wholesale provider

The end result should be worthwhile as VoIP is an extremely flexible platform for communications that can be easily integrated with other software and applications. One of its major attractions for businesses is the lower costs associated with using it, especially if frequently calling abroad.

Termination rates can, of course, increase costs, especially in developing nations, however, a mature provider such as IDT, with a substantial global network and competitive rates, can assemble packages that offer strong value to business clients.

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