The PTSN Switchover – How Will It Impact Your Commercial Premises?
March 16th, 2023
Last updated: April 26th, 2023
We have relied on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) for decades, in fact, the technology used dates back to the 19th century! The telephone exchange has allowed us to communicate for all of our lives, and though it is still used today, it has been superseded by newer technologies.
There is a switchover coming, and telephone lines that are fixed-line and not capable of VoIP will no longer be supported from 2025. This is about far more than making phone calls, though, a huge number of other services including alarms, gates, and more, have been designed and installed using the PSTN lines and other telephone services such as Integrated Services Digital Network (IDSN) lines and Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) lines. When these are no longer supported in 2025, those businesses who aren’t prepared are going to be disrupted.
The time to get ready for these changes is now. There is a “stop sell” planned for 2023, when companies will no longer be able to sell technology that relies on this technology, and in 2025 the support for analogue lines will stop. Voice-based services are generally likely to be replaced by VoIP technology.
Everything relying on the phone line will be impacted so including emergency alarms in lifts, burglar alarms, some information displays, entry systems, CCTV systems and many older payment terminals. These will all stop functioning when PSTN lines are no longer used.
Thousands of Lift Services To Be Impacted
Since 1999, every single lift installed in the UK has been legally mandated to have an emergency alarm. This means that in the event of an emergency a button can be pressed to dial a rescue service. The hardware has historically used Openreach sockets and this means that if it is using an analogue phone line it will need to change by 2025.
The auto-diallers within the lift systems may also have been converted to VoIP, but without a PSTN line even these could fail due to the lack of dial tone. The next time you are getting your lift serviced, it is a good idea to check what technology your system is using.
Many communications providers offer analogue converter sockets, but these do not always offer failsafe operation if there is a power outage. As you can see there is no single solution. but it is vital that you keep your lift functional and operational so that your building will be compliant with regulations.
VoIP is not the only option, as cellular telephony technology can potentially be retrofitted to your lift. If you find that your lift communication system needs repair then you should consider a more modern solution such as cellular phone modules. These also need battery packs, so that if there is a power cut it keeps working. Also, it will use a SIM like your mobile phone, and this means you need to ensure strong signal strength so that the phone is always usable.
What Else Will Change During the Switchover?
We’ve established that your lift will need to be evaluated to ensure that they are compliant, but what other aspects of your building could potentially change?
Well, it may not be a huge shock to you to learn that fax machines will be even more redundant than they currently are, but there will be other considerations, too.
Any alarm system that uses a phone line to dial will need to change. Again, your choices are a mobile SIM card or a VoIP connection, but traditional phone lines will no longer be a solution for alarms and security systems. Your alarm system can be a matter of life or death, and you need to ensure that you have considered all legal implications. Make sure your alarm does not rely on an outdated system.
Credit Card Machines
Many credit card machines have switched to methods that no longer require a telephone line. If you are still using the “old-fashioned” method, consider a card machine that uses Wi-Fi for continued service during the switchover. As you may already know, there are plenty of methods of taking payments in this day and age, and they can even run via a mobile SIM.
Newer versions of broadband don’t use copper phone lines but plenty of “legacy” systems are still in operation. Ensure your connection is migrated to newer technologies such as SoGEA and SoTAP rather than using FITC and ADSL. Broadband providers can help with this switch, and all systems need to have moved over by 2025 to avoid immense disruption.
2025 might seem like it is a long way away, but the time to start making these changes is now, especially when you consider the fact that closer to the time, a huge number of businesses are going to be trying to clamour for the same services.
Our team of experts provide a range of Other Commercial Building Services including Fire, Security & Life Safety Systems and Electrical, Lifts and Access. We can help with your commercial premises and ensure that the PTSN switchover has a minimal impact on your business.