Preparing for the PSTN Switch Off | Evolve

PSTN Switch off
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Lancashire, UK – 2024

OpenReach Infrastructure 

In September 2023, Openreach introduced a ‘Stop-Sell’ on all WLR products; meaning traditional forms of communication could no longer be purchased. Traditional lines refer to the physical copper product laid in the ground by Openreach.  

To break this down further, ADSL (Broadband) sits on layer 2 of the network Lanscape; it is layer 1, the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) line, that is being switched off. 

In December 2025, Openreach will be switching off the PSTN line. There are currently just under 9 million lines over the Openreach network left to convert to digital alternatives; however, Openreach is currently converting around 80,000 legacy lines to digital alternatives per week.  Evolve feels there is little need to panic or remodel your whole network infrastructure. This paper will outline the different options available to your business at a relative cost and outcome.

In essence, you are not losing the broadband that connects you to your business, you’re losing the line that it sits on. Because of this, you’re losing the connection. 

All voice will be moved from the physical line in the ground to the internet; this is referred to as VoIP. VoIP stands for voice-over-internet protocol, and it is a technology that allows you to make phone calls over the internet rather than through a traditional landline phone system. VoIP services are cheaper than traditional landlines due to their low-cost structure and reliance on data transmission rather than calls being made directly between two parties on either end of a line. 

VoIP offers significantly more flexibility as well as increased security. Traditional landlines can be very expensive, as well as incur a high cost to maintain and install

How does the move to full fibre support this? 

There are many reasons why full fibre is more beneficial to the user than traditional networks. For example, full fibre is significantly more reliable than standard copper or partial fibre broadband like FTTC due to it being less prone to interference, damage, or loss of signal over long distances while also improving the voice quality.

Evolve’s Network Operations Centre further underpins the reliability of full fibre connectivity through their 24 x 7 x 365 support desk, offering pro-active monitoring and resolution. 

It is also one of the best options moving forward due to its scalability to increase bandwidth at pace. With full-fibre internet that is future-proof, it is ready to meet growing demand for faster and better broadband services that require high speed and lower latency. Furthermore, full fibre has a longer lifespan than copper wires. Evolve specialises in speed of deployment; within our warehouse, we conduct the whole operation in-house, from staging to configuration and testing. 

How is the full fibre roll out progressing? 

Openreach ‘stop-sell’ exchange roll-out refers to the discontinuation of sales and installations of analogue phone systems, and all telephone products that rely on the old, copper PSTN or ISDN phone lines.  Evolve can provide site-by-site visibility of when existing connections are impacted, helping you strategically plan the move. 

The role of alternative network providers to that of Openreach, including ITS, CityFibre, Ms3, CommunityFibre, G-Networks, and Freedom Fibre, means that Evolve is not solely reliant on OpenReach for full fibre connectivity in more remote or difficult locations.  

What happens if full fibre is not available?  

FTTP accessibility for businesses is growing exponentially, and through Evolve’s portfolio of full-fibre partnerships, we endeavour to provide full-fibre connectivity to support additional services requiring better stability and bandwidth, such as the move to VoIP. The PSTN Switch Off and the move to full fibre are separate operations; however, the two things cross over due to the conversion from PSTN to digital alternatives. Currently (January 2024), Open Reach is converting over 80,000 legacy lines per week to digital alternatives.  

In the event that it is not available or not in your budget, however, there are currently several other options: 

SoADSL & SoGEA 

SoADSL (Single Order Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) and SoGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access) are single-line offerings, meaning there is no need for a PSTN line. The next level of data connectivity, offered by SoGEA, eliminates the need for any traditional voice services over the phone. This guarantees that you are prepared for “The Big Switch Off” in 2025 and that you have a pure data connection devoid of PSTN services. 

SoGEA is a direct replacement for FTTC; currently, there are over 28 million (FTTC enabled) premises and growing. There is no traditional line underneath, but you are still able to use the same service.  

SoADSL is only available where SoGEA or FTTP are not available. The goal of all-IP is to close the legacy network components, not necessarily all the copper; copper will not be removed until 2027. The all-IP variant of copper-to-copper broadband, for instance, is called SoADSL. By the time that the copper is removed in 2027, it is likely that full fibre will be available in your area. 

MPF 

MPF (Metalic Path Facilities) is a short-term fix, MPF does not have a switch off until approximately 2030. MPF based products of FTTC, you don’t have the physical line underneath, but you will still have access, and you will also be able to get FTTP by the end of its life. 

In conclusion, we understand that traditional PSTN is being switched off, however, there are a variety of digital alternatives available, including short-term solutions that will last a further 5 years. There are several like-for-like solutions that mean you will not pay more for the service. If full fibre is not yet available in your area, there is no reason to panic and implement a leased line. Contact Evolve about what other cost-effective methods of connectivity are available. 

Evolve, in collaboration with their extensive carrier partner profile, can help speed up the process of switching to full fibre as well as offer a bespoke consultation to find you and your business the best option available.  

End

About Evolve Business Group and Evolve

Evolve Business Group is an independently owned company that specialises in providing end-to-end IT and managed network solutions to a range of businesses. Evolve is helping businesses to reduce costs and simplify the management of services and give business owners and their teams more time to do what they do best.

Founded in 2005, it has worked with a variety of customers across different industries around the world, building a team of highly experienced specialists to help create effective and efficient packages using any combination of different offerings. It keeps a range of cross-sector networks protected and connected.

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