In November 2017, BT announced that BT Openreach will end all telephone communications that operate by copper-based networks by turning off the PSTN (Public Services Telephone Network) and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) by December 2025.
So, what is the PSTN and ISDN switch-off, and how will it affect schools?
The switch-off refers to discontinuing traditional analogue phone lines and migrating to digital voice services over IP-based networks. This means that the traditional copper-based phone lines used by schools and other institutions will no longer be available, and schools will need to adopt alternative communication methods.
Schools need to plan and prepare for the switch-off. The first step in preparing for the switch-off is understanding how it will impact your school’s phone system. Many schools have been using lines to provide telephone services, such as landlines and fax machines, making them vulnerable when the switch-off occurs.
Once you clearly understand how your school’s current phone system operates, assessing the potential risks associated with the switch-off is essential. For example, the switch-off could disrupt essential communication services such as emergency lines and alarm systems. It is also important to consider how staff may be affected by the switch-off regarding contact ability and communication with parents and other stakeholders.
To ensure that your school is prepared for the switch-off, it is important to consider what alternative solutions are available. Many schools are now upgrading to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to maintain telephone services. VoIP is a reliable and cost-effective solution for schools; however, it does require specific technical proficiency to install, manage and maintain. It is also important to consider the security measures necessary to protect information transmitted over the internet.
Therefore, when preparing for the switch-off, schools need to plan ahead and assess the potential risks and implications associated with the switch-off. Understanding how it will impact your current phone system, assessing potential risks and researching alternative solutions are all key steps in preparing for the switch-off. In addition, as technology develops and advances, schools should remain aware of new developments as they may provide further opportunities to ensure communication services are not disrupted.
By planning and preparing for the switch-off, schools can ensure that their telephone services remain reliable and effective in the future. These steps will help safeguard your school’s communication services while ensuring they remain up-to-date with modern technology. With the right preparation, schools can be ready for the switch-off and make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible.