Significant number of SMEs unaware of looming ISDN switch-off

The 2025 ISDN switch-off is moving closer and as local exchanges are marked out for transition, Spitfire Network Services has exposed high levels of ignorance about the changes

Given what the world has been through in the past year, it is understandable that for many customers, the idea of getting ready for the ISDN switch-off in 2025 might have slipped their mind.

But with life getting back on a more normal footing, that deadline is looming ever closer and presents a reason for comms specialists across the channel to go and talk to their customers.

And that “switch-off” conversation is clearly needed – research from telecoms and IP specialist Spitfire Network Services indicates that 83% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have no idea when their services will be switched off and 77% have not made preparations for the disruption that will be caused when the moment arrives.

Spitfire’s Switch on to the switch off survey aimed to assess the readiness of the SME community to the rolling switching off for local exchanges, with the first 200 expected to go through that process next January.

The 2025 date will mark the end of a process of gradually implementing changes at local exchanges and the Spitfire survey showed many SMEs were unaware of the “stop sell” date for their local exchange.

“When you consider that the services businesses rely on to ensure they can serve their customers will be gradually switched off between now and 2025, the lack of preparedness has surprised us,” said Dominic Norton, sales director at Spitfire Network Services. “Now is the time to take action because the future of your business depends on it.

“To facilitate the analogue network and ISDN switch-off, newer technologies are being more widely adopted. For those using an analogue or ISDN telephone number service, they will need to move to VoIP and take a SIP service. The impact on telephony and broadband services is far-reaching, so you need to know how it will impact you. The project has already begun, so don’t wait to consider your options – businesses need to be reviewing these now to ensure continuity.”

Many in the comms world are not only shouting about the switch-off deadline, but are also taking active steps to encourage customers onto other technology.

Earlier this week, BT Wholesale and Cisco teamed up to provide the channel with Wholesale Hosted Communications with Cisco Webex to encourage more customers to start collaborating more digitally ahead of the ISDN and PSTN switch-off.

“The pandemic has created a market necessity for collaboration and has accelerated digital transformation,” said Gavin Jones, channel director at BT Wholesale. “It is no longer a bonus – it’s an inevitability. But every organisation embarks on a different digital journey – a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t exist.

“That’s why it is vital that we provide the necessary collaboration tools and services to help our channel partners not only navigate through that change, but enable their customers to flourish long after. With the 2025 switch-off on the horizon, it is our ambition to offer the technology and support to best prepare businesses.”

Jeff Boslem, regional director EMEAR partner collaboration sales at Cisco, said the firm was looking forward to working with BT and its channel partners.

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