BT Wholesale has been banging the drum about the need for customers and partners to get a strategy for the PTSN switch-off in 2025, and has launched a couple of initiatives to make life easier for its channel.
The telco player has cut the ribbon on Wholesale Hosted Communications (WHC) Express and Broadband One as it reacts to the switch-off and the increasing emergence of hybrid working.
WHC Express is aimed at customers with 1 to 10 staff that want to get calls coming through on fixed and mobile devices on a single number. Users can get voicemail, call transfer and hold, and can access voice services via an online portal.
Broadband One arms channel partners with options to get small customers on improved infrastructure as a managed service that is backed by BT’s 2,000 strong service experts
The programme also chimes in with BT’s ambitions around full fibre, with the firm committed to getting the technology to 25 million premises across the UK by 2026.
“When we talk about a digital future, it’s tempting to think of it as a far-off date. But the reality is that it’s happening now. Businesses of every size need to find a new way to connect when analogue lines are phased out by 2025, and yet there’s still a staggering number of small businesses in the UK that are still using legacy lines,” said Gavin Jones, channel sales director, BT Wholesale.
“With our digital capabilities like BT WHC Express and Broadband One, channel partners can now offer their small business customers a winning voice and broadband combination to help them prepare for an all-IP world well ahead of that deadline," he added.
Earlier this summer, Openreach started to encourage UK businesses to start thinking about the switch-off, with some advice about how they could get started (see box).
Speaking in June, James Lilley, director of ALL-IP at Openreach, said that customers needed to get a clear idea of what going digital would mean for their operations.
“Ahead of the switch from analogue to digital phone lines, it’s crucial that businesses understand their current systems and the implications of the shift. This upgrade will provide the nation with faster, more reliable services and will allow devices to become more connected, providing UK industry with a framework from which it can develop innovative emerging technologies,” he said.
BT Wholesale and Openreach are not the only comms players keeping an eye on the PTSN switch-off ,with it being a factor in TelcSwitch’s recent acquisition of Scottish-based IP telephony provider and network operator SureVoIP.
The firm has a strong background in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and home office market, and will add more expertise around that area as well as give TelcoSwitch more potential for increasing its residential-based services as the UK moves towards the PSTN switch-off.
Earlier this summer, OpenReach encouraged customers to start thinking about the looming PTSN switch-off, and recommended that users:
- Make a list of all the devices currently plugged into the master socket and any extensions in the premises.
- Speak to the service provider and the suppliers of hardware devices to check how these will work when you’re upgraded to digital phone lines.