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What’s the real reason behind the ISDN switch-off?

Like all commercial decisions, it’s driven by cost and profits. While the infrastructure that underpins ISDN has been significantly overhauled and upgraded since it was first launched by BT in 1986, the network has remained pretty much unchanged.

BT has invested heavily in VoIP, so it doesn’t make any sense to invest further in its legacy ISDN network. By converging all of their services to IP, BT will be able to focus their resources and energy into a technology that will allow it to meet the demands of businesses in the future.

What’s BT going to replace ISDN with?

For some time now, BT has been making plans to move all of its voice network over to VoIP (voice over IP).

VoIP — unlike traditional solutions — does not run over copper lines, making them and line rental redundant. The only thing you need is an active internet connection.

40% of the UK market has already recognised that switching to a VoIP solution provides a number of key benefits.

Aside from being a more modern, progressive technology, VoIP has many advantages for businesses over PSTN and ISDN:

  • It’s much quicker to provision new lines.

  • You can reduce your line rental because you’ll need fewer physical lines.

  • It is incredibly scalable and flexible 

The practicalities of switching from ISDN to VoIP

Switching from ISDN to a VoIP/cloud-hosted phone system isn’t as complicated as you might think.

The first step is to get a spec together outlining exactly what your business definitely needs and maybe some “nice to haves”. Then you can do some online research or call some cloud telecom providers to see what they offer. This should get you to a point where you have some options to consider and prices to compare.

Assuming your business is in an area that has access to VoIP technology, you need to consider two things:

Is your internet connection good enough to deliver VoIP?

While VoIP doesn’t use very much data when compared with other services like video, you still need enough bandwidth to deliver voice on top of everything else your office does. Some VoIP providers suggest 5Mbps down and 2Mbps up as a bare minimum for a small office, but really the bandwidth you need depends on your individual needs and Quality of Service (QoS) priorities. The reality is, if you don’t have enough bandwidth or a QoS commitment you could experience poor audio quality or intermittent service and miss out on the full benefits.