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July 2, 2021

Openreach warns business to prepare for the UK’s great network switch-off

By GlobalData Technology

The UK’s digital network business, Openreach, has called on UK businesses to start to plan for life after the analogue phone network (PSTN) is consigned to history in December 2025.

Years ago, talk was of POTS (plain old telephony services) and PANS (pretty amazing new services), but then the ‘IP over everything and everything over IP’ mantra took over and is increasingly becoming reality.

The analogue switch-off is approaching and Openreach is calling on UK businesses to check their connections with an audit of their systems and devices before everyone is moved to new digital services, with over 14 million lines set for migration over the next four years.

Openreach is encouraging customers to check not just their phone lines, but other connected systems like alarms, lifts, payment card readers and, critically, medical equipment.

In parallel, enterprises should also be checking their systems and devices that are connected to older mobile networks, with Vodafone and EE set to shut down their 2G and 3G mobile networks in the next few years (service providers worldwide are switching off their old networks as spectrum gets reallocated). This ‘sunsetting’ process has implications for a wide range of applications, including older smart meters, CCTV, and emergency services connectivity.

It’s good that service providers are highlighting these changes well in advance as literally millions of businesses’ and end consumers’ devices and applications might be affected. A similar process took place for the Y2K scare and – thankfully – planes did not start falling from the sky. With appropriate planning everything should be ok.