We cannot stress this enough, DON’T PANIC! The BT switch off will require every single business in the UK to make changes, but you don’t need to do anything yet. We’re just taking the view that as it is going to affect so many people, it’s important to be aware of it as early as possible so that you can have a plan, and beat the rush of people looking for support with their telephone systems nearer the time.
What is the BT switch off?
In a bid to move away from traditional telephony into the UK having a fully digital network, BT will be transitioning all of their customers to digital lines before Openreach throw the switch on traditional services in 2025.
How will it affect businesses?
Although it’s going to affect business and home customers alike, for businesses it will likely affect more than just telephones. There are other non-voice devices that rely on traditional telephone lines such as security alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems and for those that do still use them – fax machines! Without making the transition to digital, when the switch happens in 2025 all of these things will stop working.
BT have laid out their plans for digital transformation quite extensively, and you can find out more information about why they’re doing this on their website.
What do we need to do about it?
In all honesty, at the moment more detailed information about the change is still coming out in dribs and drabs, so our advice is simply ‘be aware of the changes, and have a rough plan.’
When it comes to phones, if you’re currently using a traditional system there’s no need to panic and replace it instantly. Despite having a finite lifespan now, they’ll continue to work until 2025! What you will need to think about soon though, is moving to a cloud-based phone system, you may have heard us refer to this as VoIP. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, which basically means being able to phone people using the internet!
Although this may seem like an intimidating shift, we’ve written about 5 reasons VoIP is better than traditional phone setups previously. Although it’s a change, there are some huge benefits when it comes to using cloud-based phones, not least the flexibility they afford in the face of unprecedented events, such as pandemics.
As well as phones, most businesses are likely to have broadband running using analogue lines. Again, if this applies to you you’ll need to look into getting this changed, but as long as you know about it now and are expecting it in the future, you don’t need to panic! We’re not here to scare you into buying things.
What should we do next?
Make a plan. Create a list of all the things you use in the office that require the use of a traditional analogue line. You’ll then be able to wave this list at your IT provider and say ‘help please’, and they should be able to help you devise a plan of what needs to be done technically.
If you’re not sure what uses an analogue line and what doesn’t, that’s okay. We’re the geeks so you don’t have to be! Simply book a call to discuss this, and we’ll arrange a time to come and conduct an audit. We can then use this information to help you with a plan, and then carry it out to get you sorted before 2025, when there will be an inevitable stampede of people rushing to fix their systems before it’s too late.