If you are a business owner you may be receiving daily calls from BT or from companies calling on behalf of BT, or your current provider telling you, in a rather worrying manner that your phone lines are being switched off and you need to speak with them immediately. The thing is, while there is truth in their end story, the timescales and implications aren’t necessarily as worrying or disruptive as they may suggest.
BT Openreach is in the process of upgrading its entire telecommunications infrastructure onto ‘IP’ and part of this involves phasing out ISDN2e lines, which are one of the most popular types of business lines used by small to medium sized businesses. The likelihood is that if your business has less than 8 inbound lines, you will be using ISDN2e lines and so you will be affected by the changes.
The new lines known as SIP, work over the internet, so in order to utilise them your business will need to have a good internet connection, ideally fast fibre, together with a compatible telephone system.
BT plans to switch off ISDN lines by 2025, but there are currently almost 2 million ISDN lines in use so there is no need to worry about being suddenly faced with no phone lines and a large unbudgeted bill for a new system. It is in your best interest however, to start planning now for the change by checking when your existing contracts are due for renewal. It’s a good idea to also start investigating the benefits of a new system on SIP lines versus a new Cloud system.
Both new SIP systems and Cloud telephony use the same IP technology and offer some great benefits such as excellent remote working, mobile phone apps, conference calling, free calls and multi-site working, but with a few key differences. Systems tend to cost less in the long run, they integrate better with third party applications, can be bought or rented and they work over any type of internal cabling. Cloud telephony on the other hand runs only on Cat5 or Cat6 data cabling and is paid for on a monthly licence plan. With Cloud every user handset needs a licence to work, rather like Windows365. Cabling is expensive, so if you have to upgrade your internal network to enable Cloud telephony it may well make it an uncompetitive choice.
Don’t be fooled into believing that Cloud telephony is the only way to go, as both Cloud and on-site systems use the same technology, so investigate which is the most suitable and cost-effective option for your business. As it stands currently, systems still account for over 87% of all business telephone installations in the UK.
It may be that you do need to change your telephone system to handle the new style of lines, as well as pay for the installation of the new style lines. However, this may not always be the case as most telephone systems supplied over the last few years are capable of handling the new lines, sometimes with only minor adjustments.
Ubi understand the implications of these changes so if you want to take the hassle away and would like us to find the best fit for your business then please contact us, we would love to speak with you.