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The Public Switched Telephone Network is aging and will reach the end of life in December 2025.
This telephone network has supported “traditional telephony” where calls are made over copper telephone lines, and fibre telephone lines, using analogue signalling. As broadband services have increased in reliability, and quality, the public network has evolved to support what is now an almost completely digital network and, going forward, there will no longer be a requirement for most of the traditional fixed line telephony.
What is VoIP?
Telephone services have gradually moved to Voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) as technology has changed. Openreach is now focused on developing the fibre network and, moving forward, Openreach products will only offer digital variants of ADSL (basic broadband) or Fibre broadband services; neither require the traditional lines to carry the service. There will be no voice on the telephone line and no dial tone. This means that telephone service providers will need to provide some form of VoIP service to replace the voice telephony element provided today by traditional copper telephone lines. These telephone services are already available from telephone service providers and are usually offered in two forms:
- 1. Hosted IP, where the management of telephone calls is administered by the provider without any capital costs to the user for a small monthly license fee.
- 2. Session Initiation Protocol trunking (SIP) Trunking. SIP trunks replace traditional telephone lines to provide VoIP services over a company’s own telephone system (PBX).
Businesses, moving away from traditional phone services to VoIP - often referred to as “Internet Telephony” or “IP Telephony” - works by delivering a phone service over an internet connection. This has coincided with more and more people wanting to work remotely. In this environment, businesses need to find an effective way for their workforce to communicate, and collaborate, with each other more effectively.
VoIP does this for them, whilst providing significant cost savings over traditional telephony, by sending, and receiving, digital packets of data over the web, providing cheaper calls to anywhere in the world. There are none of the up-front costs associated with a fixed-line service and there is greater flexibility. Unlike traditional business lines, VoIP allows businesses to increase, or decrease, the number of channels, or users, using the service, virtually instantly, and only pay for the services used; and it allows increased mobility, because when using VoIP, there is no need to be tied to a specific landline and this opens the door to remote working.
VoIP is quick to install and inexpensive
VoIP is easy-to-use, quick to install and inexpensive. This means that companies, of any shape or size, can begin to reap the benefits without any up-front investment for line installations, or hardware. Many VoIP phones are plug-and-play systems that cause minimal disruption to daily operations.
VoIP works in collaboration with the various applications available on your computer or IP phone. This means that you can access more than just voice connections. VoIP telephony often comes with access to video calling, voicemail, click-to-call services on websites, recording services, instant messaging and presence information – among other things.
Voice over IP is an efficient, cost-effective, and highly immersive way for today’s companies to make the most of the power of the cloud and a solid internet connection; and provides a level of scalable connectivity that facilitates unified communications to boost external connections with customers, and enhance internal communications among employees, by integrating desk phones, PCs, and mobile devices with a range of additional capabilities like voice recording, video calling, and instant messaging. It ensures that anyone within an organisation can connect with the right person, at the right time, using any device.
The communication landscape is constantly changing and firms, relying on outdated telephone systems, and slow email services, could make it harder for them to compete. Old-fashioned forms of communication, like email and standard voice calls, are unable to keep up with our current age of agility and innovation. What businesses need today is a truly unified communication platform that seamlessly integrates with various applications, devices, and hardware solutions throughout your business.
Those of you still using “traditional telephony” will need to find an alternative approach to communications before December 2025, and traditional business lines will not be offered from September 2023. In the light of this, it would seem to make sense to review your current communications strategy.
Reviewing, and benchmarking your current arrangements with a Unified Communications solution, is likely to save you money and provide a more effective, and productive communications platform going forward.