If you’re looking at the calendar, it’s easy to dismiss 2025 as a date in the not-so-distant future. You’ve likely put little thought into PSTN lines getting switched off, but does your business have a plan? If it doesn’t, it’s time to establish one.
In November 2017, BT Openreach announced that they’re disabling analogue PSTN in 2025. PSTN supports various products, including ISDN lines which most businesses use. What you need to know is that it won’t just affect voice services, but broadband services will also need to be upgraded. Anything that connects to a PSTN line must be upgraded.
Switching away from an analogue network raises various issues for businesses of all sizes, particularly local and central governments. We’re currently in uncharted territory – we’re still reeling and learning how to live in a post-Covid world. To add salt to the wound, we now also have this impending deadline to meet.
Many central government departments are currently adding fixed structures and have put interim measures in place to get them through Covid. However, a post-Covid world requires a more secure and permanent solution to support the workforce. Employees are far more mobile than they’ve ever been as fewer and fewer workers are in the office full-time. With a drastically evolving workforce and less money to spend as we face severe economic challenges, what is the solution?
The 2025 deadline is an opportunity for permanent change – a vendor-agnostic unified communication platform can bring everything under control and become the solution to this problem facing us head-on. The public sector can increase its capabilities and reduce management costs. The public sector needs a roadmap to rationalise its communication services and deliver new workforce experiences. With severe economic headwinds ahead, they must find ways to maximise their budgets and reduce complexity.
Public sector telecoms have never been more prominent. In 2021 alone, public authorities spent £2.3 billion on telecom goods and services, a 53 per cent growth since 2016. The public sector has an opportunity to rationalise, simplify, and expand its communications services with the impending deadline. IT teams have a specific date to develop new communication strategies. It’s a time of change in the public sector, but there’s a solution – the right unified communications platform can bring order and deliver new levels of service to end users.
Challenges and Opportunities of Expanding Public Sector Communications
Starting December 2025, the PSTN network will be switched off across the UK, affecting all businesses currently using it. Over the last three to four years, public sectors have witnessed a significant influx of voice and communications systems changes. While the pandemic was the final nail in the coffin, it wasn’t the only factor and has brought various new demands into focus. Today, more than ever, public sector end users are pushing for services to evolve.
Prior to the global pandemic, the push for remote work was already taking place. Once the pandemic happened, it showed that most positions could operate, no matter where an employee was located. Today, these organisations are responsible for delivering communication services catered to working environments, increased productivity, and overall employee satisfaction. IT teams are responsible for managing and delivering what comes with hybrid and remote work to end users.
These end users have moved past the need for fixed-line voice. The demand is now for omnichannel experiences that already exist in their personal lives. To ensure success, communication services must include messaging, mobile, video, and other dynamic solutions, but this presents unique security challenges we haven’t faced until now. IT teams require better visibility into these growing environments while ensuring the highest Quality of Service, Customer Service, and Experience in a cloud-centric world.
Many unique challenges exist and are compounded by these challenging economic times. We’ll briefly expand upon some public sector pain points below.
- Unclear or undefined communications strategy
- The burden of legacy tech, systems, and contracts
- Limited budgets
- The skills gap
- Shadow IT and consumer apps
- Security and Control
Unified Communications as the Solution for PSTN Lines
A vendor-agnostic unified communications platform is the future of communication services. It delivers immediate real-world outcomes, which are beneficial for the public sector and beyond. For public sectors, UC enables their organisations to deploy a cloud-centric platform that offers new capabilities. The right platform also allows their organisation to bring all legacy system platforms and devices under central management, enabling them to offer a growing suite of new capabilities to users.
Public sector organisations must address these challenges immediately. As was mentioned above, it’s easy to think time is on your side, with it being three years away and all. However, the days might be slow, but the years are fast, and your business will be left in the dark before you know it without adopting this modern solution. By 2025, communications must be IP-based, and the fastest and most straightforward way to achieve this transformation is by adopting a vendor-agnostic UC platform.
A vendor-agnostic UC platform is the path forward and will assist your business in delivering immediate real-world outcomes. Below, we’ll explain how your business will benefit from this:
- Reduced management costs
- Increased capabilities
- A roadmap for retirement
- New visibility into usage, performance, and experience
- Adaptability and future-proofing
- Consistent end-user experience
The faster a public sector organisation is aware of these challenges, the faster it can face and define its communications roadmap, leading to better benefits. Vendor-agnostic UC platforms will immediately resolve your issues around the workforce experience and start retiring legacy IT systems and be ready for 2025.
If you’re ready to learn more about how a vendor-agnostic platform can improve your public sector organisation and prepare it for the eventual PSTN shut-off, check out our white paper, Building a Voice Transformation Roadmap, to take a more in-depth look.