You may remember back in 2005-2012 when the whole country moved over from analogue TV to Digital TV.
Now there is another large switchover about to take place in 2025 – PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is going to be replaced by VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).
It is estimated that around 4 million fire and security systems that communicate to Alarm Receiving Centre’s (ARCs) use the PSTN network. If your intruder alarm or CCTV system uses the PSTN network, then these changes will strongly impact you.
What is a PSTN?
PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is a telecommunications network that allows communication by voice. The system has been in general use since the 1800s.
What is VoIP?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that allows anyone to place phone calls over an internet connection.
Why is the PSTN switch happening?
The change is happening for a wide range of reasons, technology is advancing, the reliance on the internet to transmit data is increasing and certain parts of PSTN and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) are becoming obsolete.
The natural progression is that PSTN and ISDN are being stretched far too thin for what the country needs them to do, and the costs outweigh the benefits. Just like the VHS, Tape and other things that have had their day, so too has PSTN and ISDN.
Who is affected by the switch to VoIP?
The change will affect all businesses in the UK currently relying on PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) or ISDN. Around 42% of SMEs (2.4 million businesses) report they are still using analogue lines still haven’t made the switch.
Is VoIP secure?
Most businesses have measures such as VPNs (Virtual Private Network) and other methods of encryption. VoIP is as secure as a traditional phone line, as long as the internal IT infrastructure is secure.
When is the switch to VoIP happening?
At the end of 2025. So when the date is 1st of January 2026, analogue will be no more, and all phone calls and signalling will be via the internet.
Although 2025 is the date that has been mentioned in relation to the switch off, the date you should keep in mind is September 2023, which is when there will be a national stop-sell. No new PSTN can be sold; this also covers system takeovers.
PSTN lines have already started to disappear. In Salisbury the stop-sell came into effect back in December 2020 as the area hit 75% fibre coverage, so once an area hits that figure, the stop-sell comes into effect
We are encouraging people to make the switch as soon as they can. BT is working its way through over 15 million lines in the UK that need changing before the end of 2025 – that’s around 60,000 lines a week!
Should I make the switch to VoIP now?
Research has found that SMEs who switched have saved around 31% of total telephony costs. When it comes to alarm monitoring, you’ll also find that the annual subscription is cheaper too, so it’s worth looking at future proof now rather than later.
You need to think about Police and insurance policy conditions with your Alarm monitoring. A lapse in your system’s functionality could have insurance implications for its validity and/or if you need to make a claim. For questions on this, we advise that you speak to your insurance provider.
What will happen to my intruder alarm monitoring when the switch happens?
If you have already made the switch then your Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) will get notified like normal if there is an alarm activation.
If you have not yet made the switch then there will be a signal failure which means ARC will not get a notification if your alarm activates – which is far from ideal.
BT are unable to help you as they will not touch your alarm equipment as a matter of protocol. They will ask you to contact your provider to upgrade and get your alarm signalling operational again.
What are your options?
We recommend that you upgrade your signalling device.
We recommend Dualcom Pro as the monitoring device of choice, which can either use two radio paths to transmit signals, or IP as the primary path and radio as a backup, which is what we recommend and install at Clarion.
We are currently working to upgrade all of our customers’ signalling devices before these changes come into effect.
If you haven’t yet started to upgrade your signalling then please contact the team today on 0844 208 4422 for a quote. We are able to schedule this to be done on your next maintenance visit to save you costs.
If you are not yet a customer, we can provide you with a no-obligation cost to upgrade your monitoring device and also discuss our range of maintenance contracts too.