This month marks a significant milestone in the road to a new future for the UK’s communications networks, as Openreach will stop selling legacy phone and broadband products at their first tranche of exchanges around the UK.
From 29th June 2021, businesses connected to these exchanges will no longer be able to order new ISDN products from Openreach, ahead of the planned retirement of the network in 2025. As a result, firms looking to add new lines to their network will need to investigate alternatives.
What’s the timetable for the ISDN stop sell?
Initially, there will be 13 exchanges in Tranche 1a where the stop sell date will take effect in June 2021. These are:
- Belfast Cregagh, Belfast
- Belfast Knock, Belfast
- Be/Ballysillan, Belfast
- Belfast Fortwilliam, Belfast
- Highbury, Birmingham
- Beacon, Birmingham
- Sheldon, Birmingham
- Stechford, Birmingham
- Streetly, Birmingham
- Deddington, Cherwell
- Corstorphine, City of Edinburgh
- Caergwrle, Flintshire
- Kenton Road, Greater London
This follows trials at Salisbury exchange in Wiltshire, which became the first place in the UK where new copper-based phone and broadband products became unavailable in December 2020, and Mildenhall in Suffolk.
A further 155 exchanges in Tranches 1b and 2 are also set to reach the stop sell deadline on 5th October 2021, while those in groups 3 and 4 are set to reach this next year. It’s currently planned that all exchanges will stop selling new ISDN products by the end of September 2023 ahead of the full withdrawal of these networks in 2025.
James Tappenden, director of Openreach’s Fibre First programme, commented at the time of the Salisbury stop sell: “The traditional landline has served us well for generations, but it can’t go on indefinitely – and by December 2025 it will have reached the end of its life. By September 2023 Openreach will stop selling copper-based products nationally in preparation for withdrawal at the end of 2025.”
What should you be doing about your ISDN lines?
While you’ll still be able to continue using existing ISDN lines until the final deadline in 2025, the halting of new sales should serve as a reminder to businesses of the need to upgrade to more modern systems before it’s too late.
One thing it’s important to remember is that these analogue lines often carry far more than voice communications. In fact, there are a wide range of other services that may still depend on these lines, and if you’re only focused on upgrading your voice solutions, they can be easy to overlook.
For example, if your firm still uses analogue lines for any of the following, you’ll need to start making plans now to upgrade:
- Door entry systems
- Emergency alarms
- Lift lines
- Payment terminals
- Vending machines
- Fax machines
In order to make your upgrade a success, you’ll also need to know what the ISDN alternatives are available to your premises, as well as how any proposed replacements will fit into your way of working.
Get the ISDN Switch Off Checklist
To get started on your migration away from ISDN, go through our ISDN checklist today, or get in touch with one of our experts, who can answer any questions you may have.