BT have announced plans to carry out an ISDN switch off by 2020 – and phase out the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) entirely by 2025. BT Openreach provide telecom’s services to around 27 million UK homes and businesses. Their alternative to ISDN is ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ [VoIP], served up as a hosted offering under long-term rental contracts (BT ‘Cloud Voice’ & ‘Cloud Phone’). There are however, many VoIP carriers now providing fully featured and reliable alternatives to BT’s offerings.
Why is VoIP better than ISDN?
VoIP is a newer, proven and more flexible technology – but that aside, there are some real advantages to moving your business telecom’s to VoIP:
Cost: ISDN is more expensive to install, rent and make calls on. SIP Trunk channels are configured in new or existing Broadband Internet services, and are typically £3 to £4 per channel per month. There are no SIP channel ‘installation’ charges for your new VoIP system (or when you add more channels), and no ‘supplementary’ charges for blocks of DDI numbers or Caller Identification services. Call tariffs are low for both domestic and International destinations. SIP Trunk channels can be set up for you in ‘minutes’ rather than the months you wait for ISDN lines – making your business more flexible & effective right when you need it to be.
Reliability: Faults on ISDN lines are often quite slow to fix. VoIP faults can be detected, diagnosed & repaired much quicker. In addition, it’s now easy to have SIP Trunk services from different suppliers so that connection problems with one carrier can be by-passed using another, while issues are sorted. SIP Trunk services are also very much easier to move to another premises for Disaster Recovery. Replication of Trunk-line services at another site, on another broadband service, can be done in minutes. It’s even possible to use 4G mobile data as a back-up for VoIP services.
Portability: ISDN can be very restrictive and won’t allow you take your numbers with you when you move your business. I’ve even seen this happen when the ISDN lines are coming from the same exchange! Direct Dial Inward [DDI] numbers associated with your VoIP SIP Trunk channels are 100% portable, and can move with you – even to another country! Unlike ISDN, VoIP numbers can have any geographical prefix so that you can show a national or International presence in your advertising. There are also no restrictions based on the number eing ‘business’ or ‘private’. VoIP Phone systems also allow us to present an extension’s Direct Dial number as its outbound Caller ID, making it easy for customers & suppliers to call you back (where – ISDN will present the same single ‘base’ number for all outbound calls).
Scalability: New Direct Dial numbers and SIP Trunk channels can be added to (or removed from), a VoIP system in minutes. This means you can be flexible enough to change your business telecom’s capacity and costs, to meet your needs as they evolve, rapidly and at low cost! SIP Trunk channels are added to a VoIP phone system in software, so there is no need to add expensive line or extension card hardware.
What do I need to do to get ready for this?
The sooner you plan to migrate away from ISDN the better – both from a practical “don’t get caught when it switches off!” point of view, as well as from a ‘cost-of-ownership’ angle. Every year you rent ISDN lines, you are paying a major percentage of the cost of a new VoIP phone system! It makes no sense to wait, as all the benefits are right here for you – right now …
If you are opening a new office, or moving to new premises, then there’s the same argument. It only makes it more expensive and takes longer to get your services connected, if you order ISDN lines.
Migration to VoIP is not complicated for most businesses, and can even be done without disrupting existing business telephones. Here at Foxhall Solutions, we remove the hassles and provide; the line, broadband, SIP Trunks, DDI numbers, number porting, Phone systems, phone-sets, installation, commissioning, user training, ongoing support – and itemised monthly call-billing for your new phone system.
Contact Foxhall Solutions at 01787 228402 to talk about moving away from ISDN to a flexible and cost-effective telecom’s solution.