The end of ISDN 2, ISDN 30 and analogue telephone lines

Traditional telephony

The analogue technology used for simple telephone lines dates back to the 19th century and while the equipment used today bears little resemblance to the telephones used then, the basic principles of operation have remained largely unchanged. In the 1960s and 1970s, digital technology was introduced into the telephone network, giving improved reliability and speech quality, but the connection between the exchange and the telephone remained the same, still using techniques developed in the 19th century. During the 1980s, the digital technology in the telephone network was extended to the customer premises with the introduction of ISDN 2 and ISDN 30. Since then, we have had the internet revolution and although both the internet and the telephone network are completely digital, they operate on different principles, resulting in 2 different and incompatible digital networks being connected to many if not all business premises.

Internet-based telephone systems

The internet is rapidly replacing everything that came before it and that includes the telephone network. Products such as Hosted VoIP deliver telephony over the internet and work anywhere where there is an internet connection available. Traditional telephone lines, both analogue and ISDN, will eventually be phased out.

Openreach's current plan is to phase out all ISDN 2 and ISDN 30 connections by 2025. Sometime before then, Openreach will stop taking orders for these services, and it will become increasingly difficult to maintain existing services. It is now our recommendation that no new orders are placed for any ISDN services and that VoIP-based services should be used instead. We are now actively migrating our customers on to appropriate VoIP services, which are either SIP trunks or Hosted telephony.

We don't have definite information about phasing out analogue lines. The expectation is that from March 2020, SOTAP (Single-Order Transitional Access Product) will become available. This is a wired connection between the customer premises and the exchange that can be used by wholesalers to connect their equipment to their customer.

Existing telephone systems

Most of the current telephone systems available now are designed to operate with both traditional telephone lines and internet-based SIP trunks. In addition, adapters are available that allow telephones and telephone systems designed for the old telephone network to work with the various internet-based telephony products. This means that while all telephone systems will have to be updated to work with internet-based telephony, there is currently plenty of time to do this. We currently offer both traditional telephony and internet-based telephone products and can help and advise which is best for you if you are moving premises or considering upgrading.

High-pressure sales tactics

There are some less reputable sales people at some other telecoms companies who are contacting customers and telling them their existing telephone lines will soon stop working and will have to be replaced with an internet-based product as a matter of urgency. This is not true because the traditional products will continue to work until 2025, because we expect that after 2025 any existing traditional telephone lines will continue to work, because it is possible to use traditional telecoms kit with adapters that convert from the internet-based system to traditional telephony, and because most modern telephone systems can be made to work with internet-based telephony. If you are contacted by sales people trying to pressure you into buying a new system now, please contact us for advice.

An example of an email received by one of our customers in an attempt to sell internet-based telephony when there is no need

Further to my conversation with one of your colleagues.

I have recently been passed your details from BT in regards to your current phone lines. I believe you currently have 4 lines of ISDN 2. The reason for my direct approach is as of 2020 all ISDN lines are being pulled from the market by BT in order to take all channels of ISDN to the cloud. As we're a local-based company and a trusted partner of BT Openreach, I wondered if it was possible to call over and have a chat with yourself in order to explain the procedure going forward.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The lies in this email are:

  • that ISDN 2 is being pulled in 2020. It is not. Our best information is that 2025 is the date for ISDN services to be ceased.
  • that BT passed on the details. If BT were doing this, they would be in breach of data protection rules. If the company that sent the above email got them through their relationship with BT Openreach and their access to Openreach, they are abusing their relationship with BT Openreach.
  • the suggestion that they are a 'trusted partner' of BT Openreach. Any company wanting to sell BT Openreach products can have a relationship with BT Openreach; trust doesn't come into it. Clearly the company sending the email above cannot be trusted as they are abusing their relationship.

Another example of high-pressure sales based on lies

Are you available for a quick call this week?

Are you aware that ISDN lines are being switched off in the very near future?

Pace Cloud is a clever replacement for the traditional phone system and with ISDN coming to an end, it's the ideal opportunity not only to upgrade, but to improve your business' functionality.

Unless you think 2025 is 'the very near future', this is clearly marketing of telephone services based on lies.

If you want to know more about your telephone system and whether you need to upgrade it, please call us for advice.

Call us on 0115 938 9685 or use our contact form.