Ryan Mullen, Senior Account Manager, Tunstall Healthcare, talks us through the UK’s telephone infrastructure change from analogue to IP Voice and how best to prepare.

Are you thinking about 2025 yet? Chances are you’re probably not, but it’s a date that should be highlighted in your diary. This is when BT is set to switch off its traditional analogue telephone network having migrated all of its customers to a digital, IP telephony service. Rather like the launch of GDPR earlier this year, it’s an event with a long lead time and organisations that depend on telephony – which is the majority of businesses – need to ensure that they are well prepared.

What does the switchover mean for me?

Once the switchover is complete, all of BT’s phone lines will have shifted from analogue signalling to ‘IP voice’. The country will have a fully digital infrastructure, which brings with it a host of benefits including faster speeds and the ability to transmit voice, video and information as data. In short, it’s a good thing. Digital connectivity will mean that your organisation can integrate more data-rich applications with phone calls, and ultimately deliver more efficient and innovative services.

However, this doesn’t just happen automatically. Openreach handles data connectivity, but you need to make sure that the systems you are deploying across your sites have been upgraded to operate on the new digital infrastructure.

Without doing this, once the switch happens, you may find that some or all of your existing systems don’t work as they should. For example, if you’re operating retirement housing with an inbuilt care system you might find, following the BT switch, that whilst you can still make phone calls, no qualifying data from said care system is connected. You know that A is calling, but you don’t know why or whether a warden is required. In short, the added value of your care system vanishes, and so too does your ability to provide an intelligent, responsive service.

Additionally, it is important to be aware that the switchover is not occurring in all parts of the country at the same time. We believe upgrades will take place on an area by area basis, however Openreach has not yet given any clarity on this. This means that you cannot assume your switch over is years away; it may be much sooner than you anticipated.

While this may seem concerning there is no need to panic; Tunstall is on hand to help make the migration as seamless and pain-free as possible, and help ensure housing providers make choices about technology which future-proof their investments and provide a platform for growth.

What do I need to do now?

As with any major technological upgrade or regulatory rollout, the key is to prepare as early and as comprehensively as possible. This means carrying out a thorough audit of all of your existing systems to establish which ones are already digitally compatible, and which are running on analogue networks. In short, you need to produce a checklist of the upgrades that you need to complete before the switchover happens in your area, and make a plan for a digital migration now.

This is something that Tunstall can help with directly. We can handle as much or as little of the initial survey and audit as you require, and help your onsite staff prepare a clear strategy for digital migration and ensure you’re fit for the future. To get ready for 2025 now, why not contact us today?

For more information or to find out about our audit and site survey services contact us here.