“There’s a massive change happening that’s transforming voice services in UK businesses – and not everyone is ready for it”

The Scoop | 03/05/2023

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We are about 18 months away from the ‘copper switch off’, with many UK businesses using this as an opportunity to transform their voice services.

The term ‘switch-off’ will remind some of us of the 2012 switch-off of the analogue aerial television service which was completely replaced with an extensive range of digital channels and streaming services. The great ‘copper switch-off’ is intended to deliver similar improvements when it comes to choice, flexibility and service, with businesses being urged to prepare to minimise disruption and maximise opportunities.

To fully understand this switch-off, let’s discuss why it’s happening…

The Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is the existing infrastructure that traditionally supported our public telecommunications, CCTV and door entry systems, alarms and EPOS machines. This network of copper wires has been in use for PSTN since 1876. The 1980s saw the start of a digital overhaul, with the introduction of ISDN paving the way for the transmission of much more than voice, including chunky data, video and images.

Analogue lines are not sustainable

All of the data produced in the first days of the internet right up to 2003 is the equivalent of what we send in just 10 minutes today, and this is only increasing. Existing analogue lines just can’t keep up with demand and not only is it too slow; it’s not the most sustainable choice.

On average, fibre is 75% more reliable than copper, 50% more energy efficient, requires 50% less maintenance and has double the levels of customer satisfaction. In addition to its voice services, it is up to 18 times faster than broadband delivered via copper.

From September this year, no new customers will be added to analogue services, or changes made to existing services. The switch-off is phased and will be completely switched-off in December 2025. Many businesses who are already prepared are benefitting ten-fold from their digital transformation. After all, cloud services and digital technologies enabled the success of the hybrid working models we all relied on during the pandemic and hybrid-working has become the norm for many businesses.

Here at GoFibre, our company started as a solution to a community need for fibre in a rural part of the Scottish Borders. We know first-hand that switching to gigabit-capable full fibre with higher bandwidth and capacity is not just more sustainable but also a game-changer for future-proofed business operations and enhanced services – quite literally, at the speed of light.

Hosted telephony

The switch-off doesn’t just transform data, it also opens the door for more reliable and agile communications, including hosted telephony. This puts your calls in the cloud, managing the ways you talk to colleagues, suppliers and customers. This includes inbound and outbound phone calls, virtual meetings, presence statuses and instant messaging. You never have to miss a call and can easily configure how calls should be routed in real time and from anywhere. If you are on your mobile in the UK, laptop in Europe or even a hotel phone in Australia, your calls can literally follow you, or you can choose where they should be routed to instead.

A hosted telephony solution can also use data from your customer relationship management (CRM) systems such as Salesforce or HubSpot. Other handy features include call recording, operator services and live dashboards with call stats. Hosted Telephony has fixed monthly licence costs (including calls to 01,02 & 07 numbers) which is great for accurate budgeting and you can make substantial savings by eliminating costly Annual Maintenance Agreements which is great news for businesses.

Significant opportunities

The deadline for the PSTN switch-off means action has to be taken but this is great because it’s an opportunity for businesses to optimise their ways of working, introduce more collaboration and use smart call handling to give better customer service and make more sales.

We work with companies looking at their strategy for the copper switch-off or who are planning their hosted telephony strategy to identify what they need and how to get the most out of their new system. So if you want to never miss a call again, there’s lots to discuss.

These GoFibre B2B customers are already benefitting from digital solutions:

“We were worried about the security of our network when we started working from home. GoFibre took the time to understand our issues and designed a robust solution to our budget. Their hosted VOIP solution, a leased line and a Fortinet Firewall does everything we need. We are more profitable and our staff more relaxed and content with the flexibility of home working.” – Accountancy Firm

“It’s great as we never miss a call anymore. We moved to a single cloud-based system that works wherever we are, home, on the move or abroad. It’s all digital and we can see everyone’s availability in real time. We’ve saved a tonne on call costs, line rental and maintenance too.” – Architects

“Post-pandemic, we had to rethink our comms for a new hybrid and distributed model. Cloud Connect has put all our applications in the cloud and makes them securely accessible from wherever our people are. For me getting the security sorted and being able to do backups anytime without impacting application performance for everyone else is the best bit.” – IT Manager, Recruitment Company

“We didn’t appreciate how connectivity underpinned all our applications until it just started to work better. The private leased line means there’s no more jittering on our video calls or slowing down – it just works, all the time! It’s brilliant, thank you.” – Estate Agents