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CMI Blog

Goodbye to BT's ISDN Lines


BT (formerly British Telecommunications) have announced their plans to switch off their ISDN network for voice calling in 2025, and will stop taking new orders from businesses in 2020!

As the leading business communications provider in the UK, this change will affect millions of businesses.

What exactly is ISDN?                                                           

Launched by BT in 1968, Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) is a set of communications standards for digital telephony and the transmission of voice and data over a digital line. As BT rolled the new network out over the UK, it grew in popularity and saw the replacement of the original analogue landline technology.

ISDN offered businesses a real boost, supporting traditional telephone services, as well as data transfer technologies such as video-conferencing systems. At the time, it also offered the fastest internet access available (128 kbps).

The faster speeds and better connections that ISDN provided meant data could be sent quicker and with little to no distortion, providing a better experience than previous antiquated systems. However, with the growth of new and faster broadband Internet technology, and the continuing developments and falling prices for fast fibre-based Internet circuits, ISDN itself is now an outdated system.

What’s next for your business after ISDN?

If you’re one of BT’s 2 million ISDN customers, you have until 2025 to review your options and make the change, before the network is switched off.

The Internet has opened up a new era for communications, allowing businesses to take advantage of hosted telephony, where the telephone system exists in the cloud rather than in your office. You can get the functionality of a corporate telephony system without the need to make a sizable capital investment. Features such as voicemail, call recording and reporting are now available to all businesses, large and small, for a simple monthly rental. Combine these features with low cost calls and smart call management features and you can see why many businesses have already made the switch.

Hosted telephony solutions use Voice over IP (VoIP). VoIP takes your analogue voice signal, converts it to digital and then sends it out over an Internet connection. This could be your own Internet connection or a separate dedicate circuit installed by your hosting provider.  Either way, the running costs are lower than using traditional ISDN phone lines.

Because we now live in a world of unified communications, where all our devices need to communicate with the Internet and ideally integrate with one another, the move to a VoIP telephony solution can help you move your business forward too. Based on a recent study by CITE Research, today’s modern worker uses an average of four communications apps and 66% of them want a single communications platform. 

Kira Makagon, EVP of Innovation at RingCentral, states: “Companies have long struggled with breaking down the silos created by fragmented communications. Collaboration today is core to the way people want to work.” A cloud communications and collaboration system could therefore be the best way to leverage the Internet for your communication needs.

Enterprise cloud communications

Switching from ISDN to a cloud-hosted collaboration system can provide many benefits:

Cost savings – Investment in the hardware required to terminate ISDN, together with monthly rental costs, means traditional telephony is not cheap. With cloud services becoming ever more cost-effective, a system that brings all your tools to one platform, with one contract, will generally result in an excellent ROI for your business.

Flexibility and efficiency – Cloud solutions provide the capability to add concurrent calls simply and without the need to order physical circuits. Because your business is connected to the Internet, adding features to your setup will be simple via your provider’s on line portal access, enabling you to scale up and down as needed.

Support – Using a single provider will facilitate good traffic performance for your tools, and it also ensures that support is covered on an end-to-end basis across all aspects of your service.

How can we help?

CMI, in partnership with RingCentral, offer global enterprise cloud communications and collaboration solutions. Your distributed workforce can communicate, collaborate, and connect from anywhere, and via any device.

Built on a secure and reliable cloud communications and collaboration platform, RingCentral’s service combines voice, team messaging, collaboration, video conferencing, online meetings, and contact centre capabilities. Available across multiple devices — from smartphones, tablets, and computers to desk phones — this solution scales globally, making it easy to administrate across countries from a single platform.

To find out more, please contact us today.

About CMI

We take care of your IT, so you can focus on running your business. Whether you are looking for a comprehensive outsourced IT support service or something more flexible, CMI can help. As industry-leading specialists in network security, business continuity, hardware and software provision, cloud computing and Internet services, CMI has been helping businesses gain a competitive edge through technology for 25 years.  Call today on 020 8875 7676 to learn more and sign up for a free consultation.


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Topics: communication, security, business, sme, trends, managed IT, isdn, unified communications, telephony

Richard Taberner

Written by Richard Taberner

Richard Taberner is Managing Director at BTA Ltd. With 30 years of experience advising and servicing businesses in London and beyond, Richard believes that outsourcing IT doesn't need to be expensive or painful. Whether a client wishes to manage costs or free internal resource through outsourcing, Richard strives to ensure a smooth and reliable service for every client at BTA.

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