September 2021

At the end of 2017, British Telecom (BT) announced their intensions to switch off the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN).

This century old network allowed telephone calls to be made over copper lines (and eventually fibre lines) with the use of analogue signals. Since the established telephone communications across the nation in 1912, we have relied on the copper lines to send our voices to each other on landline telephone calls.

But why switch off this service?

As the demand for faster and more reliable communications increases, telecommunication in the UK has been forced to evolve. Over the past few years, Openreach has been adapting the existing PSTN to support an almost completely digital network.

Why would this impact the Fire and Security industry?

Phone lines aren’t just used for traditional phone calls. Lift phones, Nursecall facilities and alarm systems can also use these lines to send signals. Alarm systems that send signals across a traditional telephone line to alert yourself, keyholders or an Alarm Receiving Centre will no longer be able to complete the task using this method. The good news is, there are options available for new signalling equipment to adapt most systems.

When will the switch happen?

The full switch off will be completed at the end of 2025. There is no certainty as to exactly when each geographical area will be affected. Openreach are releasing new updates every few months on the predicted areas to next experience the switch off.

What do I need to do?

We will be contacting our customers that are likely to be impacted by the switch with information about what option or selection of options are available for adapting the system they have. As we cannot be sure when each system will be affected, our aim is to be proactive and offer the change to new signalling devices during our routine maintenance visits. This way, we can ensure that when your area switches off the copper lines, your system can still function as normal.

What about my insurance?

If your system is a requirement set by your Insurance Provider, we recommend contacting them to check if anything has changed. If we provide you with more than one choice, it’s worth checking if the one you wish to go ahead with complies with your insurance.

 

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