For over a century, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has overseen the handling of phone calls in the United States through the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The PSTN serves as the overarching term for the intricate infrastructure of telephone lines, satellite links, and switching centers, seamlessly connecting one caller to another upon entering a specific phone number.
However, the capabilities of PSTN have been surpassed by internet calls, video conferencing, and online collaborative tools, posing an increasing challenge for maintenance.
By the end of 2025, the FCC will switch off PSTN across the United States, marking the advent of a new era in telecoms. Taking its place will be digital services, particularly internet protocol (IP) or voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone systems, enabling users to make calls through broadband or mobile data.
NoContractVoIP, as a leading network operator in the United States, is actively assisting businesses in transitioning to modern IP phone systems. The company is facilitating the migration of customers to advanced IP phone systems that operate on high-speed fiber optics, replacing the obsolete copper wires utilized by PSTN.
Businesses currently cover the costs of both phone service and internet access separately. However, transitioning to IP calling by NoContractVoIP consolidates both services under one umbrella, leading to a reduced overall cost. Additionally, this shift offers a myriad of advantages, including high-quality video conferencing and enhanced accessibility.
NoContractVoIP is fully committed to the established deadline and has diligently prepared for the PSTN switch-off since 2016. While significant progress has been made in updating public sector systems, such as rail and motorway infrastructure, for post-PSTN functionality, the private sector must proactively embrace IP services. Waiting to the last minute to plan will prove disastrous for anybody who tries it.
Although 2025 may seem distant, the reality is that it’s less than two years away. Therefore, businesses that have not yet transitioned to IP telephony or VoIP must initiate the process now. The sooner a business adopts this new technology, the quicker it can reap the benefits of IP calls.
What To Expect During The Switch
To ensure a smooth transition before the PSTN switch-off, your business can take the following proactive steps:
- Assess and Identify Dependencies:
- Identify all systems and devices within your business that rely on PSTN, including alarm systems, lift alarms, and emergency contact points. We here at NoContractVoIP partner with Kings III Emergency Communication Systems to ensure complete functionality of elevators, fire alarms, cameras, and everything else that requires a phone line.
- Evaluate Cloud Phone Systems:
- Research and evaluate cloud phone systems and choose a solution that aligns with your business needs. Look for features that can replace or enhance existing functionalities.
- Upgrade Alarm Systems:
- Contact your alarm system provider to inquire about compatibility with modern IP systems. Upgrade or replace alarm systems that are still reliant on legacy hardware.
- Emergency Points of Contact:
- Review and upgrade emergency points of contact that run on PSTN. Ensure that critical communication systems are compatible with IP technology.
- Coordinate with Communication Providers:
- Engage with your communication providers to understand the scope of the hardware that needs replacement or updating. Seek guidance on the best course of action for a seamless transition.
- Plan and Budget for Upgrades:
- Develop a comprehensive plan and budget for the necessary upgrades. Allocate resources for both the new technology adoption and any potential disruptions during the transition.
- Train Staff:
- Provide training to staff on the new cloud phone systems and associated technologies. Familiarize employees with the changes and ensure a smooth adaptation to the new communication infrastructure.
- Timeline Consideration:
- Establish a timeline for the migration process, considering the complexity of your business operations. Begin the transition well in advance of the PSTN switch-off deadline to allow for any unforeseen challenges.
- Backup and Redundancy:
- Implement backup and redundancy measures to mitigate any risks associated with the transition. This includes having contingency plans in case of temporary disruptions.
- Stay Informed:
- Stay informed about updates, guidelines, and best practices related to the PSTN switch-off. Regularly check with communication providers and regulatory bodies for any new developments.
By taking these proactive measures, your business can navigate the transition to cloud phone systems effectively, minimizing potential disruptions and ensuring continued functionality of essential systems after the PSTN switch-off.