What every school needs to know about the BT Switch Off

In the ever-evolving landscape of telecommunications, schools find themselves at a crossroads as we embark on a transformative journey – a shift from the old analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to a fully digital network. This transition, scheduled for completion before Openreach stops the PSTN and ISDN service in 2025, signifies more than just a technological upgrade; it’s a strategic move towards embracing the boundless possibilities of digital communication.

Why the Move to Digital?

PSTN lines, a resilient backbone of the UK’s phone network for decades, is undergoing phased retirement to make way for modern communication technologies. The infrastructure supporting the PSTN, with telephone lines strung across streets and copper cables buried beneath our feet, some dating back to the 19th century, is showing signs of age. As technology rapidly evolves with smartphones, apps, the cloud, video calls, and the Internet of Things, the limitations of traditional networks become increasingly apparent. The transition to Internet Protocol (IP) is not merely an upgrade; it’s a leap forward to a more efficient, flexible, and feature-rich era.

Global Shift to Digital:

The transition to digital communication is not unique to the UK. Countries like Germany, Japan, and Sweden are leading the charge, with Estonia and The Netherlands having already switched off their PSTN networks. This global trend emphasises the urgency for schools, to plan for a digital future.

Why Plan Now?

While 2025 might seem distant, the complexity of the transition necessitates early planning. It’s not merely about phone calls; it’s about reviewing everything connected to your phone lines, this can include alarms, lifts, phone systems and broadband. Many schools, are already embracing an all-digital model, incorporating cloud-based communication, internet calls, and video calling. Early planning ensures a smooth transition, allowing schools to harness the benefits of digital communication well in advance.

Our 2025 Telecoms Planning Audit service can you help identify what lines and services will be affected by the switch off and advice will be provided on what actions you need to take and when.

The Importance of Getting the Right Connectivity:

Robust internet connectivity is not just crucial; it’s the cornerstone of a successful transition to digital voice and collaboration services. High speed robust connectivity will ensure you are not just ready for the future but are well-equipped to thrive in the digital era.

Do I need to change my phone system?

It all depends on the type of phone lines that are connected to your phone system, the make and model, and age of your system. Many schools will need to change their phone systems to prepare for the switch off, it isn’t just a case of replacing handsets, so it is important that schools understand their options and the costs associated with replacing or upgrading their phone system.


Embrace the Change:

Embracing the opportunity for change that digital communication brings goes beyond a technological upgrade. Cloud-based phone systems offer advanced features such as call recording, integrated lockdown and evacuation announcements, and the chance to redefine how your school communicates.

Schools are Vulnerable:

Finding the right phone system can be a minefield, we have audited over 1,000 schools and found that 97% of them have overpaid for their phone systems and related contracts. With the network switch off less than two years away schools are being forced into the market and unfortunately many will be exploited.

If you need help finding the right phone system for your school, our Telephone System Procurement Service will ensure you make the right choices. Our procurement service covers the system design, writing the tender, procuring pricing, reviewing the proposals, and helping you to select the right product and supplier.


Unfortunately, the network switch off isn’t something that schools can ignore, if you haven’t started planning already it is crucial that you start now. Our dedicated team of experts are here to support you every step of the way, ensuring you transition your services smoothly to a digital platform.

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