Are You Prepared for the Big Public Switched Telephone Network Switch-Off?

In less than two years, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN) will be switched off for good, with work already underway to bring traditional phone lines to end of life by 2025, sparking consequences for homes and businesses yet to make the move to full fibre services.

In less than two years, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN) will be switched off for good, with work already underway to bring traditional phone lines to end of life by 2025, sparking consequences for homes and businesses yet to make the move to full fibre services. 

PSTN Switch-off

Traditional telephone lines use copper cables. These are being replaced by Openreach with a modern, internet-based network and infrastructure that uses fibre-optic cables.

The move in the UK is government-driven, but it is happening on a global scale. It was introduced in response to the natural decline of traditional landline usage and growing demand for faster broadband and other digital communications systems. A survey undertaken in April 2021 revealed that around 40% of UK households no longer used landlines.

Openreach has been building its Full Fibre network for some time now with a view to providing ultrafast, ultra-reliable and greener broadband that has the resilience and capability of serving the growing wave of demand for bandwidth hungry digital innovations in homes and businesses.

How will the PSTN switch-off affect communications?

The PSTN switch-off means a move to internet protocol (IP) based communications will become a necessity, such as switching to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or cloud telephone systems. Business that use analogue fax will need to switch to digital fax or email.

Services that rely on traditional phone networks will also be affected. Payment terminals, lift communication systems and alarm systems connected to receiving centres will all need to be upgraded to an all-IP system. 

Migration from PSTN to ‘All IP’ is going ahead in some locations well in advance of its scheduled completion date of 2025. Communications providers are already in the process of migrating customers to alternative IP-based services, with hundreds of exchanges nationwide being affected.

Traditional phone sockets are being replaced with Smart Routers, which are designed to support today’s Internet of Things-powered connected smart systems.

What does the demise of the PSTN network mean for traditional alarm systems?

PSTN-based alarms will need to be upgraded. Anything that plugs into the existing analogue telephone network, including monitored alarms, fire and security signalling systems and lift alarms will be affected by the switch-off.

If your intruder alarm system uses a communicator that is directly connected to your analogue phone line, this will not operate once the PSTN is switched off.

Withdrawal of services at regional exchanges has already begun. Therefore, to ensure our clients experience no loss of connectivity between their premises and the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), we are taking the following steps…

In compliance with the existing security grade your system has been certified to, we will install a GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and/or IP (Internet Protocol) communicator which will take over the PSTN’s role of delivering alarm signals to the ARC. Both represent the latest technology in Alarm Transmission Signalling (ATS).

GPRS communicators rely on mobile technology, like the data service on a smartphone. They come with a roaming signal or dual SIMs which make use of all available mobile networks.

IP communicators connect into your existing internet service.

It is also possible to use both IP and GPRS, combined into a single communicator. This setup will provide a primary connection, plus a back-up which will kick-in should the primary connection fail.

For the GPRS communicator to work, it will need a minimum signal strength, which will be tested ahead of installation. Premises where control equipment is located in basements or other areas where the GPRS signal is poor will not be suitable for this technology and will instead need to rely on an IP communicator.

These essential works will ensure that your alarm system continues to send activation and fault signals to the Alarm Receiving Centre once the PSTN is switched off, so that your keyholders or the emergency services can be notified where required.

The works will also ensure your alarm system continues to comply with the standards detailed on your NSI Gold System Certification. If your system has been installed for insurance purposes, we recommend you contact your insurers to advise them of the change to your Alarm Transmission Signalling method.

What do I need to do?

We have already sent emails and/or letters to the owners or system administrators of alarm systems that will be affected by the PSTN switch off.

If you have not yet responded to confirm your agreement to the works recommended, we encourage you to take action as soon as possible. If you would like this information to be re-sent to you, please let us know by calling or emailing the Electronics Support Team on 020 7262 9009 or

Our priority here at Barry Bros Security has always been to ensure that our customers’ security systems are operating correctly and reliably. The demise of the PSTN will have a major impact on security systems, and we are here to make the transition a smooth one for you.

As ever, we are available to answer any questions you may have about the PSTN switch-off, and you are welcome to contact us or call in to our London showroom to discuss any concerns in person with one of our alarm system experts.

How Can We Help?

Regardless of the type of premises you are looking to protect, Barry Bros Security has the solution. Contact us today for expert advice and the benefit of decades of experience in the security industry.