The PSTN switch-off: how it impacts alarm signalling
By December 2025, Openreach – the organisation that manages the fibres, wires and cables that keep the country connected – will withdraw all support for the decades-old public switched telephone network (PSTN). The network, which has supported a number of wholesale products over the years – such as the Wholesale Line Rental (WLR), your traditional phone line – is no longer fit for service, as the analogue copper network can simply no longer support the data-hungry Britain we’re transitioning into.
This effectively means the analogue phone network – which in many cases has been co-opted to provide broadband services – will no longer be available, meaning all connections will need to be fibre to the premises (FTTP) or Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SOGEA) which is replacing the current fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) connection. Moreover, all traditional voice services will have to be delivered using a digital voice service – VoIP (voice over IP).
Now, the PSTN switch-off will have wide-ranging impacts across many industries and perhaps at first, it’s not immediately clear to you why it will impact alarm signalling. The reason is many legacy alarm signalling systems rely on the PSTN to dial out to ARCs when there is a signal to send. So, once customers transfer to an all-IP connection, these devices will no longer be able to conduct their intended tasks – rendering them useless and leaving customers at risk. In fact, any type of alarm system – intruder, lift, fire or telecare, for example – will be affected, and this will also extend to CCTV systems that use ISDN services.
The need to act now
While the ultimate closure of the network will take place in December 2025, Openreach will introduce a ‘stop sell’ of copper-based services once areas around an exchange reaches 75% Fibre coverage. That means timelines can vary hugely, and there are already 220 stop sells announced and effective in Salisbury, with Mildenhall soon to follow, which limit new supply and what can be done to existing PSTN lines.
If you’re an installer whose customer base is still largely using these legacy systems, it means your portfolio can become obsolete at any time as communication providers upgrade customers to the new digital service. So, while 2025 may seem like a way off, with new stop sells being announced most quarters, the timescales faced may be much shorter.
So that you are ready to support customers looking to transition, you must look at your own product suites to ensure it is future-proof and contains a selection of all-IP solutions.
Our Next Generation portfolio is a full suite that caters for end customers of all sizes, risks and, importantly, connectivity requirement, and come with no upfront cost. We also offer 24/7 technical support - so we’re here should you need us. Our portfolio consists of:
- Essential IP - an SP2 alarm signalling solution that offers greater protection by ensuring ARCs are notified of path faults within 60 minutes. Able to connect via ethernet or wi-fi, it is ideal for customers in areas with poor mobile coverage and for digi-communicator swap outs.
- Essential - offers simple, affordable, SP2, wireless (4G/2G) alarm signalling, and comes with a roaming SIM card, which switches between the main UK mobile networks to ensure the best possible connection
- Essential Extra - a wireless dual-path alarm signalling system at DP2 grade with one fixed SIM using the EE network – and one roaming 4G SIM, offering low to medium risk sites twice the protection for both fire and security.
- Advanced - a flexible, DP2, alarm signalling system designed to change with a customer’s needs. With both a wired IP connection and dual 4G SIMs – one fixed and one roaming – it offers two levels of reassurance with true dual path connectivity.
- Advanced Extra - offers the same flexibility and reassurance as Advanced but with faster reporting times exceeding DP3 requirements. Experts who monitor will know about alarms in seconds and connection faults on the primary path within three minutes and will be alerted to faults on the secondary path within 60 minutes – rather than 25 hours.
- Ultimate -the most responsive package, using a private IP connection on a dedicated BT broadband network, backed up by two 4G SIMs. With its built-in hub, battery backup from the alarm panel means the system keeps working – even in a power cut – and monitoring experts will know of any connection problems within 90 seconds.