The PSTN switch-off: What you need to know

The world of telecommunications is on the brink of an historic transformation. For decades, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) has been the backbone of voice communication, connecting people across the globe.

But now, the era of the PSTN is coming to a close as telecommunications providers prepare to shut it down in favor of modern technologies. In this blog, we'll explore what the PSTN is, why it's being phased out, and what you need to know as this transition unfolds.

What is the PSTN?

The PSTN is a vast and intricate network of copper wires and digital switches that have facilitated voice communication for over a century. It's the technology that has powered traditional landline phones, enabling us to make calls to friends, family, and businesses around the world.

Why the switch off?

The decision to shut down the PSTN is primarily driven by technological advancements and changing consumer preferences. Here are some key reasons:
  • Cost Inefficiency - Maintaining and upgrading the aging PSTN infrastructure is expensive. With a declining number of landline users and the rise of more cost-effective communication technologies, it's no longer financially viable for providers to support the PSTN.
  • Limited Features - Compared to modern communication methods like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and mobile networks, the PSTN offers limited features. Features such as video calls, instant messaging, and integration with other digital services are either absent or rudimentary on the PSTN.
  • Declining Usage - As more people embrace mobile phones and internet-based communication, the usage of traditional landline phones connected to the PSTN has steadily declined. In many cases, landlines have become redundant for personal use.

What you need to know

The impending PSTN switch off may impact you in various ways, depending on your communication preferences and reliance on landline services:
  • Transition to VoIP - If you still use a landline phone, it's time to consider transitioning to VoIP services. VoIP offers similar voice quality but with enhanced features and flexibility. Providers like Microsoft Teams and many others offer VoIP services that can keep you connected.
  • Check Emergency Services - If you rely on a landline for emergency services, make sure to check with your local authorities and service providers about the alternatives available for accessing 999 or emergency assistance after the PSTN switch off.
  • Business Considerations - Businesses that depend on traditional phone systems may need to migrate to modern communication solutions to stay competitive. This transition can improve collaboration, customer service, and cost-efficiency.
  • Rural Areas - In some rural areas, landlines may have been the only reliable form of communication. Providers and regulators are aware of these challenges and are working to ensure that alternative services are accessible to these communities.


The PSTN switch off marks the end of an era in telecommunications, making way for more advanced and efficient communication technologies. While this transition may bring challenges, it also presents opportunities for improved connectivity, innovation, and cost savings.

To stay prepared, it's crucial to understand the implications of the PSTN switch off and explore the modern communication options available to you. At Conversant, we are here to support you make the transition from PSTN to VoIP, so get in touch today to start your journey to better communications.

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