What does BT’s PSTN Switch-off mean for monitored security?
BT’s PSTN network is shutting down. Find out what it is and how your security or fire alarm system may be affected by this big change.
BT’s analogue network in the UK, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), is shutting down after decades of service. This will affect millions of devices that are still connected to the network, including security and fire alarm systems. If that’s the case for your home or business security, then this article may be important in explaining what’s happening and what the next steps are.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What is the PSTN and what does switching it off actually mean?
- How will my security be affected by the PSTN switch-off?
- What do I need to do to ensure my home or business remains protected?
What is the PSTN and what does switching it off actually mean?
BT’s analogue network (PSTN) was first created in the late 1800s. It is used for telecommunications like phone calls and faxes and used by fire and security providers for sending alarm signals. BT later introduced the Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) to provide internet access that was faster than the original dial-up system. After decades of service in the UK, both of these networks will now permanently close as 40% of people have stopped using things like telephone landlines altogether.
BT plans to complete the closure by 2025 but there is no time to rest for security providers as the wheels are already in motion.
The PSTN will be closed in phases. Some analogue network exchanges have already been closed as part of a trial. Following the successful trial, there will be a “stop-sell” phase. This means that no more new services or devices will be connected to the old analogue network – which isn’t a problem if you’re installing a new system as most modern security solutions are digital anyway.
The stop-sell phase will also be gradually rolled out based on clusters of network exchanges. To find out when your local exchange will be affected, you should speak to your security provider.
After the stop-sell phase, the entire network will finally be shut-down for good. This means that any devices still connected to the analogue network will no longer be able to communicate. This is where the biggest risk occurs where your fire safety and security may be concerned.
What do I need to do to ensure my home or business remains protected?
Firstly, we (security providers) need to check whether your current fire alarm or security systems rely on digital or analogue communication. It’s a good idea to contact your security provider as soon as possible, they’ll be able to confirm it for you and explain any necessary next steps you may need to take.
There’s a good chance your system is digital if it has been installed in the last five years, but it is always best to make sure to remove any doubt.
If your system is already utilising digital signalling, then you’re likely to be already prepared for the PSTN switch-off as it won’t be using that network. If your fire alarm or security does still rely on the analogue network, then you have a couple of options.
The first option is to update your entire system. It is important to consider that security and fire safety technology has evolved to keep up with the changing shape of security challenges we face. Whether you’re securing your business or protecting your family, it may be time to arm your property with the latest security solutions.
At CIA, we can help you replace an outdated fire alarm or security system for your home or business. We provide options that can be installed quickly, managed from your mobile phone, and even remotely monitored by a professional security team.
Even if your system is still reliant on BT’s PSTN, it may not require a full replacement to prepare for the network being closed. We can provide options for switching your system from the analogue network to a digital one. This would involve a simple upgrade that can help to ensure your alarms are not affected when your PSTN exchange is finally closed.
Speak to your security provider or contact us today to have a professional security expert check the capability of your system to communicate digitally and provide the solutions you need to stay protected. Learn more about how we’re helping to digitise monitored security systems well ahead of time and book an appointment with CIA today!