Managed.IT - Issue 63

8 01732 759725 COVER STORY they're going to cut speeds quite substantially,” explains Thomas Collingwood-Smith, Digital Transformation Specialist at technology-based communication services provider Gamma. “Regardless of what speeds they’re currently getting, users are going to be restricted to 2 meg (megabits per second) of download speed and 0.8 meg of upload speeds, substantially curtailing and affecting services. If you're a company or a user that relies on a high bandwidth that will obviously act as an incentive to move before June, when Openreach will initiate call barring on those lines.” National stop-sell Salisbury and Mildenhall are in the vanguard of the ISDN Switch Off, but Collingwood-Smith points out that time is running out for people in other parts of the country too. “One of the main dates this year is going to be September 2023, when a national stop-sell will occur. What happened in December 2020 and May 2021 in Salisbury and Mildenhall respectively, is going to happen on a UK-wide level, so when a partner or customer comes to us for voice and broadband their only options will be all IP.” The ISDN Switch Off is tightly linked to the simultaneous rollout of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), which is providing the infrastructure for the all-IP voice and data communications of the future. Businesses and domestic users who currently have a PSTN/ ISDN landline service and ADSL or FTTC broadband must switch to an FTTP alternative or SOGEA. Standing for Single Order Generic Ethernet Access, SOGEA is basically FTTC minus dial tone and a stop-gap for customers that don’t yet have FTTP. Because it will continue to make use of copper wiring between a customer’s premises and the cabinet on the street, there will be no noticeable change after moving to SOGEA for people who currently get their broadband via FTTC, although ADSL broadband users will see a speed boost. Switching to FTTP has the potential to give users a massive performance upgrade, depending on the package selected. SOGEA and FTTP will also be used for voice traffic. If a business or consumer wants to replace their old PSTN/ISDN landline, they will need to subscribe to a Voice over IP (VoIP) service like those offered by Gamma and its partners. Many businesses and some consumers will already have made the changes required by the ISDN Switch Off simply by keeping up to speed with developments in telephony and connectivity. Even so, there are thought to be as many as 12 million landlines that still need to be moved by 2025. A complete solution As a leading business communications provider, Gamma and its reseller partners are well placed to help businesses of all sizes, from micro-businesses to larger enterprises, to make this transition. “The company started in 2001 with a fibre network and datacentres in London, Manchester and Glasgow and since then it’s grown its network in a sustainable and ethical fashion, becoming one of the first carbon neutral carriers in the UK and the number one SIP provider in the UK before extending operations to Europe in 2018,” explains Collingwood-Smith. “We have always specialised Mildenhall were left in no doubt that the ISDN Switch-Off is real. The need to address this reality dawned when their exchanges became the first in the country to terminate their ISDN/PSTN services, as part of a process of moving everyone onto futureproof voice and broadband services delivered over fibre. The two exchanges had stopped selling traditional phone line services and fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband more than two years ago (known as stop-sell in industry jargon), but existing customers were unaffected and could carry on using their PSTN/ ISDN services with the same performance and service levels. That all changed on April 27, when Openreach started a process of service degradation to force people in those areas to switch to replacement IP solutions for voice and broadband. “At 10am on the 27th of April, Openreach started cutting speeds for users of the Salisbury and Mildenhall exchanges and Thomas Collingwood-Smith, Digital Transformation Specialist at Gamma, explains why the ISDN Switch Off is nothing to fear, but can’t be ignored Are you ready for the ISDN Switch Off? Thomas Collingwood-Smith