End of the old telephone system

Strange that after yesterday’s gripe about BT, I read that the old ‘copper pairs to the exchange’ telephone system (called PSTN) is to cease in 2025.  You may not be able to get a new ‘telephone line’ after the end of this year!

I’ve read very little about how this will affect people who only have an old ‘sit up and beg’ hard-wired phone.

People currently using the BT network for broadband and voice actually have two services provided over the one pair of wires coming into their premises.  One is the original PSTN that connects to their local exchange, and the other is the high-frequency broadband signal that in many cases is fed into your own pair of wires in a street cabinet close(ish) to your premises.  It probably isn’t fed in at the exchange, as this may be too far away for a high-frequency signal to reach your premises.

So it would be simple to turn the power off at the exchange, which would mean the PSTN will stop working, but the broadband will continue.  However, the traditional ‘sit up and beg’ phone relies on the power supplied from the exchange, and these would no longer work.

I have used a VoIP (Voice over IP) system for over a decade for my, and my partner’s, business.  There is a cheap and simple Linksys VoIP adapter that plugs into the broadband router and has two ordinary phone outlets giving me two phone numbers.  I subscribe to a VoIP provider (Sipgate) which costs very little (certainly compared with BT’s charges) and the system works very well.

You can, of course, buy a phone that has the VoIP adapter built in. In this case, you simply plug the phone into a broadband socket, and it works in every respect like a dial-up phone. No doubt this is what BT will provide to people in future, if they just want a phone.

Of course, you still need to have a phone number that people can dial.  This is set up by your VoIP provider, Sipgate in my case, but no doubt BT will provide a number in future.  Indeed, I did have an internet phone provided by BT with one of their original ‘Home Hubs’, but clearly they didn’t want me to use it, as charges were higher than for the landline, so guess what? I eventually put it into the recycling!

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