Preparing for the PSTN and ISDN Switch Off: What Healthcare Industry Need to Know?

Preparing for the PSTN and ISDN Switch Off: What Healthcare Industry Need to Know?
January 8, 2024 Ozge

In November 2017, BT announced that BT Openreach will end all telephone communications that operate by copper-based networks by turning off the PSTN (Public Services Telephone Network) and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) by December 2025.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) and PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) are traditional technologies used for voice communication over landline networks. The decision to switch them off in the United Kingdom, scheduled for 2025, for several reasons:

  1. Outdated Technology: ISDN and PSTN are based on older technologies with data capacity and flexibility limitations compared to newer digital communication methods.
  2. Shift to Digital: The telecommunications industry has transitioned to more modern and efficient technologies, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and digital services. These newer methods offer more features, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.
  3. Declining Usage: With the rise of mobile phones and internet-based communication services, the usage of traditional landlines has been steadily declining. Many businesses and individuals prefer digital communication platforms’ flexibility and additional features.
  4. Maintenance Costs: Maintaining and upgrading the infrastructure for ISDN and PSTN can be expensive. The switch to newer technologies allows telecom companies to focus on more cost-effective and advanced systems.


The decision to phase out ISDN and PSTN in the UK is part of a broader global trend towards modernising telecommunication networks. It encourages businesses and consumers to adopt newer, more versatile digital technologies for communication.

The PSTN and ISDN have served us well for decades, but they are based on outdated technology that limits the potential of modern communication. The switch-off is part of a strategic move towards:


            • Enhanced Reliability: Digital networks provide more robust and reliable communication, reducing downtime and improving call quality.

            • Richer Features: Enjoy advanced features such as high-definition voice calls, call queues, auto attendance and more.

            • Scalability: Digital communication solutions can quickly adapt to changing needs, making expanding and managing your communication infrastructure more straightforward.

            • Cost Efficiency: Embracing modern technology often translates to reduced maintenance costs and more cost-effective communication solutions.

So what is the alternative?

Before the upcoming PSTN and ISDN switch-off in 2025, healthcare organisations must explore alternative solutions to meet their communication needs. This is where cloud-based telephone systems step in, offering a range of benefits that revolutionise communication in the healthcare industry.

The advent of cloud-based telephone systems promises numerous advantages for healthcare communication:



Care considerations are crucial in the healthcare industry, where organisations must find ways to optimise resources without compromising patient care. Cloud-based telephone systems offer significant cost savings compared to traditional phone systems. By eliminating the need for upgrades, healthcare providers can reduce operational expenses. Cloud-based systems often provide flexible pricing models, allowing organisations to scale their communication needs.


Enhanced Flexibility

 Cloud-based telephone systems provide healthcare professionals with unprecedented flexibility. By leveraging the power of the cloud, medical staff can access their communication system from any device with an internet connection. This flexibility improves responsiveness, enables better collaboration, and enhances patient care.


Scalability and Reliability

Healthcare organisations experience varying call volumes and communication demands, particularly during peak periods or emergencies. Cloud-based telephone systems seamlessly provide the scalability needed to accommodate these variations. Service providers can easily adjust the system’s capacity, add or remove lines, and scale resources as required, ensuring uninterrupted communication. Moreover, cloud-based systems are designed with robust redundancy and disaster recovery mechanisms, reducing the risk of service disruptions and maintaining communication continuity even during unexpected events.

Advanced Call Routing and Customisation

Cloud-based telephone systems offer advanced call routing capabilities particularly valuable in healthcare. Calls can be intelligently routed based on specific criteria, such as the nature of the call or the caller’s identity. For instance, incoming calls can be directed to the appropriate department or individual based on the patient’s needs, ensuring prompt and accurate assistance. Customisable call flows and automated menus also allow healthcare organisations to tailor the communication experience to their specific requirements, improving efficiency and patient satisfaction.

What do you need to know?

  1. Timeline: PSTN and ISDN services will switch off in 2025. Be prepared to transition your communication infrastructure by this date.
  2. Transition to IP: To continue seamless communication, you must migrate to Internet Protocol (IP) based solutions. This could involve VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems or other digital communication platforms.
  3. Updating Equipment: Ensure your devices and equipment are compatible with the new digital systems. You should invest in new hardware if you still need to.


Switching to cloud-based telephone systems ensures continuity and opens doors to a new era of efficient, secure, and patient-centric communication in healthcare.

As the deadline approaches, it becomes increasingly important for healthcare organisations to strategise and execute a seamless transition to these innovative communication platforms. The transition requires detailed planning, employee training, and collaboration with reliable service providers specialising in healthcare communication solutions.


How can Apex Cloud Telephony help my practice make the switch?

We understand the significance of this transition. Our team of experts is here to assist businesses and individuals in smoothly migrating to the future of communication. We can help with:

            • Consultation: Personalised advice on the best communication solutions for your specific requirements.

            • Migration Assistance: Step-by-step support to smoothly transition your existing infrastructure to modern digital systems.

            • Training: Training programs to familiarise your team with the new technology and its features.

            • Continuous Support: Ongoing assistance and maintenance to ensure uninterrupted communication in the post-PSTN and ISDN era.