Ever since it was initially introduced in 1986, ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network) has provided enhanced telecommunications to millions of businesses across the UK.
Considered a technical marvel at the time of its release, ISDN allowed for both voice and data services to be delivered over digital lines simultaneously. This not only paved the way for the high-speed internet era of the ’90s but also made it possible to incorporate early video-conferencing with traditional analogue phone systems.
With the recent advances in broadband connectivity, however, ISDN is now considered an outdated legacy system. And back in 2015, BT released a statement that it would phase out ISDN, with a view to switching off and permanently deactivating the network in 2025.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about the matter, then you’re not alone. As of right now, just over 2 million UK businesses are using an ISDN connection, with roughly a quarter unaware that the switch-off is even happening (source. TalkTalk).
But don’t worry, here’s everything you need to know.
What is ISDN and why is it being switched off?
In very simple terms, ISDN is a digital line that runs through copper wiring. Unfortunately, the main issue with ISDN is that it relies on physical infrastructure, the copper lines, which are costly to maintain and limited in their capabilities.
Newer connection-types, such as FTTP and FTTC, use fibre technology, which is easier to maintain and provides better and quicker connectivity.
As a result, copper lines will no longer be used for voice. However, the copper will remain in some circumstances, such as in FTTC — which is fibre to the cabinet and copper to the premises — but just for data purposes.