How should I prepare for the Big Switch Off?
To lay the groundwork for the Big Switch Off – and take full advantage of better connectivity – UK organisations should purchase or upgrade their existing broadband package to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) subscription.
For firms that have ISDN telephone lines at present, now is the time to shop around from the top business telephone providers to find the best small business VoIP system.
If you want to stick with your current provider, start a conversation with their customer service team now about the options available. Should you need to buy new equipment, like a new router, your provider should be able to arrange this.
Card machines and other hardware is a different story. If your machines still connect to a physical telephone line, we would recommend finding a unit that uses WiFi.
When should I update my system?
Don’t feel confused if you’ve only just heard about the Big Switch Off. A recent Which? survey shows that 74% of consumers with a copper landline connection are unaware of the migration.
That said, Openreach has already begun the copper switch off in some locations, which means anyone who hasn’t already upgraded their service is now playing catch-up.
Kristian Torode is the director and cofounder of the business telecoms provider, Crystaline. He says SMEs must make the move early enough to ensure a seamless transition.
“There could be some interruptions to services as businesses scramble to upgrade,” Torode cautions. “There are over 25 million connections to be switched over by 2025. Making the switch sooner rather than later will be essential.”
The risks for businesses of not switching to a VoIP system in time include:
- Choosing the wrong supplier: give yourself time to research the best business telephone providers and save money in the long-term
- Increased costs: get a deal early – supplier scaremongering could see VoIP prices getting pushed up closer to the deadline
- Missing out on fast broadband: with some locations already offering fibre-optic internet, you could already be missing out on the benefits
What are the benefits of switching to VoIP?
By switching to VoIP, which uses the internet to transmit data, business owners will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that fibre optic offers SMEs.
Tom Grange is the head of connectivity at Bionic, a business broadband provider. Grange explains, “The service is quicker and more adaptable than copper and ISDN lines. Calls can be made from smartphones and laptops from wherever you are, with high-quality sound.”
The benefits include:
- Better connectivity: faster broadband will improve your team’s productivity and overall output, having a positive impact on profitability
- Improved customer relationships: having a faster, more stable telephone infrastructure means a better experience for product or service users
- Flexible packages: because most VoIP packages work on a per-user pricing model, SMEs can save money by prioritising the connections they require
- Cheaper deals: VoIP prices will become more competitive over time as Openreach incentivises suppliers to migrate more customers onto these future-proofed products
- Supports remote working: Kristian Torode explains that by using VoIP number porting, “…any device can connect to the system on one phone number to support flexible working.”
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