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    November 14, 2023

    Switch Engaged: Key Considerations for Your Business Post PSTN Switch-off

    The PSTN as we know it will soon be gone. Already the end-of-life date for the PRI is approaching, and organizations all over the world need to take steps to prepare for it. With more than 25 years of experience with enterprise calling solutions, we know the steps an organization needs to take to be ready for the PSTN switch-off. 

    The Copper Sunset 

    The end of life for copper-based phone lines, often called the copper sunset, is on the horizon. As more organizations move to the cloud, copper phoneline providers find it increasingly difficult to justify supporting them. Some providers may charge four times their initial rate to continue maintaining their plain old telephone services (or POTS). telephone lines at sunset

    This poses a serious challenge to organizations that rely on POTS. Mission-critical devices such as elevator phones, fire alarm panels, and public safety phones mostly still rely on copper lines. These devices are often necessary for the organization to remain compliant with E911 rules and other regulations, making a VoIP replacement not a viable option. 

    Serious as these challenges may be, there are options available to organizations that currently rely on copper lines. Before the copper sunset comes, there are five things your organization should do to move away from your old phone lines and into the future of cloud-based PSTN's. 

    Five Things to do to Prepare for the PSTN Switch-Off 

    These are the five actions you can take to prepare your organization for the PSTN switch-off. It’s possible to take these steps on your own, but a skilled partner like Continuant can help tremendously with this transition. 

    • 1. Migrate Sooner Rather Than Later 

      With the PSTN switch-off coming, there’s never been a better time to migrate to the cloud. You won’t need to worry about copper lines being decommissioned if you rely instead on a comprehensive unified communications solution running on a wireless network.  

      For some organizations, full migration to the cloud remains easier said than done. Fortunately for them, UC solutions like Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams can be customized to fit any organization and meet their unique needs. Analyze the steps you need to take to begin migrating today.  

    • 2. Audit Your Carrier Services 

      Telecom expense management has become an increasingly onerous task for organizations with a large geographic footprint, especially those who have gone through mergers, acquisitions, and closed satellite offices to embrace remote and hybrid working models. Take stock of what you’re paying for in your communications environment by performing a "circuit inventory" and line-by-line audit of your carrier invoices. Any POTS bills you’re paying now will more than likely triple, quadruple (or even quintuple!) in the future. Now’s the time to begin decommissioning POTS lines that will quickly become cost-prohibitive. 

      There may be some devices that your organization can't replace. That was the case for a soon-to-be Continuant customer. Initially, this municipality paid $7,000 monthly for its phone services. With the copper sunset in full effect (and the ability to charge outrageous prices to maintain these lines), they received a new monthly bill from their carrier for close to $30,000! 

      To avoid this situation, take stock of your legacy devices and decide what you need and what you don’t. Take steps to decommission the devices you don’t need before the copper sunset. 

    • 3. Keep Existing Devices 

      Ripping out and replacing your old equipment can be costly and time-consuming. Some of these devices are still essential for everyday communication. Others need to remain in case of emergencies. However cumbersome or old some of these devices may be, there’s still value to be gained from them. 

      While figuring out which legacy devices to decommission, consider which ones you’ll keep. Providers like Continuant have solutions that allow organizations to use their old devices with a modern twist. With a solution like this, your organization can avoid a costly rip-and-replace strategy and outrageous payments on copper phone lines. 

    • 4. Manage Compliances 

      Organizations such as schools, government offices, and community centers must be able to contact emergency services even when power or the internet is down. These regulations, E911 rules, are the most important reason for organizations to keep analog phones connected to copper lines.  

      On top of E911, organizations also have to comply with UL guidelines, NFPA 72 fire alarm rules, and ASME A17.1B elevator safety codes. Managing compliance with all these rules and regulations can be difficult, but the consequences of failing to comply will be much worse than a ballooning phone bill.  

      As you take stock of your devices, be sure to consider your compliances. Deploying a new solution that’s still compliant with all these rules and guidelines is possible, but it can be quite a headache for your IT team. This is an area where you may want to ask for help from a trusted partner.  

    • 5. Let Continuant Help 

      As mentioned earlier, the process of auditing and "right-sizing" your voice services can be a Herculean task. Let alone the process of analyzing your devices, deciding which to keep and which to decommission, and managing compliances. It's incredibly difficult to handle alone—and that’s where a partner like Continuant can help. 

      With more than 25 years of experience in the communications industry and unique expertise with enterprise voice and telephony systems, we have the skills to make this transition easy for your organization. We’ll come alongside you to organize your devices and design a solution that’s easy to use, cost-effective, and compliant with all the necessary regulations before the copper sunset comes. 

    Looking to prepare for the copper sunset?
    Schedule a meeting with us and get started today.

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    Continuant, a Managed Services Provider and Systems Integrator, offering world-class solutions for Cloud, Voice Systems, Networking, UC, and AV. From UC and AV solution design and installation to post-installation support, Continuant focuses on delivering exceptional service to the enterprise. We manage complex...

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