44.8% of U.K. businesses are unaware of BT’s ‘Big Switch Off’

BT, which provides fixed-line broadband and mobile services in Britain, is currently in the process of phasing out its old copper-based broadband services. And this means that businesses using BT's traditional phone services will need to choose a new technology.

For the phaseout, Openreach, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT, this week introduced a “stop sell” on sales of new wholesale line rentals.

And by the end of December 2025, any business or home phone call on the BT network must be hosted over Internet Protocol (IP).

National Business Communications chart

Stuart Griffiths, managing director at National Business Communications, a managed services provider, told Fierce Wireless, “Although this may sound scary to businesses who still depend on landlines, there are alternatives such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and the transition can be made smoothly. It entails the September 2023 end of services for traditional telephone networks that use copper wires. And the Big Switch Off also includes a deadline of December 2025 when the public switched telephone network (PSTN) will cease to work.”

According to a 2023 survey conducted by National Business Communications, 62.1% of U.K. businesses are still using landlines, and 44.8% of businesses don’t even know what the Big Switch Off is. 

The April 2023 survey was completed by 72 U.K. business owners, directors, HR managers, facilities managers, office managers and building managers via SurveyMonkey and Google Forms.

Of the Big Switch Off, Griffiths said, “We anticipate a hold-up in 2025 due to unprepared businesses, which may mean the industry won’t be able to keep up with the number of last-minute orders, possibly leaving businesses without a service.”

There are at least two popular options for businesses that must switch from copper-based landlines. They can either use mobile phones, which were adopted widely during the Covid pandemic as workers began working from home. Or businesses can adopt VoIP, which many businesses also adopted during Covid to handle remote meeting technologies.

According to its 2023 survey, the majority of respondents said they would replace their copper landlines with mobile phones.