Small businesses in the UK are still woefully unprepared for the 2025 PSTN switch-off, when the plug will be pulled on the copper phone network.
That's according to Gavin Jones, channel sales director at BT Wholesale, who made the comments as the division unveiled two new packages it hopes will boost fibre take-up and its own coffers.
Aimed at BT's channel partners, BT Wholesale Hosted Communications (WHC) Express provides a digital phone line for small businesses (typically up to 10 employees) ahead of PSTN being retired in 2025, while its new Broadband One package offers full-fibre speeds up to 1Gbps.
Both are designed to help BT's legion of resellers and integrators keep selling to their small biz customers as they switch to digital.
While at first glance this is just another run-of-the-mill product announcement, it's also a gentle reminder that the clock is ticking and 2025 is closer than people think.
"When we talk about a digital future, it's tempting to think of it as a far-off date," said Jones. "But the reality is that it's happening now."
- Openreach to UK businesses: Switch is about to hit the fan. Prepare for withdrawal of the copper-based phone network now or risk disruption
- Broadband plumber Openreach yanks legacy copper phone lines in Suffolk town of Mildenhall en route to getting the UK on VoIP
- Ofcom says no price controls on full-fibre broadband until 2031, giving BT's Openreach the kick to 'build like fury'
- Switch about to get real: Openreach bod on the challenge of shuttering UK's copper phone lines
"Businesses of every size need to find a new way to connect when analogue lines are phased out by 2025, and yet there's still a staggering number of small businesses in the UK who are still using legacy lines," he added.
A white paper published in April [PDF] found that 42 per cent of UK SMBs – that's an estimated two million small businesses – will need to make the switch before the end of 2025 or risk being cut off.
Earlier this summer, Openreach, the BT-owned UK broadband plumber, said UK businesses must do more to prepare for the retirement of its copper-based phone network, calling on customers and vendors to address the issue ahead of the switchover.
The Federation of Small Business was approached to see if enough was being done to warn SMBs about the copper cable deadline, but no one was available for comment at the time of writing. ®