How the Landline Switch Off Delay Affects Small Businesses

BT Group has announced a two-year delay in the shutdown of all copper-based phone lines across the UK, now set for 2027 instead of the original 2025 deadline. For small businesses and startups in the UK, shifting to alternative phone solutions sooner rather than later could be wise so they don’t end up without a method of communication.

Why Is the Landline Switch Off Necessary?


The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) has been the backbone of communication in the UK since the 1880s. This network, built on copper lines, is becoming increasingly fragile and expensive to maintain. Additionally, it is now evident that the traditional network cannot cope with the growing data demands of modern users, necessitating a more robust connectivity system.

As a result, the analogue switch-off will permanently retire both the PSTN and the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). These will be replaced by fully digital lines, aimed at delivering a more efficient and reliable network for connectivity.


Why Is the Landline Switch Off Delayed?


BT had originally scheduled the switch-off for December 2025. However, transitioning on such a large scale involves significant complexities. As more users and organisations have adopted digital services, various issues have emerged.

A major concern is the potential impact on those dependent on telecare support, a monitoring service for elderly, disabled, and vulnerable individuals living alone.

Digital services are more susceptible to outages compared to copper connectivity. This raises the risk for vulnerable or elderly users, whose lives could be endangered during a power cut or shortage if their telecare systems rely solely on digital lines.

The delay in the analogue switch-off will provide telecare providers and local authorities additional time to upgrade their services and ensure vulnerable individuals are adequately supported in the event of an outage.

How Does the Delay Affect Small Businesses?


Surveys indicate that around 9 out of 10 businesses have essential services that relfy on the PSTN. So, small businesses have a bit more time to prepare for the switch, thanks to BT’s delay – or so they think. It is still recommended for small businesses to maintain their focus on the original December 2025 switch-off to ensure risk-free migrations and seamless service continuity, from simple to complex needs.

This urgency is particularly relevant for the public sector and other organisations responsible for the care of vulnerable people and the elderly. Immediate action is needed by small businesses, especially those owning, operating, and managing buildings, to address issues related to service continuity, fire safety, and security.

While communication providers (CPs) know which organisations are using PSTN services and should reach out to them directly, the responsibility for upgrades and hardware updates ultimately lies with the customer. Many small businesses may need new phone handsets and might have to retrain staff on new service dashboards.

Small businesses might want to consider hiring a third-party solution provider to migrate all your phone numbers to IP services, supply phones and headsets, and offer a call management platform. This could ease the process for your business and minimise the risk of downtime and outages during the switch.


What Is the Best Alternative to Landlines for Small Businesses?


The alternative solution to the 2025 landline switch-off is an internet-based phone service or VoIP. These services work in a similar way to landlines, but rather than using copper wires to transmit messages, VoIP sends messages over the internet. Analogue calls are converted into digital data packets which are then routed to the other end of the via before the process is reversed to reveal the sender’s audio.

Unlike landlines, VoIP does not rely on a physical location or handset. Therefore for those working remotely, it can make a world of difference to a previously restrictive system. Much like popular mobile apps such as WhatsApp or Skype, this technology can be used from anywhere with a steady internet connection, making it an ideal modern alternative to business communications. 


What Are The Benefits of VoIP For Small Businesses?


VoIP phone systems are one of the best alternatives to landlines for small businesses, and offer a range of benefits to UK businesses, no matter the industry or size of the company. It might seem daunting to change from a familiar system, but the switch-off will come in 2027 whether we are ready or not. Putting steps into place to ease the transition is therefore essential, particularly for businesses that rely on digital communications.




A great benefit is that VoIP systems are often pretty affordable. There is no need to invest in expensive hardware, plus the call costs of VoIP phones are cheaper than those of landlines, making the switch a wise decision both practically and financially. What’s more, there are no maintenance fees as the majority of issues can be handled digitally, removing the need for an IT support team. 


Easily Integrated


Integrating a VoIP business phone system into any existing software, including CRM and HR applications is straightforward and easy to implement. VoIP systems allow users to conduct tasks in a quicker and more streamlined manner compared to traditional software which is used individually. For example, VoIP apps can be used to enter customer information straight into your CRM without having to wait until the call is finished. VoIP business integration is therefore a huge benefit to the technology. 


Increased Functionality


Finally, VoIP has a number of impressive features all in one place. With personalised voicemail, call forwarding, customised hold music, and a whole host of other professional features, UK businesses can take their communication to the next level, without the hassle of installing a range of individual programmed elements.