Don’t forget your diallers as the Copper Switch-Off looms

2 mins read

Modern digital fibre telephone switchboards, with their ability to forward incoming calls to remote workers and facilitate secure video conferencing kept Britain’s businesses alive during Covid-19.

And in the background, of course, all those long-standing fire and burglar alarms, lift call lines and payment machines kept on running just the way they always had, automatically drawing their 48Volt operating current from the old copper phone lines.

Now all those familiar back-office support services are at risk.

When BT retires the old pre-war copper telephone network in 2025, businesses are simply going to be expected to be all-fibre, all-IT.  That means a huge amount of legacy equipment - from emergency pull-cords in disabled toilets to automatic process overload sensors to overnight computer back-ups – will probably need ripping out and replacing with new, mains-powered kit. And if you want it to keep working in a power cut, it’ll need battery back-up as well.

Why haven’t the telephone companies or the government or the regulator told us all about this? They will say they have. They all stuck their names on a website, after all.  And they’re getting ready to blame business owners for not having gone and checked that stuff which has been working for decades will keep on working once they change the goal-posts.

That’s why Britain’s specialist business telecoms providers have launched an intiative to help business owners get the informed, impartial advice they need to assess the risks before the 2025 switch-off deadline.

Enter Fit To Switch – an all-industry, supplier-agnostic campaign from Comms Business:

  • Speaking directly to Britain’s businesses in jargon-free language.
  • Persuading folks to double-check your back-office systems are all switch-off ready.
  • Pointing to the experience, insight and contacts of industry-specialist communications providers for professional advice and expert consultancy.

Fit To Switch moves beyond wishful thinking, noble-sounding but impotent websites and telecoms industry jargon. The campaign carries the message to check and replace legacy equipment straight to Britain’s business-owners and senior managers.

Fit To Switch’s initial test-marketing campaign has already engaged 115,815 factory-owners and senior engineering managers via editorial features and survey questionnaires in Operations Engineer, Manufacturing Management, The Engineer and Transport Engineer.

“Fit To Switch has been two years in the making,” said Comms Business publisher Mat Swift. “It started with, frankly, our incredulity that nobody was leading this campaign; it reflected on Openreach’s frustration at the difficulties of influencing business owners;  it moved through serious discussions with the big wholesale providers and it ended up with a full-blown sanity-testing campaign with real factory owners.

“We know there’s a crying need for impartial advice. Fit To Switch states the problem in language business owners understand, through media they trust.  And it points squarely to the professionalism and expertise of business telecoms specialists to help them manage-out their vulnerabilities.

“We are delighted the campaign is so strongly supported by the specialist connectivity brands: Daisy, Gamma, Giacom and Sangoma are our founding National Champions. Each of them will be making Fit To Switch resources available via their reseller customers. 

“Together with CSL, the internet-of-things specialists and Comms Council UK, our National Champions’ support means the website at launch already represents the largest concentration of knowledge and specialist resources on the subject. That will only grow as more businesses use the site to assess their own potential vulnerabilities, free of charge.

"And we look forward to seeing more specialist services come on board, as the campaign rolls out into specialist markets like Healthcare, Education and Agriculture in the weeks ahead.”