ISDN services, also known as Integrated Services Digital Network, have been the main form of telephonic communications services in Australia for many years. Voice, fax and video have been powered via ISDN in the past, but the service is currently in the process of being disconnected across the country to make way for next generation services such as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
With the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN), all copper lines were to be replaced with fibre network. This has now made it possible for communication upgrades to be made across Australia, hence the ISDN shutdown.
In the beginning of 2018, Telstra stopped the sale of ISDN services to new customers. They then stopped selling ISDN lines completely in June of 2018. This shutdown has been in the pipeline for a while and is finally coming to a head. New businesses have already been forced into their own migration of sorts, which will prove beneficial to them during this process.
What Is The ISDN Shutdown?
From the 30th of September 2019, rollout began on the shutdown of ISDN services across Australia. The majority of Australian businesses running their communications platforms using ISDN were given a period of six months grace – from Telstra and the ACCC - to prepare for the switch.
By 2022, Telstra has advised that ISDN services will no longer be in effect and will no longer receive support either. The full spectrum of services includes:
• ISDN2 enhanced
• ISDN 10/20/30
• DDS Fastway
• Frame Relay
Who Is It Going To Affect?
All Australian businesses that power their communications using ISDN will be affected as the service will eventually become obsolete. As it is phased out, services and support for ISDN will also probably become more expensive to manage, so it will be in your business’s best interests to migrate as soon as possible.
When Will Your Organisation Be Affected?
The ISDN shutdown has already begun, so – as we have already mentioned - it’s best to start making your move sooner rather than later. There is already an ISDN shutdown schedule in place that is spread out over the months from now until 2022. Depending on where your business is in the schedule will determine how long you have before you need to make the move.
All ISDN customers are being advised to make the appropriate preparations long before the proposed cut-off date. Aligning your ISDN line changeover with when your premises becomes NBN-ready is possibly the best option for you to take. You can find out when your area is scheduled for fibre rollout here.
As you can imagine, all Australian businesses running on ISDN will be migrating in the coming months – if they haven’t already – and switching on services such as VoIP or SIP will probably be delayed due to backlogs. When the final push comes for changeover, the backlog will probably be at its worst. Take the time now to review your options and find a suitable VoIP or SIP provider who can deliver on what your business communication needs.
What Can You Do About It?
In terms of opposing the idea, there isn’t any merit in that. The shutdown is in effect and is a part of the National Broadband Network rollout schedule. The best thing to do is to prepare your business to migrate from ISDN to a new generation alternative such as SIP or VoIP. Both of these are top-quality solutions that are superior to ISDN in their deliverables, so you’re not being short-changed. In this situation – change is good!
Here are some tips that will make the process easier:
• Audit your current setup: Your current infrastructure and hardware could influence your decision-making process. Think about how your business currently uses data, how calls are directed, if you have messaging and if you do, how does it work? Audit your communications and see what will integrate with the changeover and what needs to go.
• Research providers: Before you migrate, do some research to ensure you find a reliable provider to assist you. The change alone will be disruptive to your business, so you will want to streamline as much of the process as possible. Make sure you choose a provider with NBNTM Business Accredited Adviser status. Your network provider will be responsible for ensuring that you are migrated and operational with as little downtime as possible. Read reviews, do the research and speak to other businesses about available options. Making the right choice here will make all the difference.
• Build a migration plan: Going into it without a plan could you leave your lines down for extended periods of time, which is never good for business. Build a process plan that will ensure you are always online and available through various means. Align this with the relevant customer communication so that your customers are aware of how to maintain contact.
• Research your options: You can choose between hosted and on-premise services, which means that you can either pay a monthly management fee to a company to host your services, or you can manage it in-house. The answer to which is best for your business will generally come down to your IT department’s capabilities. Have the necessary discussions with your IT team to understand what they can manage before making the decision.
Embrace the ISDN shutdown, and take a proactive stance towards how it will affect your business. Armed with the right information, and supported by the right service provider, you can navigate this change without fear or pitfalls.