Big changes are afoot in the world of internet connectivity, and telephony, across the sector.
Traditional copper phone lines in the UK are being switched off forever in 2025, meaning your organisation may need to switch its internet connection(s).
The COVID-19 pandemic already transformed how businesses use telephones; across the country plastic desk phones gathered dust as we all switched to mobiles, Zoom and Teams to make and receive calls.
In this article, we discuss how your organisation can seize this opportunity to evolve and optimise connectivity and telephony for the modern hybrid workplace ahead of the deadline.
BT announced in 2015 that they will move all customers from the old analogue public switched telephone network (PSTN) to a fully digital network by 2025. At this point, every phone line in the UK will be digital, routing calls over the internet (VOIP) rather than the traditional network.
If your charity uses phone lines for calls, internet, card payments etc. you may need to move it to an internet-based system to ensure continuity of service. Here are some areas to consider to kickstart the transition process:
- Review your organisation’s telephony infrastructure to identify what might need to be updated. This may include services such as phone systems, tills or PDQ machines, faxes, alarms or CCTV systems.
- You will need to plan what to do with these systems. As a first port of call speak to your current provider(s) about the switch off and what your options are. This can be compared with other providers to ensure you’re getting market rate.
- It is also important to consider digital compliance and security in the initial stages of preparing for the switch. This is to ensure that your new digital services are secure, will comply with regulatory requirements such as PCI, and that measures are in place to protect sensitive data.
- Now is a great time to update your connectivity. It’s amazing how many times we find people using old, slow internet lines just because they’ve been there for years. Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) now offer “Full Fibre” – or Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) – for under £100 per month. Alternatively, Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) is still relatively fast and cheap. The latest version of FTTC is called “SOGEA” but it is broadly the same thing. For offices up to 20 or so people this is usually sufficient. Above that, the bigger option is Dedicated Internet Access, otherwise known as a Leased Line, which is your own fully dedicated fibre line. These start at 100Mbps and as a guide, are around £300 per month. Confused? Ofcom produced a useful guide to this here, or speak to us!
It’s amazing how fast things change; only a few years ago it was perfectly normal to be at your fixed workstation in the office 5 days a week, with a phone handset on your desk and a big PC under it!
Now, landline telephone calls and calling groups can all be handled within digital platforms like Microsoft Teams. This means that staff don’t need a separate desk phone, app or work mobile for voice calls – it’s all done within Teams.
Better yet, it’s easy to navigate and given that many organisations use Teams already, little or no staff training is usually required. Other benefits of consolidating your telephony/VOIP into Teams include:
- You can migrate your existing 01 / 02 / 08 numbers into Teams to make/receive calls from your laptop or the mobile app.
- Calling / Hunt Groups, Receptionist Handset, Out of Hours call routing are all included at no extra cost.
- Microsoft offer unrivalled reliability – they provide a 99.97% up-time guarantee.
- Call recording and reporting are available within the Microsoft 365 admin console.
How we can help
At Smartdesc, we partner with Gamma, one of Europe’s leading B2B communications providers, to offer a connectivity and voice solution tailored to charities.
Our service includes a fit-for-purpose and affordable internet connection for your main office(s) which can be extended to home workers if required. The telephony is all done via Teams, and includes all the minutes to landlines and mobiles you need, from only £7 per user per month (including the Microsoft Teams Phone license); cheaper than going direct to Microsoft! Physical desk phones are also available for users with accessibility needs, or reception / common areas.
Our experienced team are on hand to do the migration, train your staff, and provide ongoing support staff as required. We also leverage Microsoft non-profit licensing to ensure maximum cost savings for your charity.
If you have any questions about migrating your organisation to a new internet connection and/or MS Teams telephony solution, please get in touch.
About the Author
Smartdesc is an IT Service Provider, Microsoft Gold Partner and NCVO Trusted Supplier who support charities and non-profits in the UK to improve their IT systems, reduce their cyber security risk, and develop their IT Strategies. We partner with household names such as Mind, Terrence Higgins, WaterAid and the YMCA; our mission is to share best practice and innovation in the Third Sector. To find out more and to book a complimentary consultation click here.