PSTN Shutdown, awareness is still a concern

Posted on: 5th June 2023, by Tracey Wright

From our previous articles (see Life after the PSTN)  you will know our views on awareness campaigns and, through our work with CCUK, I was delighted to be invited to join a panel at a Tech UK event to share my thoughts on this topic.

The event itself was aimed at helping businesses navigate the PSTN shutdown and move to IP services.  The recordings and slides can be found here Tech UK – Preparing for the digital switchover

The audience enjoyed presentations from DSIT, BT Enterprise, Openreach and a number of other relevant and well-informed industry representatives.  It was interesting, but perhaps not surprising, to hear various parties throughout the morning state that a national awareness campaign wouldn’t work or be appropriate because there is no standard message that would be useful.

Is a national awareness campaign too difficult?

Obviously, there are other reasons why a widespread campaign is difficult such as cost, who should pay or what specific message you send.  The overriding view of some speakers appeared to be that, because the impact and timings of the migration will differ by area, user type, service and so on; any blanket message would cause confusion.

Whilst we do accept the question of funding and responsibility is a tricky one and one that could spark a whole separate article, but it does seem short sighted to let this stand in the way of something which could go a long way to protecting both consumer harm and business interruption.

It’s no secret that people and businesses have a lot to cope with right now, proactively thinking about migrating their phone service is likely to be fairly low down on the list without prompting.

And yes of course there will be some who won’t expect to be impacted at all because they have no reliance on the PSTN… that they are aware of.  However, I don’t think this is a good enough reason to not be raising general awareness.  The PSTN switch off will impact more people than it won’t – and even those that aren’t impacted are very likely to know friends, family, workplaces etc that will be impacted.  Wouldn’t everyone having a basic understanding of the potential implications be sensible?

What else can we try?

Despite our enthusiasm for a national awareness campaign, we do of course know that no one intervention will bring result in a successful migration for the UK, rather we need to take a multipronged approach.

  • We need a common language so everyone in the value chain understands what products are available and where.  What that means for users and what impacts the change might have.


  • We need Communication Providers (CPs) to proactively reach out to their client base (and potential customers) to help them understand how the changes will impact them and what options they have.


  • We need users to be motivated to enquire how the changes will impact them and be ready to engage with the migration process.  Particularly important when you consider the CPs probably have very little idea of what the user is actually relying on their current access line for.


The third point is where an awareness campaign would help, in my opinion.  By sending a simple message to check your services, learn about the changes and check the impact for you, the worst this could do is provoke a bunch of people to call their CP only to be told they are already migrated and not to worry.  But for many this may be the start of the process to identify challenges, vulnerabilities and so on.

Playing our part

Meanwhile, we will continue trying to do our bit by updating our clients and working with CCUK to engage with members and provide them with resources for their customers.  We are also engaging with a number of initiatives that, hopefully, will drive further awareness and will share more details as and when those get going.

We have put together our own ‘simple guide’ (screenshots below) to try and help spread the message in a really simple way – if anyone would like the presentation to re-use or add your own branding please do contact us at

Additional resources

Please also visit the following resources.

Simple guide to IP migration