The Governments Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review highlighted that the existing UK analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) was no longer capable of supporting the infrastructure required for the growing connectivity needs of consumers and businesses.
This has an impact on existing security and fire systems which signal to an alarm receiving centre so business owners may suffer repercussions if appropriate action is not taken. New standards have been published to reflect the changes in alarm transmission signalling systems, so it is important that any changes to existing signalling systems maintain the equivalent previous grading to remain compliant with any alarm conditions applied by Insurers.
Within the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, two key dates were highlighted: September 2023, when Openreach will officially stop selling new PSTN lines in readiness for the formal closure of all PSTN lines by the end of December 2025, at which point the infrastructure will be replaced by a fully digital network that carries data using Internet Protocol (IP).
Although the migration to the IP Network began as early as June 2021, there are still a significant number of signalling systems which have yet to be transferred. The telecoms providers can do this at any time, which may mean that current signalling systems are not compatible with the new technology, leaving premises without the previous level of fire and security protection.
Businesses that have alarms using the phone line to send alarm signals, will need to check with their alarm provider to confirm that the equipment they have works with a digital phone line.
As remote signalling to an alarm receiving centre on security and fire systems is often a requirement of an insurance contract, we would recommend that the next steps businesses should take are that they contact their security and/or fire alarm system installers who will be able to advise on the options which are available. The current equipment may need to be tested to ensure that it is compatible with the digital network.
If the equipment needs to be upgraded to a new IP signalling system, there are several new products which have been developed by signalling providers specifically for the digital switch-over.
Alarm companies have been aware of this transition since 2017 but to avoid any potential disruption, businesses should look to start their transition now, if it has not already commenced, and speak to their alarm provider as soon as possible.