The clock is ticking on the UK’s Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) as preparations for its shutdown gain momentum for the closure in 2025. As of April 2021, 297 exchanges have now been issued with a Stop/Sell notice with notices of other tranches to be subsequently released. In this blog we look at what this means to you and what should you consider.

The most significant impact of the PSTN shutdown for most will be that any services supported on any Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) product will need to migrate to new fibre products. The withdrawal of the PSTN will also impact single analogue lines, multi-lines, ISDN2 and ISDN30, local loop unbundling SMPF (sub loop unbundling metallic path facility), narrowband line share and classic products.

Broadband customers that have ADSL supported by single analogue lines will need to move to a new product such as SOGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access) which is a fibre-to-the-cabinet or a fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) product.

For merchants using TNS Dial for transmission of their payment transactions to their acquirer(s), there are two potential options to connect via IP to their associated terminal(s):

Option 1 – Where the terminal is already IP enabled:

In this situation the local access provider will supply a new IP router as part of the provision of your alternate service and the IP enabled terminal will connect via the ethernet port on the router. This will require using the ethernet cable provided with the terminal. Work through the checklist in this infographic to confirm your readiness.

Option 2 – Where the terminal is not IP enabled:

Typically, the only option is to connect the terminal to the router via the Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA). This allows a local analogue connection to the router. Then all transactions will still be sent over the IP network from the router (via the carrier’s network) onto the merchant’s acquirer. This solution is not an optimum solution as the merchant could possibly see a degradation of service which will have an adverse effect on sending transactions to the acquirer for authorisation.

Customers using TNSLink for payment transactions and ATM communications should explore the following:

  1. Review your installed base to identify those premises that are of strategic importance to your business.
  2. Prioritise those locations against the current published Stop/Sell notices for the affected local exchange(s).
  3. Check if you have contracts for affected PSTN/WLR services with multiple providers.

Following these steps should allow you to prepare for and approach the switch off strategically so that you can make decisions at the most beneficial time. Don’t let the 2025 deadline lull you into a false sense of security, the change is happening now and it’s moving promptly on schedule. Every new Stop/Sell notice gives an advance 12-month warning that WLR services will no longer be available from that exchange after that date. This year more than 170 exchanges will pass their Stop/Sell dates.

Stop-Sell Calendar
Salisbury Trial (FFTP Priority Exchange 1 Exchange Starts 01/12/2020
Mildenhall Trial (WLR Withdrawal) 1 Exchange Starts 04/05/2021
Tranche One(a) (FTTP Priority Exchange) 13 Exchanges Starts 29/06/2021
Tranche One(b)(FTTP Priority Exchange) 104 Exchanges Starts 5/10/2021
Tranche Two (FTTP Priority Exchange) 51 Exchanges Starts 5/10/2021
Tranche Three (FTTP Priority Exchange) 51 Exchanges Starts 25/01/2022
Tranche Four (FTTP Priority Exchange) 77 Exchanges Starts 29/04/2022
National WLR Stop Sell (WLR Withdrawal) All Exchanges Starts 09/23
Trial Ends Salisbury and Mildenhall Ends 16/12/2022

If you would like to be kept up to date on developments and the latest exchanges to be receive a Stop/Sell notice, please bookmark our dedicated UK WLR Switch website. You can also join our LinkedIn group and speak directly with your TNS account manager.

Lisa Sutton is Vice President and Country Manager for TNS’ UK and Ireland Payments Market business. As part of TNS’ wider European leadership team, Lisa is responsible for all business activities in her region.