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The Best Way To Prepare For The ISDN Shutdown

The ISDN shutdown is in effect across Australia. The best course of action to take in order to ensure you are fully prepared for the changeover is to give yourself as much time as possible to make the move. From the 30th of September 2019, the shutdown began, with businesses being given six months prior to that to prepare for it. If you are still navigating the best way to approach this, it’s best to start acting immediately.

Too often in similar circumstances, businesses wait to the last minute to take action and then find that their infrastructure is not equipped to deal with the new technology, or the bottleneck can’t deliver services to them when they had anticipated.

Prepare a migration strategy so that your entire team is aware of their role in their process, as well as how it will affect them. This is also an important step to take so that you can keep your customers or clients well-informed ahead of time as well as during the changeover. Here are our pointers on how best to prepare for the ISDN shutdown.

Know When You Will Be Affected

The ISDN shutdown rollout plan already exists and is being implemented. Where your business stands in the queue will affect the level of preparation that is required now, but you will only know exactly where that is 90 days before shutdown becomes a reality for you. When your time comes, your communications provider – Telstra, TPG, Optus etc – will get in touch with you to let you know you’re in the queue for that particular date. 90 days is probably not enough time to get your systems and infrastructure in place for a seamless transition, which is why we stress that you start the process today. Your 90-day call might come tomorrow!

One thing that will offer a tell-tale sign to your shutdown date is whether or not your business has already moved over to the the National Broadband Network (NBN). If you aren’t in an NBN-ready area, you still have more time than those who are. However, we recommend that you don’t take this as an invitation for delay and rather get your systems in place in preparation.

You can check to see when your business address is scheduled to become NBN-ready here.

Preparing For Delays

Six months is an adequate amount of time to give your business in order to become fully compliant, ready and able to make the transition. There might be delays in the shutdown process that could set you back, so this should give you enough time to navigate this. Should you decide to migrate before your designated cut-off date, you will buy yourself some more time to mitigate unforeseen challenges. If you are at liberty to migrate before, then the recommendation is to do so.

You might also experience delays due to your current systems. If your phone system is older than four years, you should consider replacing it with a more current version. If it cannot integrate with the digital NBN fibre network, then you will definitely need to look at a replacement. But this shouldn’t be cause for concern, as the benefits of switching are attractive:

• More reliable means of communication
• You will enable remote working for your employees
• A new phone system will lead to enhanced productivity for all teams involved
• You can scale up or down according to how many people need access
• You can have a virtual receptionist
• Telstra customers also have an opportunity to pay off a new phone system over either 24 or 36 months

If you’re not ready to consider a completely new phone system, consider an interim technology that sits between ISDN and SIP. If your current system is still meeting all business requirements and you don’t want to spend the extra money now, this will still work.

Other delays could include:

• Incompetence with your chosen retail service provider (RSP) who will be offering your new service. They will need to deal directly with the NBN, which can cause delays if they have a host of customers to attend to. Make sure you choose a provider with NBNTM Business Accredited Adviser status.
• Your ISDN migration order also might be rejected due to incomplete customer details, address mismatches etc. You won’t be told if this happens, so if there is a delay in progress, your RSP will need to follow up with the NBN.
• Appointments to disconnect ISDN and connect your new replacement service need to be perfectly timed. This could also result in delays if not coordinated properly.

Choosing A Phone System

Your first choice must be between hosted or on-premises services. Hosted will come with a monthly fee for managed services, whereas the latter will be for your IT team to control. Once you know which option you are going for, you can create a list of requirements to measure services against:

Features: Consider what you will need to run business effectively. Does it need to integrate with your CRM? Do you need high definition video calls? Is call monitoring something you’d like? Do you need a fully custom solution or something out-of-the-box?
Bandwidth options: The quality of your calls will rely on the amount of bandwidth you have. Choose wisely and not just according to cost. Small to medium sized businesses can get away with a standard 40Mbps broadband plan.
Assess current hardware: As mentioned above, delays could be as a result of not being equipped with a system that is compatible with the changeover. Make sure you know what you need to stay operational.
Review providers: There are many options to choose from, but not all as reliable as the next. Read reviews, do the investigative work, compare prices and features. Your provider needs to provide a solution, oversee installation, oversee cabling, provide full support.
Check security: any Internet-based service comes with security challenges. Make sure your business and new phone system will be adequately protected.

Porting Numbers

Porting numbers means that your existing phone lines will now be virtually hosted. You will be able to use your existing telephone numbers, provided you migrate before the stipulated time. If you are disconnected before you migrate, you will lose your numbers. Delays are already being experienced in number porting, so while waiting for any ports to be completed, you can opt for temporary call redirects to be put in place to ensure you don’t miss any important calls. Your provider will be able to advise you in this area.

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