In this article, we will be looking at the alternatives to ISDN. And which ISDN alternatives are best for your business.

The NBN has recently announced that they will start to remove the ISDN lines from the ground for Fibre to the Node, Fibre to the Building and Fibre to the Premises, and we can speculate that they will also remove it for Fibre to the Curb.

This removal is scheduled to begin from the 30th of September 2019. So, with the removal process beginning imminently, it is time to consider your upgrade options. We are here to help, and through this guide, we will explain to you the ins and outs of ISDN and how you can make a smooth and easy transition.

What Is ISDN?

ISDN stands for ‘Integrated Services Digital Network’. ISDN is a technology which enables the transmission of digital data over standard phone lines, and it was used for both voice calls and data transfers. There are two groups – Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and Primary Rate Interface (PRI) which have five types of service – SDN2, ISDN2 Enhanced, ISDN10, ISDN20 and ISDN30.

ISDN technology is known as the ‘original digital internet’ – it became popular with many of our customers in the 1990s and 2000s as it was the faster alternative to dial-up, plus offered a number of other benefit’s for running telephone systems on. However, over the past few years in Australia ISDN has started to become replaced with NBN and Fiber internet because of their faster connection speed and lower cost. Still, ISDN is still used by some businesses and individuals, and so will need to be replaced once the removal begins in September 2019.

Why Did Companies Use ISDN?

As we have said, in the early 2000s ISDN started becoming replaced by DSL and Cable. However, many companies still continued (and do continue) to use ISDN. There are advantages to using an ISDN over PSTN services, and they are as follows:

  • Faster call set-up capabilities
  • A guaranteed data rate (64kps for each connection)
  • Can handle different types of service (voice, data and video)
  • Supports channel bonding for higher bandwidth applications
  • As a digital technology, ISDN enables more features for voice in combination with a PABX system compared with analogue technology.

The downfall to using ISDN is that it is very costly when compared to traditional copper phone lines and now the latest in VoIP and SIP technology.

What Is Happening To ISDN? What’s The Timelines

As we have mentioned, ISDN lines are being removed. All of the major phone carriers in Australia – such as Telstra, Optus and SpringCom – stopped selling ISDN earlier this year, so no new ISDN connections have been put in for new customers. However, carriers have still been maintaining their ISDN connection for existing customers. Now, the NBN co. have officially announced that, beginning 30th September 2019, they will commence the removal of the old ISDN network for any business that has a Fibre to the building, Premises and/or Node (we also suspect that they will announce the same for Fibre to the Curb, but cannot confirm this yet).

Then according to Telstra it’s ‘anticipated‘ all the ISDN network affected by these changes will be removed by 2022! However, the final removal date will be different area to area, and even street by street, so it’s worth seeking advice on transitioning to another service before it’s to late.

So, businesses that do use ISDN will have to upgrade. This is not something that can be ignored or delayed, as the ISDN cables will simply not be in the ground anymore!

ISDN Alternatives

Essentially, with ISDN becoming defunct, if you have an ISDN connection you need to replace this with a new internet connection to run your phone system.

NBN (Great For Most Businesses)

The first option is moving to run your communications over an NBN connection. This is a great solution for many businesses as the NBN offers more than enough bandwidth to run the latest SIP/VoIP based phone systems.

Business Fibre

Another option is moving to business fibre. Business fibre uses fibre optic cables, and so is delivered without the existing copper network. Because of this, it offers extreme speed and bandwidth and is a great solution for businesses which require superior performance and speed.

What Phone Systems Will Work With Your New Internet Connection?

Most of our customer have opted for a cloud-based phone system. Cloud-based systems deliver calls and PBX-style functionality over your Internet connection! There is no need for multiple landlines or expensive PBX equipment, and so more and more medium and large businesses are using the cloud for their business communications. Plus, with no line rental fees the system is a lot more cost effective than a traditional landline and delivers calls at lower rates. Click here to read more about our cloud-based phone system offerings.

Another option is continuing to use or switching to an on-premise phone system. you can learn more about on-premise phone systems here.


To sum it all up, the NBN is removing the old ISDN network. So if you currently have ISDN it is time to start thinking about your options. Do not delay in doing this – we want you to have a smooth, hassle-free transition.

Call us to find out what the best upgrade path is if you have ISDN products. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you every step of the way.