Don’t be Stranded on the Highway warns Funkwerk

BT’s plans to end all BT Highway ISDN services between now and July may leave customers stranded warns Funkwerk Enterprise Communications. The threat comes as a result of BT’s 21CN project to provide a new generation future-proofed and intelligent network, which will not support either Business Highway or Home Highway lines.

BT plans to offer European standard BT ISDN2e lines to customers as a possible conversion path. However, Funkwerk believes that many companies with multiple branches that rely daily on Highway services are not fully aware of the changes which may affect their business critical operations.

The end of BT Highway is a particular problem for companies that need to keep existing phone numbers and use the analogue line ports on their Highway boxes. These are often used for PDQs (credit card terminals) or fax connections, for example.

“BT’s 21CN project is possibly a bigger change than the upgrade from mechanical to digital exchanges, yet the fact that services such as BT Highway are coming to an end will still be news to many companies who rely them,” says Richard Jones managing director at NXGEAR.com, a Funkwerk distributor.

However, Funkwerk offers a range of easy and low cost PBX solutions which current BT Highway customers can use to support analogue lines, ISDN and even VoIP services.

The elmeg T240, T444 and T484 provide from two to 12 analogue ports from a single ISDN2e that will behave almost exactly like a direct analogue line. This includes keeping direct phone numbers to each analogue port and direct access to the BT line so no ‘9’ prefix is needed and so the connected equipment will require no setup or operational alterations.

By using one of the Funkwerk PBXs, it is also possible to combine numbers from several analogue or Highway lines onto one ISDN2e, so incoming calls can be sent directly to one or more analogue extension ports and conversely, out going calls get the choice of any free channel. This can be very useful to support several faxes without having to pay line rentals or allow multiple PDQs to share lines efficiently. Funkwerk also offers ISDN Router, RAS server and supports dialup networking for additional backup.

“BT will soon start terminating Highway services starting first in Cardiff, so this is a problem that must be addressed promptly,” says Richard Jones. “But with the right action it is possible to increase functionality and business continuity while reducing costs.”

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