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Is it time to switch from BT Versatility to a new IP telephone system?

With the impending shutdown of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) scheduled for 2025, analogue and ISDN phone systems are about to become obsolete. If your business relies on a BT Versatility system that is set up to work over PSTN or ISDN lines, you will need to make the inevitable transition to a digital IP line soon. You could stay with BT, or you could try a more affordable alternative IP telephony solution from Lake Technologies.

What is BT Versatility?

BT Versatility is the telecoms provider’s “communications in a box” solution for small businesses. The base system includes two or four lines and allows up to eight extensions to be connected. The lines can be either analogue, ISDN Basic Rate, a combination of both or Primary Rate ISDN. The modular design lets you expand capacity as your business grows.

The BT Versatility handset, known as Featurephone, has a large display area that features an intuitive menu-driven interface. The whole BT Versatility system is designed to be extremely flexible. You have the choice of operating the system as either a key system where all users have direct access to all lines, as a PABX with all calls being answered by an operator console or as a combination of both.

BT Versatility troubleshooting tips

Here at Lake Technologies, we quite often receive questions about how to configure certain aspects of a BT Versatility system. So we thought we’d provide some helpful troubleshooting tips for some of your more common queries.

How to change the time on BT Versatility phones

To set the time and date on your BT Versatility system, follow these simple steps:

  1. From the Programming Extension, press the Program key.
  2. Press the Scroll Down Key and select System programming.
  3. Enter the System Programming Password and select System.
  4. Select Time and date.
  5. Enter the correct time in 24-hour format. The display will prompt for a date. If you only wish to set the time select Confirm and the display will revert to the Idle Menu.
  6. Enter the date in dd/mm/yy format. When the date has been entered the display will revert to the Idle Menu.
  7. Press the Hands-free Key to finish programming.

In the event of a power failure, you will need to reset the time and date. Changes to the system Time will only take place when any external calls in progress at that time have cleared.

How to reset BT Versatility

There are two system reset options available – a warm and a cold reset.

CAUTION: These are complete system resets, not individual extension resets.

From the Programming extension, press the PROGRAMME Key, then:

  1. Press the Scroll Down Key until ‘System programming’ is displayed.
  2. Select ‘System programming’.
  3. Enter the System Programming Password and select ‘System’.
  4. Press the Scroll Down Key until ‘Reset options’ is displayed.
  5. Select ‘Reset!’ or ‘Reset to default!’.

Selecting ‘Reset!’ (warm reset) will reset the system and cut off all established calls. Selecting ‘Reset to default!’ (cold reset) will reset the system, cut off all established calls and remove all programming from the system.

How to commission a BT Versatility system

To commission a BT Versatility system, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Remove any anti-scratch protective film from Featurephone LCDs.
  2. Label up all Featurephones and other telephones.
  3. Ensure that all Featurephones provide dialling tone, ringing and hands free (loud speaking) facilities.
  4. Check that the display is not showing corrupt information.
  5. Carry out a ‘First Day Reset’.
  6. Check that all other telephones are connected.
  7. Make sure all these phones ring and that you can dial from them.
  8. Commission System.

A cost-effective alternative to BT Versatility

BT plans to continue selling new supplies of Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), ISDN2 and ISDN30 systems until 2023. Of course, within two years, those systems will become obsolete because their network arm, Openreach, is due to shut down the PSTN by 2025. An estimated 16 million lines and channels will need to migrate from analogue to digital telephone lines as a result.

IP voice products offer a digital quality line, greater flexibility, cheaper calls and a better overall experience. BT will support customers during and after the transition period, providing the digital products and infrastructure needed to make the switch. Of course, all of this will come at a cost to the consumer.

Our advice is two-fold: Firstly, it is a good idea to begin your succession planning early to ensure you have plenty of time to assess your needs and secure a good value IP telephone system. Secondly, just know that you aren’t limited to BT’s services. In fact, Lake Technologies has collaborated with a number of network partners to bring you IP telephony packages that deliver significant cost-savings.

Despite the initial inconvenience of having to make the switch to digital voice calls, moving to VoIP telephony could be the ideal opportunity for your business to make tangible savings in the long run and to partner with a local business telecoms provider who can tailor a cost-effective phone system based on your individual needs.

For more information about our exclusive IP telephony packages here at Lake Technologies, please contact us today on 0333 200 4031 or to arrange a free consultation.