What is the digital telephone switchover?
In 2017, BT announced the digital telephone switchover, which means that all homes and businesses in the UK will move from analogue telephones to a faster digital system. With work already underway, BT plans to completely the switch off the old network in 2025. This change applies to all phone lines no matter who your telephone provider is (BT, Virgin, Sky, Talk Talk etc).
Frequently Asked Questions
Your telephone provider will let you know when this is happening, and you won’t need to do anything about your phone service until then. Telephone landlines will still exist, and you can still have a landline telephone at home. It is the network that the phone uses that will be different.
The existing analogue phone lines (or copper lines) are now old and becoming increasingly unreliable and expensive. The switchover is happening due to the demand for faster networks and connectivity. Alongside this, broadband connections rely increasingly on fibre optic networks. As well as the infrastructure benefits, it also offers benefits such as clearer calls, the ability to make multiple calls at the same time and the possibility of accessing your landline in other locations. In time, it will also allow telephone providers to develop tools to better protect their customers against scam and nuisance calls.
This depends on your telephone provider. There are over 14 million lines in the UK that need to be upgraded so it’s going to take a while. For homes that already have a telephone line, your service provider will contact you when they’re ready to do your line. If you want to find out more, you should contact your telephone provider.
The new digital telephone network will be internet-based (called an ‘IP network’). This means you won’t be able to make calls without an internet connection at home. If you already have broadband, then this network will be used. If you don’t have broadband, then your telephone provider will provide a simple internet connection just for making calls.
Your telephone provider will send you a digital hub (if you do not already have one) that you will need to connect your phone to. Any other equipment, like a personal alarm (for example, a Carecall pendant alarm), will also need to be connected to the digital hub. You may also need to replace your telephone handset, although your telephone provider can advise on this.
This will depend on your handset. Many people will simply plug their existing phone into the new digital hub or broadband router. If your telephone is an old model, you may need to replace it.
No, your telephone number will remain the same.
Telephone customers who are considered vulnerable can be excluded from the upgrade, however analogue lines will no longer be maintained after 2025 so this should not be considered a permanent solution. You would need to contact your telephone provider to arrange this.
If you have been upgraded to a digital phone line, your telephone provider will have notified you in advance. Your telephone will be connected to a broadband router or digital hub, rather than directly into a telephone socket.
No, because digital phones work off your home electricity supply, if there’s a power cut you won’t be able to make calls. If you are vulnerable your telephone provider may be able to provide you with a battery backup so that you can make emergency calls during a power cut.
You may need a new or upgraded router but if that is the case, it should be provided by your telephone provider.
No, digital calls are not impacted by Wi-Fi strength because the telephone handset is connected to the digital hub / router.
PSTN stands for ‘public switched telephone network’. It’s the copper phone network that delivers analogue landline phone services. The plan is for it to be switched off at the end of 2025 and for all landline services to be offered digitally.
Yes, your cordless phones extra handsets should work the same as they do now.
If you are also a Carecall customers, please visit the Carecall digital switchover web pages to see how these changes affect you.