The digital switchover

Due to higher demands, the current digital network we know and use is struggling to keep up. This is why in 2017, BT announced the digital telephone switchover. This means that over the next few years, the UK will move from analogue telephone to a faster digital system with the old network being switched off for good in 2025. The new VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology allows you to make calls over the internet.

Although this may sound daunting, it’s worth remembering that we have already switched from analogue to digital for television and everything was ok.

Your telephone line provider will let you know when this change is happening in your area.

How it will affect you

If you don’t have broadband, Ofcom has said that providers must offer basic internet connections for phone calls only. For those that do have broadband, by 2025 at the latest (there has been no indication yet that this switchover date will change) you will no longer be able to plug your landline phone into its own socket on the wall – it will be plugged into your Wi-Fi router or an analogue telephone adaptor (ATA) and it will work off your internet connection.

Lifeline alarm users

Your existing Lifeline alarm, if it’s not a digital unit, will work the same as it does now but will connect to your router. However, if the internet goes down because of a power cut, your phone and Lifeline alarm won’t work during the outage.

Digital alarms won’t be affected by the switchover. They work on a multi-network sim so they will not be affected by any of the changes and will work independently of your phone/internet connection. Contact us if you wish to upgrade to either of these devices.

For vulnerable people, we understand that providers such as Sky, BT and Virgin etc will be able to provide a battery backup unit that is separate to your router, which will allow you to call the emergency services during a power cut for a limited time. Your provider should take steps to identify at-risk customers.

Advice for Lifeline customers

If you change your broadband package to include VoIP or are notified that you will be changing to digital in your area, remember to:

  • let your telephone provider know that you or the person you are speaking for is vulnerable or at risk
  • say that you or the person you are speaking for is dependent on their landline and is a Lifeline/telecare alarm user
  • test your pendant once the change has been made
  • contact us if your alarm is not working

Please contact us if you need any help.