Landlines to be replaced by Digital Voice. How it will affect your communication.
In 2025, the government has plans to decommission the old telephone network. In the same way that the old analogue TVs are no longer in use, the same is being done to your phone line. If you are unaware of these plans then don’t worry so are the majority of people. A survey, Conducted by Taking Care, shows that over 90% of respondents did not know the switch was happening.
The new system will require a broadband connection to use for those who wish to maintain a home phone. However with this new requirement of the Broadband network some new infrastructure is required, so there are plans to increase the overall level of fibre optic connections around the country.
The new system has many names such are ‘VoIP’ or ‘IP voice’ but companies are also coming up with their own branded titles such as ‘Digital Voice’ for BT, ‘Sky Voice’ for Sky and ‘TalkTalk Voice’ for TalkTalk.
We are not alone in the transition countries such the Netherlands and Estonia have already transitioned, other countries such as Japan, Germany and France are also in the process of switching. With such networks being so old and mostly being unchanged since the Victorian Era it shouldn’t be long before more countries start switching too.
As mentioned with the Network’s design being so old with more and more strain placed upon it by new technology it is creaking at the seams – the new system should be much more reliable. It will also be easier to maintain, as there is no longer any need for two separate networks for maintenance. In addition, with the plans to swap the network over, fibre coverage should become a higher priority, however by 2025 it will not be complete with the fibre coverage expected to be around 85% by that time.
Landlines to be replaced by Digital Voice
The date at which you could be switched over may vary however, by the end of 2025 everyone will have been switched over. However it shouldn’t be too much to worry about as your phone provider will get in contact with you and inform you when it is time to switch over. There may also be situations where phone lines become inoperable or broken, in these situations they will not be fixed and VoIP offered instead. In addition you will have the option to not take on VoIP and instead forgo a home phone.
VoIP will be a better system overall with three main advantages. The first being that over the internet it will be easier to control who can call and who will receive making it easier to create scam protections. Second the calls should be of a higher quality and quantity. Third allowing calls to be made remotely from your landline most likely through a VPN.
The process of changing over landlines to be replaced by Digital Voice shouldn’t be too difficult for you as most phones can already accept an internet connection, if not your router or phone may either require replacing or an adaptor fitting depending on the age. Most suppliers will offer a new phone in replacement probably for a cost. If your property is also planned to be upgraded to a fibre connection this will go straight to the house, as about 50% of homes still use copper wires to their sockets. Usually Openreach will perform this job and should be able to do it in such a way as to not disrupt your property.
If you do not want a broadband connection to come with your phone line then you do not need to have one and it should not cost any more then you pay now for a phone line now. In reverse if you wish to have a broadband connection without the phone line you will be offered that too.
Some downsides to the new system come up when there is a power cut. The old system ran on its own power grid so an outage didn’t effect it meaning the emergency services could still be contacted. However now that it will run on the mains some alternative solutions are being made. A common solution is that most adults have a mobile phone and the wireless signal network still runs on its own power. There is also plans to add batteries for the landline network to give it some time to run after an outage. Virgin media is also adding Mobile network capabilities to their phones so they can still get a connection.
Other problems are that it’s not only phones the use the old network. Devices like: burglar alarms, traffic lights, ATMs, Card machines and Healthcare devices. These devices will all need either adaptors or replacing the same as the phones. Tests are currently being undertaken in certain areas so that we know what is needed to be done.
Telecare devices are one of the most important devices that need swapping as many elderly people rely on such devices. A lot are already built with the switch in mind however some older devices will be unable to function. These old devices will need replacing however there may be opportunity to upgrade to more sophisticated devices with backup power in mind. If you have any worry about your devices you should contact your provider and they should be able to check what devices need replacing and get them to you ASAP. In addition, if there are delays on these replacements contact your phone line provider so that they can delay your transfer to give you time to get new devices.