Community     August 27, 2021

The digital telephone switchover is on the horizon.

A major digital shake-up is fast approaching in the UK. From 2025 all households and businesses will require an internet connection in order to make calls under a movement that is being driven by the telecoms industry.

Many services will be affected by the change. For example, traffic lights, telemetry devices, burglar alarms, telecare alarms and pendants, dialysis machines, monitoring devices, phones in lifts, fax machines, payment terminals and ATMs.

This type of communication uses a method called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), also called IP telephony. It allows users to make telephone calls via the internet, meaning there is no need for a physical transmitting device, such as the landline or PSTN (Public Switch Telephone Network).

Although this digital movement is new, VoIP technology itself is has been around since the mid-’90s and it’s quite likely that you have been using it already. With the nation in lockdown for the majority of 2020, many of us stayed connected with family and friends via Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp – which all use VoIP to function.

Firms and their plan for the switchover.

Openreach, which currently run most of the nation’s wire and cable infrastructure, has said it is currently aiming to install ultra-fast full-fibre broadband in 25 million households by the end of 2026 – resulting in more reliable service for customers1.

An Openreach spokesman said: ‘Protecting vulnerable customers is an absolute priority for us. We are working with communications providers to identify vulnerable customers early on.’

Virgin Media, who have their own cables, are also working to switch their home phone service to its fibre broadband network by 20252.

Power cut or internet outage concerns have been raised with Ofcom, with people stressing that telecoms providers have an obligation to ensure all households have access to the emergency services. There are conversations in place that may require firms to provide their customers with a free mobile phone or battery pack2.

What you need to know…

We do not know exactly when (yet), but providers will be writing to landline-only customers to let them know of the coming switchover and their options for going digital3.

There are several considerations in place from many resources, stressing the importance of the safety of the elderly and most vulnerable amid the change.

For those without the internet, an engineer would need to visit your home to get you set up and those with older phones may need to buy a new upgraded handset.

If you have a Buddi GPS alarm plan with Telecare24, nothing should change for you. This alarm uses SIM technology to connect your clip and band to our monitoring centre.

However, if you are a Fall and Pendant Alarm plan customer with us. You can expect to hear from us in the future with details of our plan to upgrade your equipment.

Benefits of going digital.

VoIP calls are considerably cheaper than PSTN even over long distances4.

It offers a faster connection when calling long distances. Landline calls carry sound via a physical circuit of wires, while VoIP converts your voice into digital data which is then transmitted via the internet.

As technology improves, the sound quality of VoIP calls is coming on leaps and bound which could result in a clearer conversation without our monitoring team5. (This will depend on the strength of your broadband connection).

For our careline alarm users, the faster connection times could make a big difference if a fall or emergency occurred. The digital network will connect you immediately to our monitoring centre.

To keep reading up on the topic of the digital switchover, visit https://business.bt.com/insights/digital-transformation/ten-myths-about-digital-phone-lines-debunked/.

Stay tuned.

At Telecare24, we understand that for many people this push into the digital world could be a daunting one. Rest assured, we will continually update our customers and share more information about our plans as the situation develops, ensuring that we continue to deliver the reliable service that our customers receive. Our goal is, above all else, to help to keep people safe and living independently at home.

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Sources.

1 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-58233420
2 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9892033/Landline-phones-axed-2025-Digital-switchover-leads-fears-elderly-struggle-cope.html
3 https://www.futureofvoice.co.uk/faqs/
4 https://www.moneysupermarket.com/broadband/voip/
5 https://www.callcloud.co.uk/blog/491/how-does-the-call-quality-of-a-voip-phone-compare-to-a-landline

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