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Find answers to more of your questions about the digital switchover for lifeline service users.
The traditional landlines you are familiar with (which are based on old copper-wire networks, known as PSTN and ISDN) are being phased out by 2025.
This is due to their limited functionality, parts for repairs becoming increasing difficult to resource, and the drive for greener systems that take less of a toll on our environment.
The switch to a VoIP-based network means connecting to each other in a more seamless way.
This has already started in many areas of the UK and is due to be completed by December 2025.
The switchover affects everybody who uses a landline telephone that is not already upgraded to the digital network. This includes customers of telephone service providers such as BT, TalkTalk, Vodafone, EE, and more.
The change affects business users too.
A digital telephone service uses the internet to connect calls instead of copper wires like the traditional PSTN and ISDN services.
Digital telephone services are also more reliable. Due to the vast reliance on internet connectivity today, there is far greater investment in the maintenance and upkeep of the broadband network.
This means in the event of an issue with your telephone service, you can take comfort in knowing a fix will not be far away.
The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) are being replaced by digital services that use Internet Protocol (IP)/Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.
This means that calls will be conneted using digital technology over a broadband connection instead of the traditional copper wire network.
When people talk about “making phone calls over the internet”, VoIP is the underlying technology that they will are using whether they know it or not.
VoIP stands for ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ and is a technology that converts the sound of your voice into a digital signal that can be transmitted over a broadband internet connection.
VoIP technology itself has been around since the mid-’90s and it’s likely that you have been using it already.
With the nation in lockdown for the majority of 2020 and some of 2021, many of us stayed connected with family and friends via Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp – all of which are digital apps that use VoIP technology to connect our calls.
BT’s ‘Digital Voice’ is what they are calling their own phone service that utilises the new digital network. You only need BT’s Digital Voice service if you choose to be a BT phone and broadband customer4.
Other provider’s such as TalkTalk, EE, Sky, or Virgin will have different names for their own digital phone services. If you are already with a different provider (not BT) for your home phone service, you can expect to hear from them about their equivalent to ‘Digital Voice’.