Advanced Television

BT refines digital switchover programme

May 20, 2024

BT Group has announced a revision to its timetable for moving all customers  off the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and onto digital landlines. The move follows the introduction of a series of improvements to the programme to better protect vulnerable customers and those with additional needs.

BT Group’s Consumer division has restarted switching zero-use landline customers who have a broadband connection to its Digital Voice landline service. This follows an industry-wide pause and the introduction of the Government’s Charter to protect vulnerable customers, especially telecare users, while making the switch from analogue to digital landlines.

BT Consumer customers (except landline-only customers, those who use telecare or who have additional needs) will be contacted and offered the chance to switch to a digital landline provided over full fibre broadband, where available. BT says this move aligns with its wider strategy to build and connect customers to its future-proof, full fibre broadband, which is set to be available to 25 million premises by the end of 2026.

BT Business is urging all of its customers to engage early and to partner with the company ahead of making the switch, especially where there may be a requirement to test existing or upgrade to new equipment to ensure compatibility with a digital line.

The revised approach will result in a single switch for the majority of customers (businesses and consumers) – from copper to fibre – with all customers now expected to have moved off the old analogue PSTN by the end of January 2027.

Howard Watson, Chief Security and Networks Officer, BT Group, commented: “The urgency for switching customers onto digital services grows by the day because the 40-year-old analogue landline technology is increasingly fragile. Managing customer migrations from analogue to digital as quickly and smoothly as possible, while making the necessary provisions for those customers with additional needs, including telecare users, is critically important. Our priority remains doing this safely and the work we’re doing with our peers, local authorities, telecare providers and key Government organisations is key. But more needs to be done and we need all local authorities and telecare providers to share with us the phone lines where they know there’s a telecare user.”

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