The Digital Switchover

What is the digital switchover?

Communication via landlines is changing. Between now and 2025, service providers are replacing old telephone lines with a newer and faster digital network. This means services which rely on the old landline systems such as home phones, alarms and healthcare devices will be switched over.

Why is it happening?

Previously, network providers used an analogue telephone system called the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). However, this is becoming more difficult and expensive to maintain. Switching over will allow everyone to access a better and more reliable service that will support communications for years to come.

The decision to make the switch is industry-led and network providers such as Openreach, BT and Virgin Media will move their customers over to their digital networks.

What do I need to do?

Your network provider (such as BT, Openreach and Virgin Media) should contact you beforehand to ensure your service isn't affected. However, it’s important you know what to expect ahead of the switch.

What are the implications, and what to beaware of

For most, the switch will be straightforward. Many customers are already making the move when they are upgrading to full fibre broadband. If you have an internet connection, the change may be as simple as plugging your phone into your broadband router rather than the socket on the wall.

If you have devices that are connected to your phone line, like alarm systems, service providers should upgrade your device to ensure it is compatible. If you aren't sure about how a device in your home or business might be affected, we advise you to contact your service provider.

It is also important to know that digital landlines cannot carry a power connection. In the event of a power cut they will not work. If you have a mobile phone, this can still be used. If you’ve no other means of calling the emergency services your telecoms provider may offer a solution to allow calls to be made to emergency services. Please check this with your provider.

The digital switchover is a free service and residents should be aware that councils and their home care alarm providers or contractors will never ask for personal or financial information over the phone. Anyone who is the victim of a scam or fraudulent activity should report it to Action Fraud, as well as our local trading standards team through their partners in the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, on 0808 223 1133. More advice on scams can be found on the Friends Against Scams website.

What to do if you or someone you care for uses telecare devices?

The majority of individuals who are known to Council’s Adult Social Care team will have telecare devices whose alarm calls are connected by an analogue telephone line. The line connects calls to the alarm receiving centre.

We are working closely with our newly commissioned technology enabled care partner, Argenti to transition our adult social care customers over to digital technology. It will involve a digital solution that will allow existing telecare devices to continue to work. We will prioritise customers at highest risk and swap out their current device to a digital one.

If you have a telecare device that you pay for yourself, you need to contact the telecare provider to find out more about how you can upgrade your device to ensure it is compatible.

OpenReach have confirmed that when a customer has identified they have telecare they will be excluded from their bulk migration process so it is important to let your service provider know that you do have telecare if they contact you.

Where can I find out more about the switchover?

Find out more about how your service provider is managing the switchover on their website:

Last Modified: 17/04/2024 10:01:12