News Article Archive

Changes to telephone landlines

19th May 2024

The UK’s telephone network is being upgraded, which means that landline services are
changing. You can still have a landline in your home, but the technology that powers it will
be different.This means that in future, landline calls will be delivered over digital technology called Voice
over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which uses a broadband (internet) connection.

For most, switching over will be straightforward, but some people may need new equipment
or support to make the changes.

The decision to upgrade has been made by industry, not Ofcom (the telecommunications
ombudsman) or the UK Government. However, Ofcom does have rules that telephone
suppliers have to adhere to, in order to protect customers in power cuts, and to require
phone companies to provide access to emergency calls.

When the changes are happening

This change will be happening across the country and for most networks the move to digital
landlines will be complete by December 2025 (though this may be delayed to 2027).
Your supplier will let you know when they are moving you.

For example, BT who are rolling it out region by region, will begin making the change in
Oxfordshire in spring 2024. If you already have a broadband connection, you may only
need to plug your phone into your broadband router or use an adapter to connect your
phone and router together.

Contact your telephone supplier and let them know if you:
• Have a disability or any other needs that mean you will need extra help with this
• Don’t have a mobile phone or if the mobile phone signal at your home is too poor to
ring for emergency services

Your telephone supplier may be able to delay changing your system or provide
additional help during the change.

What effect the change will have on your phone number and bill

You will be able to keep your current phone number.
Your supplier will be able to offer you a telephone plan at the same cost you currently pay,
or you can choose to upgrade your service, if you wish.

What effect the change will have on personal alarms and telecare

This switchover may affect some telecare devices and other equipment such as pendant

Carium is the supplier for people who have an alarm fitted by Oxfordshire social services.
New Carium devices are already digital and will work after the switchover. If you have an
older device Carium will get in touch with you to swap it for a digital version.

If your device is not from Carium, we suggest that you take the following step

• Contact your personal alarm or telecare device supplier to check if your device
will be affected. If you need to upgrade your device, they may be able to provide this
for free or they may need to charge a one-off fee
• Whoever your telephone supplier is, make sure they're aware that you have a
telecare alarm and will need extra support during the switchover

What effect the change will have on home-security alarms

If you have a home-security alarm, such as a burglar alarm, which uses your telephone line
to alert you when the alarm is triggered, you will need to contact your alarm provider to
check if your device will be affected by the digital switchover. If you need to upgrade your
device, they may be able to provide this for free or they may need to charge a one-off fee.

What effect the change will have during power cuts

The new digital landline system will rely on electricity from your household electrical socket,
so will not work during a power cut. You can use a mobile phone as a ‘back-up’ way of
getting in touch with people.

Checking your mobile phone signal in various areas of your home would be sensible to
ensure you can make a call should you be in bed, for example. You may wish to change
your mobile phone provider, if another service has better signal in your area.

If you live somewhere where you rely on your landline (for example you may have not have
a mobile phone, or experience poor mobile signal), then your landline telephone supplier
will offer you a ‘resilience solution’ to make sure you can still make emergency calls during
a power outage.

Ofcom rules for telephone suppliers currently state they only need to ensure you have
access to emergency calls for 1 hour, though most suppliers are providing solutions which
will last on stand-by for up to 8 hours.

Solutions may be in the form of:

• a basic mobile phone (if you have a suitable signal in your area). You will not need
to pay for a separate mobile phone contract.

• a ‘hybrid’ phone – this looks like a normal landline phone with a plastic aerial on it.
The phone detects a power cut and switches to using its built-in SIM and battery,
like a mobile phone would. You will not need to pay for a separate mobile phone
• a backup battery unit, so that your phone will work normally during a power cut for
up to 8 hours

What effect the change will have on how you make calls

When you pick up your phone, you will not hear a dial-tone.
When you make a call, you will need to use the full phone number including the area code
for all calls. For example, when calling Oxford City Council, you will need to enter 01865
249811, even if you live in Oxford.

Be aware of scams
We have been made aware that scammers are calling people claiming they need to hand
over bank details as part of the switchover, or they will be disconnected.

The digital switchover is free of charge, and councils and their care alarm providers and
contractors will NEVER ask for personal or financial information over the phone. If you’ve
come across a scam or any fraudulent activity, please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123

More information
For more information on the digital switchover please contact your telephone provider.
For many telephone providers you can dial 150 from your phone to speak to them, or you
will find their contact details on bills and paperwork you have received from them.

News Articles