What is the ‘Digital Switchover’?
We’ve already experienced one big switch over when analogue TVs were replaced by digital TVs, now the UK is gearing up for the next big switch when analogue telephone lines will be replaced across the country by digital lines.
This switchover is scheduled to happen before the end of 2025. If this is news to you, you are not alone. Many of us were not aware of the switchover until contacted by our landline providers.
What is PSTN?
PSTN is the public switched telephone network, you may also see this referred to as ISDN – integrated service digital network. We have been using the mainly copper wire network since 1876, this has become increasingly expensive to maintain and fix so the decision has been made to move to a digital solution which will work through your broad band router.
What does ‘Digital Voice’ mean?
This is the future for landlines and the name BT has given to it’s digital replacement for analogue landlines. Other providers are using similar names (Sky Voice, Talk Talk Voice). You may also hear these services referred to as VoIP or IP Voice, essentially they are the same thing.
You’ve probably already used a digital voice system – Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom, Teams are already using this technology. Then pandemic gave us all an opportunity to experience these other methods of communicating.
What do you need to do?
Your landline provider will contact you when the time is coming to switch from your traditional analogue device to a digital service. BT has already migrated hundreds of thousands of users as well as upgrading customers who have experienced issues with their existing service.
With the switch over you can choose not to have a land line – something that previously was not readily available.
The change over should be relatively straight forward. Most phones, including cordless will just need to be plugged in to your broad band router. Some phones may require an adaptor.
The benefits of Digital:
· Voice calls should be clearer
· Fast and easy to set up
· Reliable – much easier to maintain than the old exchanges and copper wire
What if I don’t currently have a broadband connection?
Service providers will be able to offer a broadband lite solution for those customers who do not want a full broadband connection. Both BT and Virgin have committed to this costing no more than existing landline connections.
How will this impact personal alarms?
Currently approximately 1.7mn people are using telecare devices such as personal alarms. Some of those will already be digital devices and therefore will not be affected by the switchover. However, for those with analogue devices you will need to contact your provider to establish what the process will be for upgrading your device from an analogue to digital device or a device that uses a SIM card or the provision of an adaptor to enable you to continue using your device.
What happens in a power cut?
Most digital devices will not work during a power cut however most service providers are offering vulnerable service users’ devices with a battery back-up. You will need to speak with your existing provider to discuss your options.
How can Mi-Guardian help?
We offer a range of digital solutions that are available now. We can do this quickly and easily for you, identify any changes to the monthly cost and adjust your monthly direct debit for you. You will simply need to return your analogue equipment to us.
If you are an existing customer and are concerned about the switchover, we’d be happy to talk you through the changes.