Good news phone fans — BT has scrapped plans to ditch analogue landlines, for now

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BT has announced that it will delay previous plans to transition customers from copper-based landlines to internet-based services.

The Group’s decision to reverse the transition – or at least delay it for now – comes as a response to concerns from vulnerable groups and incidents where telecare devices, believed to be crucial for an estimated two million UK residents, could stop functioning.

Originally slated for completion by the end of 2025, BT now aims for a national switchover by January 2027 – an extension of around one year.

BT delays copper scrapping

BT’s revised plan includes a range of measures designed to safeguard vulnerable users. These include the provision of free battery backup units and the introduction of hybrid phones that can operate on both broadband and mobile networks.

However, the switch to digital services poses risks during outages, which are generally more common in rural areas. These outages could potentially disconnect those dependent on personal alarms and other health systems.

In an interview with the BBC, Silver Voices head Dennis Reed commented: “The delay is for just over a year, which we don’t think is long enough to ensure sufficient safeguards for vulnerable customers.”

Howard Watson, BT’s Chief Security and Networks Office, stressed the urgency of the transition due to the fragility of the 40-year-old analogue system: “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.”

Earlier this year, BT Consumer and around 30 other organizations from the telecoms and telecare sectors, industry bodies, local authorities, and regulatory stakeholders formed the Telecare Action Board (TAB). The TAB aims to identify and protect telecare users and those with additional needs before analogue lines are switched to digital.

Looking ahead, Watson called for greater collaboration between providers and authorities to help support vulnerable customers during the transition.

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