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Message 1 of 19

Digital Voice service

I have received a letter from BT telling me “we are upgrading your landline network … we’re moving your home phone from our old copper network over to our new Digital Voice service”. I can opt out of the switch if I have a health pendant or a burglar alarm connected to my phone.

There is a minute small print footnote under terms and conditions that points out “if there is a power cut, or the broadband fails, you will be unable to make calls including those to 999”.

Why is this not included as an important warning, not hidden away as a footnote? For some customers the failure to see this hidden message may have life or death consequences.

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Message 2 of 19

Re: Digital Voice service

Whilst not wishing to defend the lack of prominence of the warning, there are a couple of points to bear in mind.

The copper network is due to be retired completely in 2025 (see my avatar if you think that will happen) so the problem will arise eventually.

Secondly, I suspect most people these days use cordless phones rather than corded phones which also fail to work in the event of a power cut.

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Message 3 of 19

Re: Digital Voice service

I totally agree with your concerns.  I have had the same notification from BT and as we are in an area which is prone to power cuts I have kept an old fashioned corded phone just in case. This seems to be a backward step in terms of service provision.  I called their helpline 0800 800 150 to ask what can be done about it.  

I was on the phone for around 45 minutes and spoke to five different people, some of whom were very off and suggested that I was talking gibberish (the “Values” team is particularly badly named).  None of them were able to help me with my questions although I did find out that there is a power pack available which would maintain power for up to an hour.  However, one of the “help” people said that this would be at a cost of around £80 while others didn’t even know about the item at all.

I decided that when the fifth person wanted to put me through to a sixth it had gone as far as it could and gave up.

I am trying to find an email address to get on to the firm but there doesn’t seem to be one.

Message 4 of 19

Re: Digital Voice service

Elizabeth, i share your concern. Telling you that most people don’t have a problem clearly demonstrates that they aren’t in the same situation as i and i suspect you are in. Until some of these tech experts have found themselves in a blacked out house with no way of calling for help or leaving the house they won’t understand. Contact BT tell them your concern and ask for them to (a) delay your switch or (b) provide a back up power source for your hub. You’re not the only one to view this ‘improvement’ with a lack of exuberance.

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Message 5 of 19

Re: Digital Voice service

Chris, you can use a mobile telephone in a blacked out house

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Message 6 of 19

Re: Digital Voice service

There’s often a problem with mobile signals in the same areas which are subject to dodgy power supplies (such as mine)


Message 7 of 19

Re: Digital Voice service

and the last time you had to make a call to the emergency services during a power cut was when?

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Message 8 of 19

Re: Digital Voice service

The other option is having no phone, It's not BT's decision, it's a decision made by the network owner (Openreach) and the UK Govt, having 2 networks is expensive so it makes commercial sense to move with the times and do away with copper, BT have then had to develop a new means of providing phone service, years of research and the end result is Digital Voice, the other 600+ communcation providers who use the Openreach network will have to do the same, the switch off is 2025.

Message 9 of 19

Re: Digital Voice service

@licquorice  I don’t think that’s the point.  The need for a reliable 24/7 no matter what availability is undeniable.  

Message 10 of 19

Re: Digital Voice service

I'm in my seventies, live in the sticks and never once in my lifetime have I had the need to call the emergency services during a power cut.

Nothing in this life is 100% reliable, except death and taxes of course.

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