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Message 3 of 27

Digital Voice - An Interesting Development

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Message 1 of 27

"BT halts removal of landline phones after vulnerable unable to call 999"

So people who aren't vulnerable can make calls? Well, that's what the literal headline says:

BT halts removal of landline phones after vulnerable unable to call 999

BT has halted plans to replace landline phones with digital ones in the wake of concerns highlighted by the Telegraph, as its chief executive apologised and admitted the company had got it "wrong".

The controversial roll out, which saw copper landlines ripped out in favour of fibre-optic cables, resulted in some customers being unable to call 999 during stormy weather earlier this year.

BT and other companies had pledged to equip all homes with digital "voice over internet phones" by 2025 as part of a much needed update to the UK's communication infrastructure.

But the telecoms giant has now put the “big switch” on hold, after conceding customers using the new broadband phones were unable to call for help when their power went out, as their internet was cut off during two separate storms.

BT’s chief executive Marc Allen apologised, and conceded the firm had “underestimated the disruptive impact this upgrade would have”. He added that “in hindsight” the technology had been rolled out “too early”.

Mr Allen said BT took the decision following overwhelming customer concern and because of letters and articles on a number of alarming shortcomings with the new technology highlighted in the Telegraph.

He said: “The huge disruption caused by recent Storms Arwen and Eunice brought this into sharper focus, when people – including many of our customers in rural areas – needed to get in touch with loved ones during power outages.

“We got this part of our programme wrong and for that, we’re sorry.”

Some two million customers have already had their landlines removed to make way for the new systems, with around 160,000 forced to make the switch on average each month since the roll out started in April last year.

Many readers were concerned there were no fail-safes to keep the phones working during a blackout. Others criticised how BT handed out free mobile phones to landline-only customers despite many living in signal “not spots”.

This newspaper also revealed how elderly users of health alarms faced being unable to call for help in an emergency if they fell or had a stroke, as many older systems still use landline technology to send alerts to monitoring stations. Many older burglar alarms will also cease to function once the old lines are switched off, it emerged.

The postponement will last until these issues are ironed out and no customer will have their landline turned off before then, unless they specifically ask to be moved onto the “digital voice” system, BT said.

Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of the charity The Silver Line, welcomed the news, saying it had been “a devastating time for people who depend on their landline phones as a real lifeline”.

However, BT confirmed it would ultimately still press ahead with the roll out, saying the 40-year-old “public switch” network was becoming obsolete and less reliable. It said its planned fibre-optic alternative promised “crystal clear calls” and greater energy efficiency which would be “better for the environment”.

BT said it would improve the resilience of the new network by working with energy providers on faster restoration of power after cuts. It added it will also work on longer-lasting battery backups; hybrid phones that have mobile Sim cards built in so they can still make calls should the internet go down; and rigorous testing on health and burglar alarms.

Mr Allen added: “Many other countries are doing the same and experiencing the same challenges. With a programme of this sale, sometimes we don’t always get everything right and on this occasion we acknowledge we have more work to do and will get on with putting these solutions in place to better help our customers go through this change.”

The firm said it hoped to resume the roll out by the end of the year.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/bt-halts-removal-landline-phones-vulnerable-unabl...

Front page news so someone's noticed although you'd think it was a bigger story. To those concerned about losing their copper it's a real slap in the face! 😉

telegraph-nc.JPG

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Message 2 of 27

Re: "BT halts removal of landline phones after vulnerable unable to call 999"

@FTT  If this is true what about those that have been forced to change to DV I wonder if BT are going to provide battery back up for our hubs and any adapters we have. Back up for the hubs is useless where BT have provided either an adapter or a DV phone both need power.

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Message 4 of 27

Re: "BT halts removal of landline phones after vulnerable unable to call 999"

Nice to see BT admit to needing to rethink this.

Although rather leaves egg on the faces of some who have ridiculed the concerns raised.

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Message 5 of 27

Re: "BT halts removal of landline phones after vulnerable unable to call 999"

Again if true an announcement from BT and published here would be nice.

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Message 6 of 27

Re: "BT halts removal of landline phones after vulnerable unable to call 999"


@Bob1001wrote:

Again if true an announcement from BT and published here would be nice.


See the link in the first post @Bob1001 .

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Message 7 of 27

Re: "BT halts removal of landline phones after vulnerable unable to call 999"

@Andy005  Thank you for some reason I had to change browsers to open it, however it is fine for BT to issue a press release and for the general public to see whatever the press interpretation is BUT BT should be letting their customers know directly and in particular what is going to happen to those forced to change over and are worried about mains failure.

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Message 8 of 27

Re: "BT halts removal of landline phones after vulnerable unable to call 999"

I received an email from BT on 15th March, advising that my line will "soon" be migrating to Digital Voice. I have had no further communication from them.

I read earlier today about this "pause" in the roll-out, and have just called BT's Digital Voice Helpline to ask how I will be affected by this pause. They know nothing about anything changing - so I don't know what is happening now?

Is anyone else in the same position and can advise what they know?

 

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Message 9 of 27

Re: "BT halts removal of landline phones after vulnerable unable to call 999"

I'm assuming if you don't have a change over date then your migration is effectively back on the queue and paused until the managed mass migrations start again.

In my honest option, this is now a good time and chance for individuals to get everything in order for when the migrations are picked up again. E.g getting alarms and other devices checked and upgraded for compatibility as even though BT Consumer have "paused" their migrations there are still stop sells planned for this industry wide change starting in late 2023.

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Message 10 of 27

Re: "BT halts removal of landline phones after vulnerable unable to call 999"

You have to laugh @ “crystal clear calls”

That's bending the truth more than a black hole bends spacetime.