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Message 1 of 115

Elderly/vulnerable customers without Broadband - Notification of new Digital Voice service

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Having just received email from BT informing me of the change to Digital Voice, I'm confused and absolutely appalled!

I've always thought of myself as a fairly intelligent person but having read through the email and links to Digital Voice FAQ's, I can see just how out of touch I am regarding technology. For instance, I don't  know whether or not I have a Smart Hub 2 or whether or not I will need an adaptor.  Doubtless I will manage to sort it out eventually (though at the moment I am totally confused and worried about the change) but I am so  concerned on behalf of BT customers who have no internet connection and no mobile phones, as it seems that they will be completely left behind with no landline phones in an emergency or even to keep in touch with friends/family. My own mother is 89 years old and doesn't have (or want) a mobile phone or broadband connection as she doesn't understand these. What is BT doing to inform similar customers about the change to Digital Voice and ensure that they aren't left in the dark?  What if they don't have a relative or friend to help them - will they fall through the gaps?  Will they be able to get information easily, i.e. by talking to an actual real person at BT via their landline, as they won't be able to access the information provided online?  I see that there are some pop-up events being held to explain and answer questions but many people are house-bound and unable to attend these.  Are they just going to be abandoned and lose their only real means of communication with the outside world?  

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Message 2 of 115

Re: Elderly/vulnerable customers without Broadband - Notification of new Digital Voice service

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Message 3 of 115

Re: Elderly/vulnerable customers without Broadband - Notification of new Digital Voice service

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It's advised that you let BT know of your situation such as if you are dependent on your phone service or if you have any medical or care alarms so BT can provide the help and support you need for the migration to Digital Voice. 

For those that only have a phone service today then a broadband connection will be supplied so the phone service will work or maybe offered hybrid phones that connects to the mobile network.

See https://newsroom.bt.com/were-expanding-our-trials-of-digital-voice-for-customers/

Also note BT won’t be proactively switching anyone who falls under the below criteria, where it has this information available to them:


• Customers with a healthcare pendant
• Customers who are over 70
• Customers who only use landlines
• Customers with no mobile signal
• Customers who have disclosed any additional needs

These customers can delay their migration to Digital Voice until later in the rollout to ensure they have confidence and that various stakeholders are prepared and ready for the digital switch.

 

It's best to have these discussions now to make BT Consumer aware and to help plan.

You will also want to start discussions with other stakeholders such as the providers of your care alarms or other devices that use the phone line today so they can too make sure those units are compatible or are upgraded 

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Message 4 of 115

Re: Elderly/vulnerable customers without Broadband - Notification of new Digital Voice service

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Thank you so much for your replies. The info has been really useful to me. Won't hesitate to post more questions if I'm still confused.
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Message 5 of 115

Re: Elderly/vulnerable customers without Broadband - Notification of new Digital Voice service

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At the end of the day, anyone that currently uses a cordless phone will hardly notice the change. It will just mean a different handset and base station. Although if required, current base station and handsets can be used simply by plugging the base station into the supplied hub instead of the normal phone socket.

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Message 6 of 115

Re: Elderly/vulnerable customers without Broadband - Notification of new Digital Voice service

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My elderly parents (East Midlands) also received the same email and I found it severly lacking in detail, being  written more like a marketing campaign.

- no mention that if your landline and Broadband are with different providers, you'll have to switch BB to BT. A big hassle for anyone who had previously chosen to separate the two services.

- no mention of protecting/helping vulnerable groups

- "[email] You'll still be able to use your own phone". So 20+ year old corded phones / standalone answerphone are going to be compatible then? (I'm very doubtful)

 

I contacted Customer Services (CS) to request that the household is excluded from being proactively switched over, due to having people aged over 70. They were unware of what I was describing or asking for. I asked if I could talk to the  Digital Voice team instead, but was told there is no dedicated DV team (only staff who deal with DV technical issues).

I've read a couple of internet DV articles (Age UK, BT newsroom) describing BT "supporting customers with additional needs", but how does this work in practise when CS aren't aware of this policy?
 

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Message 7 of 115

Re: Elderly/vulnerable customers without Broadband - Notification of new Digital Voice service

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Not sure about the rest of the email ama99, but I can confirm that corded phones work just fine with Digital Voice.

I have the BT Big Button 200 phone which is quite a few years old I think and it works perfectly connected directly to the smarthub, just as it did when it was connected to the master socket. And the 1571 light still works on it too.

The other older corded phone which is corded also works perfectly connected to the digital voice adapter that I have in another room(Right in a power socket near where the extension socket is, just to make things as similar to the old setup as I can, but you can have the adapter anywhere in your home). I have to use landlines because the mobile signal is pretty bad here 😕

So if it's not very ancient, it's likely to work. And by ancient I mean the rotary dial phones, I don't think they will work with digital voice, but I don't own one to try it though.

And i'm not sure about answer machines.

So, I hope this helps with at least some worries. 🙂

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Message 8 of 115

Re: Elderly/vulnerable customers without Broadband - Notification of new Digital Voice service

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The current migration of BT customers from PSTN to Digital Voice is those that already have BT broadband, so it’s simply changing where the phone instrument is plugged in , from the existing wall phone socket to the router phone socket , a new router supplied if necessary , complications like alarms , ‘emergency’ pendants etc, these providers know about the removal of PSTN and should be providing a solution if the existing kit won’t work on DV , the chances are it will work, things like UPS/battery back up for customers living in areas with frequent power outages and no mobile coverage have been widely discussed, indeed the rollout was briefly paused while these issues were  reconsidered.

Landline only and the tiny nunber of SMPF customer , where BT provide the ‘line’ and another company provide the broadband and probably still 18 months away from being moved onto DV , and with SMPF , eventually those small number of customers will have to decide to either move broadband to BT or move the ‘line’ to their broadband provider as SMPF isn’t possible with DV

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Message 9 of 115

Re: Elderly/vulnerable customers without Broadband - Notification of new Digital Voice service

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Thank you [c64z86] for sharing your experience with older handsets working ok with DV, and to [iniltous] for your comments.

Just a pity that Customer Services couldn't provide me with positive answers on the rollout, to allay my concerns.

 

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Message 10 of 115

Re: Elderly/vulnerable customers without Broadband - Notification of new Digital Voice service

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Landline only and the tiny nunber of SMPF customers, where BT provide the ‘line’ and another company provide the broadband, are probably still 18 months away from being moved onto DV, and with SMPF, eventually that small number of customers will have to decide to either move broadband to BT or move the ‘line’ to their broadband provider as SMPF isn’t possible with DV.

@iniltous
Who says the number of SMPF customers are a 'tiny number'? Where are the statistics? My parents fall into this category. They have phone with BT and broadband with EE (the latter beginning with Freeserve in 1999, which became Wanadoo, then Orange and finally EE). They will be forced to choose one provider or the other for both, and it's unclear which provider will 'lead' the change.  Forcing consumers to have only one provider for voice and broadband is anti-competitive and a retrograde step. Not to mention the fact that BT and EE are now sister companies ('as one' and 'stronger together'), therefore I can see no reason why their routers should not be compatible with each other's voice and internet services.