Digital Voice and the landline phone switch-off

Jul 18, 2017
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This taken from Which Consumer. If you weren't aware of plans to switch off the PSTN (public switched telephone network), you aren't alone. When telecare provider Taking Care surveyed a representative sample of more than 2,000 UK adults in March 2021, they found that 91% were unaware that all phone lines would become digital by the end of 2025. These changes will affect everyone who has a landline they'd like to keep using; soon these will work via a broadband connection instead.

Here is a link to the article. See HERE.
 
May 7, 2012
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Not sure how big the problem will be. In our family four households have dropped the landline as they did not need it and my feeling is that most of us will have by 2025. For the minority who do not have a broadband connection, or are in poor areas for this and mobile signals it could be a problem, so may need further thought. At one point we were all going to have to get DAB radios and look what happened to that.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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That article is still somewhat vague, especially as so many homes will continue to be connected by a copper wire connection as "Fibre-To-The-Cabinet" (FTTC) as that's the sole means of getting broadband for those homes.

Many people, especially younger generations, either don't have a landline or don't have phone connected to it, relying totally on their mobiles - even as an "oldie" we rarely use our landline phone as it's cheaper to use up the "free" minutes on my mobile.

I'd guess a lot of people will bite the bullet and ditch their landline phone altogether - the big task then is to get all their contacts updated with their mobile number - I have ex-colleague contacts going back over 50 years and never exchanged mobile numbers with them.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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There is no way we can receive a mobile signal indoors or even outside unless we walk up the road. Also if you have a power cut, with digital you will not be able to communicate with other people or emergency services. We would have issues however for those living in a town it will be welcomed.
I am also wondering why they think nearly everyone uses mobile phones especially Smartphones? Many elderly have no interest in cell phones or broadband.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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That article is still somewhat vague, especially as so many homes will continue to be connected by a copper wire connection as "Fibre-To-The-Cabinet" (FTTC) as that's the sole means of getting broadband for those homes.
That is not a problem in that VoIP [ the underlying technology for digital voice calls] works over copper, or aluminium, we have been doing so at home land line for years. In our case originally via Skype more recently Sipgate.
The requirement is simply for a broadband connection, not the medium it is transmitted on, indeed we use it either on our landline or on our mobiles, the latter for making very cheap international calls.
Those presently without broadband, a claimed just 2%, are going to "looked after" by an abridged broadband connection, that only services a voice line. I understand Ofcom requires that a non costed facility the line providers have to provide. It will require I understand the additional running cost of a mains connection to power that device.

I really do believe a very small percentage of the population will be impacted, most as I do will be able to use their existing handset, just plug it into a router or other adaptor that the Openzone etc wall socket.

Whether the more savvy keep with BT or their other landline providers for their VoIP service is quite a different matter. For us, with a high international call requirement, cost wise it was a no brainer to use non phone line providers, much like many now use just mobiles for UK voice calls.

Apart from getting a letter, and a device to duly plug in, I am thinking that will be the extent of most people's awareness that anything has changed. The improved quality could well be the only thing we sense, if my Sipgate VoIP service is anything to go by!
For a long while, VoIP itself has been how your landline calls have travelled, one getting away each end from the exchange
 
Jul 18, 2017
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If phoning internationally surely the cables are still of the copper variety? We use Whatsapp for all our International phone calls as cheaper than using BT or any other provider.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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I am also wondering why they think nearly everyone uses mobile phones especially Smartphones?
Probably they based this on the facts their research yields, mobiles are supposedly owned by 98 % of the UK population?
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Probably they based this on the facts their research yields, mobiles are supposedly owned by 98 % of the UK population?
Even 2% is a considerable number of people and probably elderly? I wonder if it is the same percentage for households?
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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If phoning internationally surely the cables are still of the copper variety? We use Whatsapp for all our International phone calls as cheaper than using BT or any other provider.
IMO, not a chance, much more likely micro wave over the air or bouncing off satellites [where copper wires are too challenging] or optical; copper or aluminium is now largely in the UK between you and the box, with some also still the box to the exchange.

Using WhatsApp, you are most definitely into using VoIP already.
 
Oct 3, 2013
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That article is still somewhat vague, especially as so many homes will continue to be connected by a copper wire connection as "Fibre-To-The-Cabinet" (FTTC) as that's the sole means of getting broadband for those homes.

Many people, especially younger generations, either don't have a landline or don't have phone connected to it, relying totally on their mobiles - even as an "oldie" we rarely use our landline phone as it's cheaper to use up the "free" minutes on my mobile.

I'd guess a lot of people will bite the bullet and ditch their landline phone altogether - the big task then is to get all their contacts updated with their mobile number - I have ex-colleague contacts going back over 50 years and never exchanged mobile numbers with them.
Hi,
We have fibre broadband only as far as the box at the bottom of the street (200M ) from the house.From the box to the house it's copper wire.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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IMO, not a chance, much more likely micro wave over the air or bouncing off satellites [where copper wires are too challenging] or optical; copper or aluminium is now largely in the UK between you and the box, with some also still the box to the exchange.

Using WhatsApp, you are most definitely into using VoIP already.
Not sure about a lot of Africa?
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Hi,
We have fibre broadband only as far as the box at the bottom of the street (200M ) from the house.From the box to the house it's copper wire.
That's FTTC like us - but I'm unclear how it'll affect our home phone system, an older cordless system - I can understand the digital signal along the copper wire as that's how my 69Mb broadband works.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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As far as I know, BT and Openreach don't operate in Africa, so why bring up such comparison?
In case you missed it we were talking about international calls in post 6 & 9 as they are probably still carried on underwater copper cables. In essence this woudl mena converting the digital signal to analogue.
 
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JTQ

May 7, 2005
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That's FTTC like us - but I'm unclear how it'll affect our home phone system, an older cordless system - I can understand the digital signal along the copper wire as that's how my 69Mb broadband works.
The "Which" link in the OP states "While some phones might require an adaptor, many will continue working (particularly DECT cordless phones) – you'll just have to plug yours into your router or a new socket. "

That is exactly what I use plugged into my VoIP network adaptor.

Therefore, unless your cordless uses a technology, analogue, that predates DECT, you can save yourself investing another £20 upwards on a new phone.
 
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Sam Vimes

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We were invited by BT to switch to Digital Voice back in April. It has several advantages but I was already aware of the issue of emergency calls during power cuts, since the ONT and Router need to be powered to make calls.

Ofcom had already issued guidance to Communications Providers, e.g BT that for those in areas susceptible to power cuts and with poor mobile signal coverage battery back up units (BBUs) should be provided. We are in just such and area.

At the time of our switch over the BT web site had quite a lot of information about this and the fact that they would provide battery back units where needed. In addition they would also provide foc two cordless handsets.

Subsequently BT have changed the info on there web site and this info is not as easy to find.

I called BT to register the fact that we lived in a vunerable area and that I would need two battery backup units. One for the ONT and one for the Router. There was no problem with raising the order for these, plus they also shipped me the two free handsets ( in fact I got three but that's another story),

Months went past without the BBUs arriving. I made many calls but no one at BT had any idea about how to get them to me. They were being sold on the BT shop at a high price compared to the likes of Amazon. Mostly they were out of stock. Eventually I got fed up and contacted our local MSP because this is an issue that affects everyone in our area. Within a couple of days I was contacted by BT who apologised and said again they didn't know when they would have them to ship. At that time they were in stock on the BT shop, so I pointed this out but due to the dysfunctional organisation of BT they couldn't order them. In the end they agreed to credit me with the full amount so I could order them.

I now have two BBUs installed. They are only good for about 1 hour supposedly but the strategy is that in a power cut I will power off the ONT and BBU and only switch then on if and when needed.

The cordless handsets will function for quite a while but I have a corded handset that can plug directly into the router.
 
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Jun 16, 2020
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It’s called progress. There are many examples of progress affecting some, usually a minority, of peoples lives. Bank branches closing. Post office systems changing, difficulty getting coal or paraffin for fuel, etc. etc.

I have a lot of sympathy for those who have genuine difficulty in upgrading due to finance, age or locality. And the watch dogs to tend to keep these in mind and assist during the transmission. But I have no sympathy for the professional moaners.

Regarding power cuts. That’s a real concern, particularly right now, as there are still many homes in the NE and Scotland still not reconnected after the storm.

I our case, the gas central heating would not be working, no cooking, no land line as this is now plugged into the router.

The battery back up for the telephone is interesting, but I would have a bigger concern regarding the heating, even for just 1 Overnight in the winter.

John
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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No one minds improvements if other factors are taken into consideration. No issue if you live in a good signal area and wish we did as it sounds like an excellent upgrade.
However I wonder how they will charge if using the phone for a call? Will you simply be allocated a certain amount of data included in your line rental for bog standard local calls. At the moment we pay an extra premium for unlimited calls to local landlines and mobiles. I wonder if numbers like 0800 and others where there is a charge because you are phoning a premium number i.e. service call to Currrys will become obsolete?
 

Sam Vimes

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Sep 7, 2020
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Certainly for BT the call charges are exactly the same as a conventional landline. In fact some of the additional options are included in the base price - although it depends if they are significant to you.

1. Ability to make and receive two calls at the same time. Useful if you have someone who spends hours on the phone to certain offspring :)

2. Call divert - when you're out you can re-direct calls to your mobile for example.

3. Single button Call Block

4. Voice Mail

5. Much better quality sound if using the BT handsets and HD calls if other party is also on Digital Voice
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Would there be any need to change how they charge for calls, whatever technology they in the background deploy?
I can't see a need to change, they are after all already sending your call via VoIP except the short distance to the exchanges at each end.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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No one minds improvements if other factors are taken into consideration. No issue if you live in a good signal area and wish we did as it sounds like an excellent upgrade.
However I wonder how they will charge if using the phone for a call? Will you simply be allocated a certain amount of data included in your line rental for bog standard local calls. At the moment we pay an extra premium for unlimited calls to local landlines and mobiles. I wonder if numbers like 0800 and others where there is a charge because you are phoning a premium number i.e. service call to Currrys will become obsolete?
If you are in a poor signal area you should be able to link you phones to make WiFi calls over your home network.

Your land line should be able to plug into your router, (but may need an upgrade). But, as already said, you will loose the ability to call in a power cut.

Call costs have plummeted over the past few years. We both have unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles with no premium. For £10 per month I also get 30gb. And if I wish to, I can boost this to 100gb for as little as 1 month for another £5.


That's FTTC like us - but I'm unclear how it'll affect our home phone system, an older cordless system - I can understand the digital signal along the copper wire as that's how my 69Mb broadband works.
The copper can take more. We have copper to the box and 200Mb. I think my son has 400 and is going to get that boosted further in the near future when Virgin get the technology right.

We have just had City Fibre brought to the door which promises even greater speeds. I can’t use the speed I have now.

John
 
Jul 18, 2017
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If you are in a poor signal area you should be able to link you phones to make WiFi calls over your home network.

Your land line should be able to plug into your router, (but may need an upgrade). But, as already said, you will loose the ability to call in a power cut.
Call costs have plummeted over the past few years. We both have unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles with no premium. For £10 per month I also get 30gb. And if I wish to, I can boost this to 100gb for as little as 1 month for another £5.
John
We currently use wifi for our mobiles, but on some occasions for some unknown reason call quality can be quite poor as difficult to hear the person and nothing to do with my hearing. Luckily this is very occasional. Only concern is a power cut but if they are supplying a new router with a backup then no issue.
TBH I am sure our cordless Panasonic phones are DECT compatible although they were bought several years ago. We can use them anywher ein the home and within a short distance outside. In the meantime we will continue to use Whatsapp for our overseas calls. :D
 
Jun 16, 2020
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We currently use wifi for our mobiles, but on some occasions for some unknown reason call quality can be quite poor as difficult to hear the person and nothing to do with my hearing. Luckily this is very occasional. Only concern is a power cut but if they are supplying a new router with a backup then no issue.
TBH I am sure our cordless Panasonic phones are DECT compatible although they were bought several years ago. We can use them anywher ein the home and within a short distance outside. In the meantime we will continue to use Whatsapp for our overseas calls. :D
My home phones are very old, but DECT nevertheless. It’s been around for a long long time. I might be wrong but I thought WhatsApp calls are WiFI.

John
 
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Sam Vimes

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WhatsApp makes calls via the internet, however some mobile phones and service providers allow you to make a 'conventional' call via WiFi via your router or network into the normal phone system.

Search for WiFi Calling for a better description.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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WhatsApp makes calls via the internet, however some mobile phones and service providers allow you to make a 'conventional' call via WiFi via your router or network into the normal phone system.

Search for WiFi Calling for a better description.
You need to look for Wi-fi calling as an option in your mobile phone setup menu before you go any further. only the more modern phones have the facility.

Some SPs used to do a box which plugged into your router and created a pico-cell around your home so that you could make calls. It didn't matter who supplied your broadband it would still work. However I have a feeling these have largely gone now - look at the Vodafone web site as they certainly did provide them.

One thing has yet to be clarified: if BT is your phone provider but not your broadband, will BT provide a VoIP interface unit that hangs on their phone line or will you be expected to run the BT phone connection through your broadband SP - I'm thinking here of BT v VM as I have?

If you have been able to follow the technicalities of moving to VoIP come 2025 (which is in theory being done so that the presentation to all properties will eventually all be by fibre which needs little or no maintenance) have a look at www.theregister.com - it is a fascinating read sometimes!
 

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