The Digital Switchover is coming
The UK’s telephone network is changing. Openreach are removing the old analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) between now and 2025 to a fully digital network across the UK. #DigitalSwitchover
What is the Digital Switchover or ‘landline switch off’?
Between now and 2025 Openreach are removing all old analogue lines (analogue lines are also often referred to as copper wire connections used by most old telephone services) public switched telephone network (PSTN) to a fully digital network across the UK.
This means that most telephone providers will be moving their customers from an old analogue line over to a new upgraded digital landline using a digital service such as fibre.
Changes have already started across the UK including some areas of Worcestershire.
Telephone providers should be contacting all their customers to make them aware of the changes and have moved their customers onto the new digital services by November 2025.
The PSTN is a privately-owned analogue telecoms network and the decision to upgrade it was taken by the telecoms industry. It will be replaced by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology which carries voice calls as data using an internet connection.
How will it affect me and what do I need to do?
This will affect everyone whether that is in your home as a resident or as part of your business, and it won’t just affect voice telephony services it will also impact other analogue line technology you may use.
Your telecoms provider (Virgin Media, BT, etc.) should contact you before the switchover to check in and discuss what you need to do to make sure your service isn’t interrupted. However, we’re encouraging everyone to know what to expect.
Further details can be found in the sections below.
What technology and services are impacted?
It’s not just your phone services you need to think about. It’s everything else that currently uses the old phone network, see some examples below:
- all your non-voice services connected to PSTN or ISDN lines.
- alarms e.g. building or personal
- EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) machines
- payment lines
- door entry systems
- fax machines
- Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS)
Your provider will be able to confirm what services you currently use that will be impacted by these changes.
In an emergency
Digital landlines cannot carry an independent power connection like the old analogue lines, so in the event of a power cut they will not work without mains power.
For more information:
This switch off is being undertaken by Openreach, and your telephone provider, therefore Worcestershire County Council are unable to assist you directly with any queries.
For more information, please contact your telephone provider and/or visit Openreach’s main page: Digital phone lines | Openreach
If you or someone you know depends on their landline or uses a telecare device connected to a phone line, such as a fall monitor, lifeline, or personal alarm, you should notify the provider of this service so that they can advise on how the switch over could affect you.
If you have other devices connected to your phone line, such as alarm systems, you might need to upgrade your device to make sure it is compatible. If you are unsure about how a device in your home or business might be affected, it is recommended you contact the equipment supplier or device manufacturer to find out whether it will remain functional on a digital phone line.
As well as any analogue telephone lines you may use for your business phones, if you have other devices connected to your phone line, such as alarm systems, payment lines, CCTV etc. you might need to upgrade that device to make sure it is compatible with the new digital connection. If you are unsure about how a device in your business might be affected, it is recommended you contact the equipment supplier or device manufacturer to find out whether it will remain functional on a digital phone line.
Schools should treat their telephone lines as any other business line, contact their providers and start making the changes to a digital alternative before the cut off in 2025.