Toggle mobile menu visibility

Landline telephone digital switchover

Person using a landline phone

What is the landline telephone digital switchover?

The UK's telephone network is changing. Between now and 2025 the old analogue telephone landlines will be upgraded to landline services using digital technology.

This means that in the future, landline calls will be delivered over digital technology called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which uses a broadband connection.

Do you or someone you know depend on their landline and/or use a telecare device connected to a phone line such as a fall monitor, lifeline or personal alarm?

If yes, then please notify the communications provider now (the provider of this service) so that they can advise on how the switch might affect the service of the devices or home phone.

Why is it happening?

The UK is upgrading its telephone network from the old analogue system to a new digital system. This means that by 2025, landline calls will be made using the internet instead of traditional phone lines. This is happening because the old system is becoming outdated and expensive to maintain.

Will it affect me?

The good news is that your landline isn't going anywhere and for most people, this change will be straightforward. But if you, or a relative, use any of the following types of service that rely on a telephone landline then this will affect you:

  • Landline telephone for making calls.
  • Fire alarm
  • Burglar alarm
  • Telecare service

We have created a leaflet for people who use a Telecare service. Telecare services are sometimes called community or pendant alarms. View the leaflet for information about  important changes to your telephone line for community alarm users (PDF) [467KB].

What do I need to do?

In most cases you don't need to do anything until your provider tells you that your telephone service is changing.

However, if you or someone you know is dependent on a landline telephone, or a service that relies on it, such as a telecare device, personal alarm, or burglar/fire alarm, then it is recommended that you check with the provider of the service to see what their plans are for the service, and when they expect the changes to happen. They will also be able to advise on whether the device will need to be upgraded or replaced.

When the switchover finally happens for you, and if you already have an internet connection, the change may be as simple as plugging your phone into your broadband router rather than the socket on the wall.

Do I have to have broadband?

Once the old telephone connection is switched off, customers that wish to continue having a landline phone, and do not already have broadband, will generally need to have a suitable broadband connection - this is the case even if they don't use a broadband service. We expect that providers will have a range of options for people in this situation, so customers should not be forced to take out a high-speed broadband package if they do not want to.

If you have a service such as a telecare device, or a burglar/fire alarm that currently uses a telephone line it is likely that a broadband service will be required. The provider of the service will be able to advise whether you will need to provide this connection.

Will VoIP phones work in a power cut?

Unlike traditional phones, a phone connected to a broadband router will not work in a power cut, as the router gets its power from the mains.

If you rely on your landline - for example, you don't have a mobile phone, you're unable to use a mobile phone or you don't have mobile signal inside your home - your provider must make sure you are able to contact the emergency services during a power cut. This could be in the form of battery back-up so your landline will continue to work, or by giving you a basic mobile phone to use in this situation.

Additional guidance can be found here:

Share this page

Facebook icon Twitter icon Email icon


Print icon