Thinking beyond the PSTN

IP voice services are already provided by phone companies. If you are planning to change services soon you should discuss this with your provider of choice so that you can plan your communication needs in advance of any migration.

The main phone companies (BT, Virgin, Sky, TalkTalk) have different timescales, but they expect all home phone and business customers in the UK to switchover to digital by 2025.

Your communications provider will contact you to let you know when the change will happen. However, if you have questions and would like to better understand how to prepare, contact your provider. Early preparation is particularly important for businesses that have multiple sites and/or require multiple lines.

Special equipment and services

There will be changes to the way some equipment works with the new technology. If you use devices that are connected to your phone line such as telemetry devices, contact the provider of those devices to check whether they will be compatible.

Textphones and the text relay service

Several models of textphone have already been tested at the BT Digital Services lab. This testing showed that it is possible to make both textphone-to-textphone and text relay calls on IP networks, although the quality of the call can be affected by packet loss or other data loading on the line.

The text relay service is also available via the free Relay UK app which offers additional features and is unaffected by the move to IP. The app can be used on any connected device (smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC). Click here to find out more about the Relay UK app.

Amplified phones

Several models of amplified phone have been tested at BT’s Digital Services lab. All the devices that were tested performed well, even when packet loss and loading were added.

Telecare alarms

Most modern devices should be compatible. If you do use one of these devices, it’s important that you check with the company that supplied it to you.

Power cuts

The current system is powered by your local telephone exchange and has its own power supply. The new system will be powered by your home electricity, so if there is a power cut you will not be able to make or receive landline calls. A mobile phone can be used as a back-up. If you don’t have one or you need additional help, you should discuss this with your provider.

Click here for frequently asked questions (FAQs).


Last updated: 19/06/2020