Apparently BT or whoever is turning off PSTN at the end of 2025. For those that don’t have any broadband (which is the only means of communicating apart from Mobile) will be provided with a VOIP-only connection at 0.5 Mb.
What, though, happens to people like me? I have broadband, which can get up to 2, maybe 2.5Mb on a good day. That broadband is over copper, through PSTN - so that goes. So presumably they should offer something - but does anyone know what? I can’t find any information that is relevant on BT website.
Also, if our power goes out then we have no communication. They say that should be OK - just use mobile phone. We get no mobile signal here. So in an emergency, we are unable to call emergency services.
I thought that, with advances in technology, things should get better. Apparently I am wrong about that.
Does anyone know what will happen to people like me when PSTN is turned off?
According to OFCOM, “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 giving you a basic mobile phone to use in this situation.”
Your broadband isn’t delivered over the PSTN. It’s delivered over the copper pair from the nearest street cabinet with a broadband connection. The broadband doesn’t use the PSTN network. Only your phone does.
So your broadband shouldn’t be affected and may even be significantly improved. But the analogue phone network will stop and I’m not sure about how your new digital phone will work if the power goes off and you have no mobile coverage. But BT will have to do something to help.
I have just emailed my current Broadband supplier (which comes via Openreach’s wires and/or fibres - its a FTTC connection, at present).
I will post what they say, once I hear from them.
I guess migration to FTTP will be the way fwd…?
The voice service will be provided over the internet using existing copper, long term they will probably look at replacing the copper with fibre but I doubt that will happen any time soon. You will probably need new handsets when the switch takes place or a new router.
As for power outages, they are supposed to provide a battery backup for customers in an area with no mobile signal. We were upgraded to fibre about a year ago and faced a similar problem because we barely get a signal here too. The battery backup provided only keeps the router going for about half an hour and if our experience is typical, in the event of a power outage they often last for several hours so I invested in an Anker 521 Portable Power Station that will keep the router and fibre box powered for a good 9 hours+ It wasn’t cheap though, it cost about £230 but worth it for peace of mind
My ISP is providing a Fritzbox router, it has a RJ11 socket, it will do the VOIP to analogue conversion internally.
I expect most people will just let their traditional phone numbers go, I haven’t really used mine in years, it’s just currently needed for broadband.
Hi all, some info
The PSTN switch off comes in 2 parts, first a national stop sell (this is already active) then secondly a full switch off of the analogue PSTN phone system in 2025. Today rather than buy a phone line + broadband service you would instead be provided with a SOGEA circuit, or Single Order Generic Ethernet Access. This is a fancy name for the same pair of copper wires you have today with a broadband serviced on but no active phone line. You get exactly the same broadband as today but the phone line has no voltage or dial tone on it so you cant make calls.
If you want a traditional type home phone service then this is provided digitally over the broadband connection and is accessed most commonly by plugging a standard phone handset into your internet router. What is actually happening is you are using a VoIP service, or Voice over Internet Protocol, provided by your internet provider. You can also use more specialist services than this and dedicated VoIP phone handsets, most business users will do this via a telecoms provider but it would be unusual and a bit of overkill for a home user.
It all sounds confusing but bottom line is you just order from your provider and plug it in. The drawbacks? Firstly you need mains power for it to function. Secondly you need to plug in extra boxes just to get a phone service. Thirdly if you have poor internet you will get a poor quality phone call too. The benefits, its a bit cheaper especially when calling internationally but that’s about it. The change is for UK infrastructure improvement, not really to benefit the consumer. OFCOM have decided that most people have access to a mobile phone now, simple as that.
We have 2 internet connections, Virgin Cable (which will be unaffected) and TalkTalk business ADSL.
We use Draytek router for the ADSL which has a 2nd port for the WAN connection from the Virgin router which is in modem mode.
This means that we don’t have the ISP’s router in place to allow the telephone to be connected.
It’s looking like we’ll need to install the ISP’s router and then purchase a new WAN router which has dual ethernet WAN ports rather than 1 ADSL/VDSL and 1 ethernet WAN port?
Are there any workarounds to this, i.e. are there any adaptors that can be used on the LAN side of an existing network that allow the original telephone number to continue to be used?
Why do you have two Internet connections? You’re in a good position to port your number to a VoIP service. Porting a number that is used for an ADSL connection will automatically cease the underlying connection and for most people that means a break in service. You could port your number to VoIP and then use the Virgin Media connection to use the service. We did that when we got upgraded to fibre. We kept the ADSL service with Talk Talk going until the fibre was up and running on only then did we port the number. That ceased the ADSL service but that’s what we wanted anyway. We now use the old phone number provisioned over the Internet using the fibre connection. Our router has a phone socket in the back of it that we plug the DECT phone base into so we keep using the same handset, and we also have the Acrobits Softphone app on our mobiles so if we receive an incoming call it rings on our mobiles as well no matter where we are as long as there’s an Internet connection. We only use the VoIP phone for incoming as we both have unlimited call packages on our mobiles. VoIP I went with the service provided by Andrews and Arnold ISP (AAISP) that costs a mere £1.20 + VAT per month.
We run a part time IT based business which includes incoming offsite backups. I also work from home with my day job so having an always available connection is important. It rarely fails over, but does occasionally, we had a 2 hour Virgin outage yesterday and it was great to receive an alert that we’d switched to the other connection and everything carried on working. It’s surprising that the difference between a 250mbs and 5mbs connection isn’t especially obvious when you are just browsing etc.
The Talk Talk contract has only recently started and the number is used for our business so we need that second line and need to keep the number.
We may need to just get a dual WAN router and put the Talk Talk router in place. Our box count is increasing! It’s a right PITA as the router is nowhere near the main phone which then means that we would need to change the wiring to send the analogue signal over to where the phone is located.
Shame that the TT contract has just started otherwise you could have ported the number to VoIP and relied on the VM connection for a week or two. You would then have been able to order a new ADSL backup service to maintain the fallback option all the time while keeping the business number. Of course the new ADSL service would come with a new number but if your old number is working on VoIP you don’t really care.
I’m very pleased we moved to VoIP as the phone number is now complety uncoupled from the Internet provider so it is hugely flexible should we ever decide to change the phone and/or Internet provider.
Reply from my ISP -
We can keep your Copper Landline and Fibre Broadband going until BT/Openreach retire the line - we don’t have a date yet when this will be specifically on your line. Fibre to the Premise is available at your property now so if you wanted you could move to FTTP, if you wanted …
Obvious Question asked - how much to change over…?
The more obvious question for me is why wouldn’t you?! We had to campaign hard to get fttp here via an Openreach Community Fibre project. Fibre is just so much more reliable and consistent than ADSL, not to mention a lot faster. We went with a small provider, Giganet, and pay £32/month for a 150Mb service
Probably cheaper that paying line rental for that rusty old copper cable indefinitely.
Perhaps not so cost effective if you also need a new phone and maybe a UPS.
I have BT Smarthub 2 & BT/Openreach offered the option to change to ‘Digital Voice’ last year. The phone cable now plugs into the hub (see pic)
Next in the contemplation mangle is do we really need a land line in the package, most calls are via Cell Phone, & this conection is via BroadBand when in the house.
I need to see what BT are offering.
Anyone done this ???
I have a friend who has done this. The home phone works fine and he has ditched the landline, which he rarely used anyway. He has no cellphone coverage so added a UPS in case of power cuts. Despite what OFCOM say about this, BT stuck 2 fingers up at him when he suggested they should pay for the UPS as they left him without emergency coverage.
We ditched our landline last week. Now we just have broadband coming through the copper wire. Plusnet said that ditching the phone should make the broadband more reliable, but I think that’s just sales talk. Whatever, it’s been really reliable anyway, unlike Virgin, which was a pile of crap, always going wrong and always trying to increase the price.
Interesting - I will talk to my provider. Thank you
So my broadband will continue after the PSTN switch off - I didn’t know that. Not sure how well VOIP will work on it, but I guess we shall see.
There is no cabinet near our house - as far as I know it is copper from the exchange (3.5 miles away).
I have some old UPS units, I guess I can use them…