BT delays landline switch off until 2027


BT has delayed plans to make customers switch from analogue copper-based landlines to digital-based VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services following concerns from vulnerable people.

The switch was paused at the end of last year after several incidents where telecare devices stopped working. Nearly two million people in the UK use personal alarms which rely on landlines.

BT, which is also responsible for EE customers, has now abandoned the timeline of completing the national switchover by the end of 2025, and will instead aim to complete the move by the end of January 2027.

But a campaign group for elderly people has told the BBC the revised timeline is “a token concession”.

“The delay is for just over a year, which we don’t think is long enough to make sure there are sufficient safeguards for vulnerable customers,” said Silver Voices head Dennis Reed.

Confirming the changes to the timeline, BT Chief Security and Networks Officer, Howard Watson told GB News:

“The urgency for switching customers onto digital services grows by the day because the 40-year-old analogue landline technology is increasingly fragile.

“Managing customer migrations from analogue to digital as quickly and smoothly as possible, while making the necessary provisions for those customers with additional needs, including telecare users, is critically important.”

Adds Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy: 

“Vulnerable people must be protected during BT’s digital migration, including ensuring that telecare users and those who rely on their landline will always be able to contact emergency services when they need to.

“The transition to digital landlines is necessary and offers advantages but it’s essential no one gets left behind. The government and Ofcom must be prepared to take tough action if firms fail to live up to their responsibilities to customers.”

How will the landline switch off affect you and what should you do?

Chris Price
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