back to article Switch to hit the fan as BT begins prep ahead of analog phone sunset

BT has revealed details on its UK-wide rollout schedule as it switches over from analog phone lines to a digital voice service to hit the deadline of retiring the analog service by the end of 2025. The former state-owned telecoms giant, which still operates the bulk of Britain's telco infrastructure, has previously flagged up …

  1. Flak
    Go

    “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

    I know there are always exceptions, but...

    for 20 years I have been talking about fixed / mobile substitution rather than convergence. About 3 months ago we switched off our home landline and use broadband only. We don't have a fixed line anymore because all we got on it are spam calls or the mother-in-law. Anyone wanting to speak to a member of our household would just phone them directly on the mobile rather than going through the inconvenience of phoning the house, only to find the 'wrong' person answering and then saying the person they wanted to speak to wasn't home.

    At our company we have never (!) had any landlines (business is 4 years old). We have a non-geographic number that is forwarded to mobile phones, but no landlines or desk phones. I have not missed them.

    I won't be shedding any tears for the loss of landlines, given that even our children's grandmother uses a mobile and social media rather than a landline (mainly, anyway).

    There will be edge cases where neither works well, but those are few and far between and that is where the focus should lie for analogue landline providers to provide continuity solutions (e.g. very long copper lines).

    Businesses have absolutely no excuse as the switch off should not come as any surprise. Businesses (and services) still relying on analogue services only have themselves to blame if they are caught out.

    Let progress roll on!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

      IOW "Works for me"?

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

        Isle of Wight?

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge

          Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

          That's back to the past.

        2. steviebuk Silver badge

          Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

          I was thinking that. And also, mentioning IOW, how will this work on the IOW when half the island doesn't and can't have fibre. Wightfibre is all they are stuck with and its not everywhere.

          1. collinsl Bronze badge

            Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

            I don't think this is a "100% fibre" requirement thing - all it'll mean is that the phone line will be broadband-only and any phone calls will be encapsulated into VoIP by your broadband router and then sent over the internet to their destination/a central office/a local phone cabinet to be de-encapsulated if the receiving party still uses a POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) network (I.E. other nations who haven't caught up yet or people without broadband at all)

            1. steviebuk Silver badge

              Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

              It means fibre or nothing. I only know this because I have been organising upgrading my parents BB line to fibre to get them good speeds. Told the independent ISP are they sure its available like claimed as no one has ever dug up the long shared drive. They said yes Openreach wouldn't say otherwise. Turns out it isn't and drive needs to be dug up for fibre.

              I originally asked them to cancel it then as we can't afford to pay for the drive to be dug up. Was told 1. Openreach pay for it because they want to then sell the fibre to the other 2 houses.

              2. If you don't get it now your phone line and adsl broadband will go in 2025 and you'll have nothing as BT stop using the copper line and then you'd have to pay Openreach for the fibre install.

              1. steviebuk Silver badge

                Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

                1 thumb down. I assume that's wrong, if it is, then explain.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

                  BT aren't stopping the use of copper in 2025, it's stopping the provision of PSTN over copper. There will still be homes with FTTC, and even ADSL over copper, for many years to come.

                  1. steviebuk Silver badge

                    Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

                    So the ISP I'm using lied to me then? They said "You might as well carry on and get fibre installed now with OpenReach footing the bill of the dig because in 2025 you'll loose everything, the phone line and ADSL".

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

      My "landline" is a VoIP thing plugged into the back of the internet box.

      I, quite proudly, have that connected to an actual telephone with an actual bell that rings and an actual rotating thing that has numbers around it. The only concession to modernity is that inside there's a little gizmo that translates the clicks into beeps, because the net box only understands beeps.

      I have a mobile. I'm using it right now. But it's pretty much only a connected computer, I don't speak to people with it...

      1. xyz123 Silver badge

        Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

        One day you'll need to phone 999 in an emergency and your rotary/digital crossbreed phone will take 25mins just to dial the thing!

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

          The EU to the rescue!

          It's 112 over here. And there are shorter numbers specific to France. If I recall, 15 for medical emergency (SAMU), 17 for the rozzers, and 18 for the guys with shiny metal helmets.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

            Who's on sixteen?

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

              It seems (quick Google) that a 16 prefix was how to call into Paris from the rest of the country, and a 16 1 prefix was how to call the rest of the country from Paris. This was done away with in the mid eighties when they standardised on the ten digit numbers that are common today (with numbers beginning 01 now being Paris and the surrounding area).

              I need the Paris icon for this post...

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

              Ghostbusters are on 16, Who's on 95475949. Who also uses 07700 900461, but that's a shared "party" line :-)

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

            As a legacy EU country, 112 also works in the UK. I assume it's just mapped to 999. Likewise, 911 also works in the UK but only from mobiles and again, is probably just a remapping to 999.

            It makes sense, where practicable, to map foreign emergency numbers to the local one where it won't cause confusion or conflict with other services, especially for those foreign emergency numbers used by large numbers of transient workers or tourists. Someone calling in an emergency may be panicking and dial the emergency number most familiar to them,

        2. Sp1z

          Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

          You mis-typed 0118 999 881 999 119 7253

        3. collinsl Bronze badge

          Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

          How ever did we cope in the past? It's almost as if 999 was designed to be the hardest number to dial so that it was easiest to find in a smoke filled room by being the furthest hole away from the finger stop, yet one which could stop incorrect dialling by making it 111

          1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

            Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

            9 was the furthest from the finger stop? None of your phones had a 0 then?

            (also, making it 111 with loop disconnect dialling would mean a slightly broken cable would tap out 1 1 1 and call the emergency call system. A faulty line tapping out 9 9 9 is much less likely)

        4. SteveM84

          Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

          It will take 3 seconds. 10 PPS, and worked even if the power in the whole city was down

    3. Norfolk N Chance

      Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

      Or perhaps, "Where we're going, we won't need eyes to see" (Event Horizon 1997)

      For those at the back, she's gone much, much farther than that etc.

      My parents just happen to be a couple of those edge cases who don't have broadband but do have a landline. It's copper from the exchange of course, around 2 miles away line distance.

      This was nstalled in '80 if I recall correctly and a Great Step - previously when I was younger we used to drive to the phone box across the valley to phone Grandparents on Christmas day.

      Neither has had more than a fleeting interest in computers, and the life they have led for the past 80 odd years has coped just fine. As Dad put it recently, "when I hear about a computer hacking or identity theft I can be confident it's nothing I need to worry about."

      Whilst not entirely accurate I certainly empathise.

      After the rambling, the point I suppose is I'm trying to get to is when telephones were born, they provided an incredible service.

      It was relatively instant (human exchange connections not withstanding) and resilient to local power interruptions.

      It feels we've taken a step back in the name of progress, and I can't help feeling the "we won't force anyone until 2030' schtick is to wait for the old codgers to pop off.

      It all makes me think that even if we could live forever we'd probably not want to.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "we won't force anyone until 2030' schtick is to wait for the old codgers to pop off.

        Suppose we have to be grateful that Bastard Telecom doesn't send a chap around to "assist" them in popping off.

        1. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: "we won't force anyone until 2030' schtick is to wait for the old codgers to pop off.

          Regulated Open-reach* not unregulated Bastard Telecom.

          * Openreach - BT Group Busjness

          1. CountCadaver Silver badge

            Re: "we won't force anyone until 2030' schtick is to wait for the old codgers to pop off.

            *Openretch

            TFIFY

    4. HMcG

      Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

      There are supposedly 'technical' folks on this site that would moan about moving on from Morse Code and the telegraph system.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

        Well, do be fair it's not really a huge technological leap from dots and dashes to ones and zeros. Just the encoding and speeds have changed :-)

        1. robinsonb5

          Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

          And to be fair, Morse Code does have a much better information density than, say, HTML...

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

        How will you escape from the bad guys if you can't tap morse code out on the plumbing?

    5. DexterWard

      Re: “Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” (Doc Brown)

      This may be news to you, but large swathes of the rural UK have no mobile signal. Or fibre broadband, or in some cases any broadband at all.

      So there is no alternative to a landline for some.

      Until that is fixed, this scheme isn’t going to work

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I'm wondering how effective battery backup in the home will be if the power in the FTTC footway box isn't backed up. Are these powered from the DC supply at the switch in the same way as POTS?

    We seem to have increasing numbers of power cuts recently and mobile signal can't be fully relied on. Longest outage in c 20 or 21 was 17 hours.

    1. NXM Silver badge

      power cuts

      In 2015 we had no power for the best part of a week. The emphasis was to get Carlisle up and us out in the sticks just had to wait. Of course we're prepared for that sort of thing because it happens quite regularly, but the leccy board obviously didn't have the capacity to do it any quicker.

      The joke at the time that P&O was doing a replacement bus service across the city.

      1. David Hicklin Bronze badge

        Re: power cuts

        > emphasis was to get Carlisle up

        I read the report that was written mostly for Lancaster following the 2015 flood and loss of power etc. A major concern was that the street boxes and mobile phone masts lost power after about an hour, and whilst the POTS phones still worked most people had cordless phones that did not (hence I have a conventional handset in a drawer). domestic routers and Wi-Fi hubs all failed to work as well.

        Its a sobering read to just how much we depend on electricity - and ow much fails when it goes off.

        1. Mike Pellatt

          Re: power cuts

          Yep, that Lancaster report is a case study in what does and does not work when it comes to resilience. And how a few people thinking ahead and acting creatively can make a lot of difference.

    2. Persona Silver badge

      I have used DECT phones on the landline for probably 25 years. They don't support phone calls when the power is out, so not really any change there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Err?

        They don't support phone calls when the power is out, so not really any change there.

        Should be...

        They don't support phone calls when the power is out, so not really any change there unless connected to a UPS

        All my network gear is behind one of two UPS's. When the power goes out, I can still surf the net to my hearts content and also receive all those lovely spam calls about my loft insulation, Windows Computer (I'm windows free) and insurance for my washing machine.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: Err?

          ...you missed off calls about "the car accident that absolutely was not your fault, sir"

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Err?

          "unless connected to a UPS"

          I suppose that can be a useful addition in places where the power is subject to fluctuation, drop-out and outright cuts, but for the vast majority of us it's not a practice nor economic solutions. Or maybe I'm just very, very lucky and have suffered only a very few power cuts over the 40 or so years I've lived in this house.

          As I understand it, both BT and VM will be providing free battery backup for the phones/routers/hubs of those deemed in need. The problem I foresee, even with that, is how long the batteries in the street cabs will last. There's a VM one near me that's been open for at least two months, despite reporting it to them and VM vans being in the area fairly frequently. Even in a properly secured cab, I wonder how long those batteries stay in usable condition after a hot summer and a cold winter? Will they be replaced pro-actively or only if the monitoring kit reports a failure? Is there even any monitoring kit or will they be relying on customer complaints when the battery backed phone still can't make calls because the street cab battery lasted 30 seconds after the power went out?

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Err?

            . Or maybe I'm just very, very lucky and have suffered only a very few power cuts over the 40 or so years I've lived in this house.

            You've probably never had a house fire either, but I'll bet you still have fire insurance.

            When it's warm and sunny and all is well with the world, it may seem like no big issue if the phone's out for an hour or two.

            A snowy evening when the power is off because of a downed line, and granny has just slipped on the ice in the dark and broken her hip, is a very different matter. When you need to be able to dial 999, you generally need it right now.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "I have used DECT phones on the landline for probably 25 years."

        I've also had DECT on the landline. I also have a POTS phone on it. It works when the power's out on account of a big bank of batteries about 2 miles away at the switch. I call up the electrickery people on it when the power goes off and the mobile signal's playing up.

    3. Hairy Scary

      I live out in the sticks and if there is a power cut affecting the whole area, mobile phones and mobile broadband go down, the last time this happened was during storm Arwin. We were without power for nearly a fortnight.

      I have backup power (solar panels feeding a battery bank + a generator and a solid fuel Aga for heating and cooking) so can carry on as normal, however as soon as the mains power went the broadband went down and the mobile phone indicated no service so the masts do not have backup power. The landlines also went down -- no dialtone, not sure why, possibly because the local exchange is now using fibre links to the rest of the system (although still copper to the houses). In days gone by the landline would still work during power cuts.

      Now an elderly resident unfortunately had a fall late one night, pressed his pendant, nothing happened because the landline was out, he was found next morning by a neighbour who had gone to check if he was OK. Luckily he was alright but very cold as the house only had electric heating which was also off due to the power cut.

      The phones and broadband were off for several days before power was restored to the masts and several more days before power was restored to all the properties in the area (there was a lot of damage and linesmen were working all hours to get things running again).

      And the government want us to rely on electricity for everything --- I would need a much bigger generator to keep a heat pump heating system and an electric cooker going during extended power cuts while the Aga only needs a few logs chucked into it now and again.

      1. Nematode

        Agree. Rural Aberdeenshire here, cr@ppy mobile signal anyway, so we use Wifi calling in our mobiles, which 50% of the time is so poor* that we tend to use the landline for important calls (such as hanging on in a queuing system, or speaking to the doctor, where the call dropping would be a real bind). Before landlines are pulled, there should be a standard set for minimum backup and standby capabilities. It's not hard to define what's needed, just that those who think up these wonderful 'advances' are usually based in a city or town and have no concept of what happens out in the sticks.

        (*It's sometimes perfect, so our phones are not the problem, which we usually switch to airplane plus wifi-on to prevent hunting between the two. I am convinced it's the mobile operator porting the wifi call out from the broadband stream onto the phone network.)

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Yeah I know someone out in the sticks who has an Aga and was once in a very similar situation to this Alex cartoon.

        https://alexcartoon.s3.amazonaws.com/6264_15012014.gif

        They slept in the kitchen one night when the power went out because it was the warmest room in the house as the Aga stayed on.

      3. HMcG

        Not in my experience over the last 20-odd years. Any time the power went out the local exchange lost power too, which may be down to the power oruting.

        1. Nematode

          We've called our electricity supplier multiple times over the years using our landline to tell them that our power has gone down, so it works for us!

    4. Adam JC

      BT PCP's

      All green FTTC PCP's have a UPS in them - What's not set in stone is whether they're in good serviceable/working order though... (Russian roulette, probably!).

      Our power went out at work and our leased line continued to work for an hour (As long as the power outage lasted) and our FTTC/VDSL VRRP failover circuit remained online for the full hour, so our local PCP's UPS did the job :-) YMMV of course.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      OFCOM stay that the cabinet needs to be powered for at least one hour which covers the majority of power outages. Of course there are always going to be outliers with longer outages.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        The majority maybe only last for a few moments and present no threat (except for the one a couple of weeks ago that took out my ancient NAS ago the real killer was the 3 hour one a few days later when I'd got the firmware restored & was running a disk scan). It's the longer ones in winter when hypothermia sets in in the all electric households and nobody can call an ambulance.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          I built a UPS which supplies the ONT, my router, my VOIP box and my file server. We have fairly frequent power cuts in SW Scotland, and it just smiles at them and carries on. The two 7Ah batteries inside should only be good for about three hours or so, but if necessary I can add a couple of car batteries to keep it going for a day or more.

          1. collinsl Bronze badge

            Make sure you get deep cycle batteries if you do that - car batteries are designed to deliver short bursts of high current rather than sustained low-level loads. They also don't respond well to being drained almost fully more than three or four times too which you'll not be happy with if you expect them to last for a few years.

      2. LessWileyCoyote

        I live in a London borough. In the last six years there have been three power outages, mostly caused by flooding in underground ducts. The shortest was around three hours, the longest over six hours. If a cable duct catches fire it's not a quick fix.

        1. Mike Pellatt

          Some of us were in the Dartford/Bexleyheath area when some scrotes set fire to the 132KV line on a cable bridge across the Darent. It was never determined whether it was a suicidal cable theft attempt or just vandalism.

          Took best part of 3 days to repair, the DNO were shipping gennies from all across the UK to install in the substations.

          The best part was the number of underground cables that popped over the following year or so because they'd got cold and the moisture wasn't being evaporated over that period....

          And in a classic horse/stable door event, Proper Security and CCTV were subsequently installed on the cable bridge.

      3. JimboSmith Silver badge

        One showroom in London I was at experienced a power outage that affected the entire street and beyond. The showroom had emergency lighting and the alarm had a battery, but there was nothing else in terms of backup. I was emailing the MD from my phone to say the power was out and we had no comms/sales as a result. Having turned everything off I got an SMS telling me that the power would be out until 3:30pm and told the manager it would be just over two hours. She suggested a staff outing to the pub across the road and I had to break the sad news this wasn’t possible by pointing out the pub had no power either. They couldn’t take payments as the tills weren’t working and some drinks required power to produce.

        We ended up in the local park eating ice creams from a Mister Whippy type van because the weather was warm and sunny. One of the better two and a bit hours I’ve been paid for. Got back for 3:25pm and at 3:30pm the power came back on as promised.

    6. Bebu Silver badge
      Windows

      Are these powered from the DC supply at the switch in the same way as POTS?

      《Are these powered from the DC supply at the switch in the same way as POTS?》

      If its anything like AU NBN it isn't. No power no network.

      I have used a 4G/LTE connection which can run from a usb powerbank since ADSL was pulled. Really served its purpose quite a few times. A UPS would serve the same purpose especially if your broadband router and ISP supported a 4G/5G failover.

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: Are these powered from the DC supply at the switch in the same way as POTS?

        That's not so useful if the power outage takes out the local cell towers as well. Which it will do, unless they are somehow on their own, completely separate grid, which I somehow doubt.

        1. CountCadaver Silver badge

          Re: Are these powered from the DC supply at the switch in the same way as POTS?

          Tbh surprised mobile operators haven't put either backup gennies or solar panels charging a battery bank yet....

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Are these powered from the DC supply at the switch in the same way as POTS?

            Cell masts have the absolute bare minimum legally required.

            Which appears to be nothing at all, in some cases.

        2. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Are these powered from the DC supply at the switch in the same way as POTS?

          I think they have some UPS and/or battery capacity at base stations.

          1. collinsl Bronze badge

            Re: Are these powered from the DC supply at the switch in the same way as POTS?

            Unless some theiving scrote has broken in and nicked the batteries.

          2. Mike Pellatt

            Re: Are these powered from the DC supply at the switch in the same way as POTS?

            It looks very much as if there's no serious power supply resilience at the local mast installed for... the Emergency Services Network.

            That's so going to turn out well.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waiting game...

    > until sometime around 2030, when customers will be required to move over to Digital Voice or an alternative.

    "Alternative" means BT just going to out wait the oldies until they drop dead and someone else moves in who needs broadband.

    1. nematoad
      Happy

      Re: Waiting game...

      Vows it won't 'proactively' shift folks who only use a landline or have no mobile signal.

      Too late. I'm old and if I had to wait for the likes of BT or Plusnet I might not be here to use the 'phone.

      Luckily we have a local fibre company who seem to be on the ball with this. I switched to them a month ago, so I have now got 3 times the speed for 2/3rds the price. I also have my landline with them. I don't have a mobile, most networks don't work around here and EE, the one that does, can be a PITA to deal with.

      What's not to like?

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Waiting game...

      Call me cynical but that was exactly what went through my mind. Say what you like about her, but the cruel mistress that is death is BT's most productive telephony engineer.

    3. ibmalone

      Re: Waiting game...

      I remember moving out of a flat around 2016, had previously changed the broadband to FTTC with Plusnet. On cancelling that contract (which had run its course), had to pay an Openreach *disconnection fee*, so far as I tell this was so they could send (supposedly) someone out to the cabinet and change it back to copper. They never did answer my question about how I could confirm they'd done this. Or why it was necessary. I guess the next occupant then got a FTTC plan again.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Waiting game...

        "had to pay an Openreach *disconnection fee*"

        What happened if you didn't? They reconnected you?

        I detect BT manglement thinking at its finest.

        1. ibmalone

          Re: Waiting game...

          I wondered that too, but I think the boring answer is they just send the bill and then pass it on to debt collection if you don't pay. (The same as Virgin Media did when they incorrectly sent a bill for the month after I'd closed an account, paid the final bill and moved to a different address.)

    4. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Waiting game...

      The alternative is that they will be supplied with a little convertor box that is connected to the digital line and has an analogue socket for their old phone. The hard bit will be that it also needs to be plugged into the mains.

  4. Tim 11

    what about my fax machine?

    will I be able to plug that into the back of the router?

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: what about my fax machine?

      Possibly. Minitel works. Maybe the slow speed fax would as well? Or maybe upgrade to FoIP?

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: what about my fax machine?

      What about my dial-up modem - will I still get a 56K connection?

      [ok, I know I only ever got just over 40kpbs, and that was flakey as feck, but I'm a nostalgic kind of girl, and I love those negotiation sounds]

      1. spuck

        Re: what about my fax machine?

        I know you're talking tongue-in-cheek here, but it reminded me:

        A few years ago my parents were asking me if they should get Internet at their home. When I asked them what they wanted to do with it, they didn't have a reason other than the neighbors were asking for their e-mail addresses. I spent 30 minutes searching if there were still any free or low-cost dial-up ISPs, with no luck.

        Then I started wondering: What if I could be their ISP? I wouldn't install and pay for another land-line at my home, but what if I bought a VOIP number that dialed into a modem in a server at my home? I wondered what the performance would be like, but the whole issue became moot during the pandemic when we bought them a mobile and put it on our family plan so they could see the grandkids over FaceTime.

      2. Mike Pellatt

        Re: what about my fax machine?

        Depends if your line's DACS'ed.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: what about my fax machine?

        "What about my dial-up modem - will I still get a 56K connection?"

        I read something the other day, possibly a commentard on this very site, that it depends on the VOIP codec in use. Providers using lossless codec do seem to be able to cope with both dial-up modems and faxes. I think s/he even commented that dial-up speeds on a 56k6 modem where actually very close to that magical theoretical maximum. (Apparently there are still people out there running honest to god dial-up BBSs :-))

        All that said, I expect here in the UK that most VOIP services, especially this large scale POTS conversion of BTs and VMs, will most likely use a high compression lossy codec to minimise the bandwidth usage and maximise the profits. I expect the quality of voice calls to drop, if not immediately, then over time.

    3. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: what about my fax machine?

      Some VoIP codecs don't play nicely with fax, not sure if BTs is one such...

      1. the spectacularly refined chap

        Re: what about my fax machine?

        ISTR reading perhaps a year back they were trying to get fax removed from the universal service obligation for precisely this reason.

        Ah yes, here it is.

  5. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
    Facepalm

    > When a power cut means nan has no phone...

    It's a good job that eco-fanatics aren't pushing us into a brave new world of having an unreliable power supply then, isn't it?

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      Happy

      Would have thought a fair number of the people that read these articles have their important stuff hanging off the back of a UPS.

      God knows rural electricity can be shakey, especially at milking time, so my router is wired though a little 12V UPS. A brownout of only a second is all it took to kill the router, now? Well, woke up one morning and between the UPS and the phone, I didn't realise there was a major power cut until I put the kettle on, walked across the field to feed the cat, and the kettle was still cold when I got back...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        The cable companies out here in the desolate wasteland of Her Britannic Majesties northern dominions will sell you a voip line but have to provide 48hr of UPS backup and the local cabinet has to do 48hours without power.

        Getting a cell signal means climbing the local 'mountain' (well it's only 700m but the tourist office likes Mountain)

        1. keithpeter Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          "[...] Her Britannic Majesties northern dominions [...]"

          I'm afraid we have some bad news for you and the other villagers. Obviously the carrier pigeons have not arrived with the Proclamation yet.

          PS: seriously I do worry about the lack of any form of resilience in this spatchcocked network of multiple points of failure we are constructing. The aftermath of the next Carrington event will be something to behold.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            >I'm afraid we have some bad news for you and the other villagers.

            Obviously we only consider the old queen. We can't be expected to rename the city every monarch

          2. Bebu Silver badge
            Windows

            The aftermath of the next Carrington event will be something to behold.

            Might solve a lot of problems :)

            I imagine not much post mid-Victorian technology would survive. Steam locomotives. Pre 1980s motor vehicle could probably have the electricals replaced or repaired but anything with actual electronics would have to be backported :)

            Undeniably tragic if all the Tesla EV batteries were to explode during such an event. Yes tragic... still...

            Just about everything that has 'disrupted' life from the late 2000s would be kaput and much more besides.

            Possibly the one situation where the 'preppers' have got a point. Still a mob of raving loonies imho.

            The parts of the world where people live "off grid" because there never was any grid are likely to be least affected.

            1. xyz Silver badge

              Re: The aftermath of the next Carrington event will be something to behold.

              I'm off grid due to there beiing no grid anyway and all I know is that when BT does something (and at speed) there is much money to be saved by BT, so fuck the customer and smear them with bullshit.

              This'll go like HS2's shrinking distance and the "edge cases" will end up as anyone not profitable to BT.

              Anyway, I thought BT had a statutory duty to provide an emergency call service which is pretty much toast with VOIP.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: The aftermath of the next Carrington event will be something to behold.

                "Anyway, I thought BT had a statutory duty to provide an emergency call service which is pretty much toast with VOIP."

                They do. The rules have been amended to only include "vulnerable" people or those who can demonstrate they don't have a mobile phone, hence the free battery backup box for those who qualify. Also, I think the rules have also been changed regarding the battery backup that is/was at the exchanges to keeps POTS running during a power cut. The change being to reduce the capacity by about 50%. I'm not sure if the mobile phone providers have a similar obligation on their base stations though. If not, then potentially, only a very few people will be able to make emergency calls during a power cut.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      It's a good job that eco-fanatics aren't pushing us into a brave new world of having an unreliable power supply then, isn't it?

      sigh ... or indeed that continued burning of fossil fuels isn't driving more and more extreme weather events.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        There's a difference between pushing us into a brave new world of unreliable power supplies and requiring the electricity supply people to look up the word "resilience" in their dictionaries.

        As things go we at least have a gas hob and a couple of gas fires so a power cut still leaves us with heat and limited cooking. Decarbonise utilities entirely and we would be pushed back way beyond the experience of >60 years ago when I grew up in a house without any electricity at all - but had gas and coal fires.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          And you had your own coal mine in the back garden?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            No. Stratigraphically we're well below where the coal measures. But back in the 1950s there were these people who periodically arrived with wagons selling a few hundredweight of coal at a time.

        2. keithpeter Silver badge
          Windows

          Good Dr S: gas holders are not how gas pressure is retained nowadays alas. I wonder how long the emergency generators for the gas system will function in the event of a major outage.

          Icon: old enough to remember the transition from coal gas to natural.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Neither is the water network pressured by water towers.

            We have lost water several times because of a sub station in a neighbouring town (6 miles away) failing or having its grid connection disrupted.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Round here it's supplied by storage reservoirs set high up. A bit bigger than water towers and only needing pumps to top them up.

              1. Mike Pellatt

                It's the "only" bit that's the problem. The pump to put local water tower apparently tripped out regularly, and most of the village lost their water once the water towe drained.

                And then got dirty water for a few hours once it returned.

                "Apparently" because I only know this from the village FB group, being on a nice reliable well-filtered and chemical-free (once the leached nitrates are removed) private water supply.....

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "gas holders are not how gas pressure is retained nowadays alas"

            Nevertheless we have run gas fires and hob in outages. It's a big network and rather more resilient than the electricity supply.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              I should have added that I also remember the changeover and the fact it was long delayed in NI because the system was so leaky thatHMG didn't want to waste their North Sea Gas that way.

              But back in the days of town gas a school-mate & I had a device for inflating balloons from the gas supply which was lighter than air. Add a fuse made out of paper soaked in sodium chlorate (we were great fans of sodium chlorate) and a few match heads taped on for good measure. The balloon would rise a useful amount, go off with a bang that echoed nicely in the valley and fire burning match heads over the sky. Oh for those days back again!

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Joke

                Nowadays, you'd get arrested for potentially causing wildfires and scatting bits of rubber all over the place that animals might try to eat and then choke to death on. You evil terrorist!!!!

                1. Caver_Dave Silver badge
                  Flame

                  If only Police would arrest a few people!

                  It might stop the mass events lighting Chinese Lanterns or releasing hundreds of Balloons.

                  I was once at a wedding where they released around 100 Chinese Lanterns. I left in disgust and followed the lanterns to where they fell (luckily there was a full moon as once the flame goes out they are very hard to spot.) I helped the Pig farmer collect them from around the Pig Arks in the fields. I found out who the wedding planner was and the farmer did write to them, but got no reply.

        3. collinsl Bronze badge

          Hate to break it to you but the gas network relies on electricity to pump the gas, most hobs and all boilers post about 2005 rely on electricity to light them and/or prevent gas leaks by electrically holding valves open.

    3. short a sandwich

      If only the grid had been able to expand to keep up with demand. The NiIMBYs and planning departments saw to that, maybe direct your ire about the unreliable network there not at those of us that want to hand an habitable planet to our descendants.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Yep, it's the grid's fault that sometimes the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine ( regularly in winter for weeks at a time, when people need to heat their homes ).

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          What you're describing is the lack of grid storage technologies. These can be as old-school as pumped water storage hydroelectricity (which the UK already has, where it is suitable to build it) to more modern solutions such as flow battery technologies which are actively being developed. Investment in that sort of thing arguably counts as grid investment, and we could have been doing it. Indeed we'll need to be doing more of it when the increasing demand from electric vehicles cuts in more. Personally, I think that's a better investment than continuing to breathe in particulate pollution from diesel fumes.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

            Yes, but that more than doubles the price of the solar or wind energy, taking it from merely economically unviable to downright silly.

            It's not "the grid" that's the problem with renewables. It's reality.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
          Flame

          "Yep, it's the grid's fault that sometimes the wind doesn't blow"

          The point at issue is not providing communities with redundant connections. Without that one HV line failure and a couple of thousand households go dark.

          Actually our longest outage wasn't HV. It was one of the three faults in the couple of hundred metres or so of underground cable between us and the transformer. A fun one. Not only did the power go out but I used the trusty POTS to report both that and the smell of gas. The two mains were side-by-side and the underground shorting (we could feel acoustic shocks under our feet when standing in the road) had damaged the gas main and gas got into the drains and emerged a hundred or so metres away. The gas wasn't cut off (and no >>>>) but the length of electricity outage was delayed by the gas main had to be repaired first and that was delayed due to their insistence that temporary traffic lights had to be installed, manual traffic controls not being acceptable and that was delayed due the first vehicle delivering them breaking down so the whole operation didn't start until after dark although the fault happened at about 10am.

    4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: When a power cut means nan has no phone...

      Hmmm, is this a new twist on nominative determinism?

      NaN = Not a Number.

  6. msknight

    I want to know the equipment...

    ...because I have firewalls, etc. at home and I don't want one of their routers. But there seems to be very little reliable information on what they will install in people's homes and how to interface existing equipment.

    The last thing I need is for someone to come in, install stuff and then be faced with extra cost to get different equipment or re-configure my home systems before I can talk on the internet or use my phone again. And who do I call to tell them that my mobile phone reception is rubbish? Hopefully more information will come in time, as I have a relative in Salisbury who is less than impressed with their so called success there.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: I want to know the equipment...

      My understanding is that you have to use a BT router for BT Digital Voice. From the Draytek website (which has other useful information about this)

      "The BT Digital Home Phone service does not work with other routers, other provider's devices or ISPs other than BT"

      The same is true of the wireless extension sockets that BT will sell you - they will only connect to a BT router.

      I don't know if it will be locked down this way for ever or whether eventually BT will open it up, just like they did with their routers. I can live without my landline but don't want to ditch it yet.

      It's on my todo list to try to set up my BT router just as a modem with DHCP and firewall being handled by my Draytek and then see if I can plug my phone into the BT router and make the service work. I'm putting it off partly because there's a rat nest of mains, cat 6 and audio cables behind the hifi/IT rack that I've got to do battle with but mainly because I don't think it will work. If BT have tied VOIP to its router working as a router then I suspect I won't be able to configure the setup I've just described.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I want to know the equipment...

        Go out and buy a cheap (<$30) VOIP analog telephone adapter, and set up an account with one of the cheap SIP providers. They should be able to port your existing number.

        Granted, I'm in the US, but I made this change about 10 years ago. We used to pay about $28 per month for our analog landline, but now we pay about $50 per year. My neighbor went with the "landline" from our local cable ISP, and they pay $29.99 a month for it. I don't understand why? And, he's a retired IT guy.

        1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

          Re: I want to know the equipment...

          I've started looking at VOIP providers, but only half-heartedly - I don't want the hassle at the moment. I don't really use the landline and I might drop it when my contract comes up, but I'll be buying a new router before that so I'll get one with a phone socket which will let me me transfer to a VOIP provider or - when the pigs are on final approach - use Digital Voice when BT release the SIP settings for their service.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: I want to know the equipment...

            ZEN provide a cheap VoIP service and the Fritzbox routers they supply are ready to go once you move your POTS number onto the account

        2. Curtains

          Re: I want to know the equipment...

          I did similar a couple of years ago in the UK. Im with Zen Internet and have my own router, so cant plug a analogue phone into their own box.

          So purchased a Grandstream VOIP set, plugged into a RJ port on router, signed up with Sipgate Basic (for free at the time), chose a landline number. Then... filled in some paperwork to Port my landline from BT to Sipgate. A few days later, I have 2 landline numbers that can ring on my VOIP phone - I didnt need the number I chose, so got them to remove it. Then installed a little app on my mobile that can take calls from SIPGATE and boom, I get my landline calls coming to my Granstream phone and mobile. I never make outgoing calls, so it continues to cost me nothing. No line rental, nothing.

          Unfortunately Sipgate dont do this deal anymore, and I guess its only a matter of time before they write to me. But certainly any VOIP provider who can port your landline from BT to them is going to be cheaper than BT by more than half or more.

          Im still shocked at how they can charge so much when they are on VOIP... oh wait... its BT.

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: I want to know the equipment...

        Sound like the situation in Germany, where my relatives were transferred to VOIP by Deutsche Telekom ten years or so ago. All that means was that they got a broadband router supplied which doesn;t do broadband but has their (DECT) POTS phone plugged into the back. And life continued exactly as it was.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I want to know the equipment...

        "It's on my todo list to try to set up my BT router just as a modem with DHCP and firewall being handled by my Draytek and then see if I can plug my phone into the BT router and make the service work."

        I'm with VM and have been reliably informed by other VM users where this has already happened, that the routers VM supply will still work in "modem only" mode and support the phone. The "wireless hub" they provide has 4 RJ45 and two RJ11 sockets. In modem only mode, only the bottom RJ45 socket works as the LAN connection to your own router and in either case, once switched over and provisioned, the top RJ11 socket is the "new" phone connection for which they will provide and adaptor to a "standard BT socket" for the phone to plug into.

        Of course, that's still and effective "tie in" to the provider., but with cable, there is only one provider anyway. I can see this being an issue for people on the BT network using different providers, especially those who are happy to jump from one to another for the best price deals and have LLU providers.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I want to know the equipment...

      Get your landline phone number ported to A&A VoIP pronto. That way you have full control over the timing and can make sure it works (test with a temporary number first). Then it's only £1.50 a month which is cheaper than anyone else except legacy Sipgate.

      This is what I've done. And now it turns out I can get 15Mbps with EE, so it's bye-bye 3Mbps ADSL. Jurassic have installed the MST for our group of properties, and a couple of Km of fibre, but that's all gone quiet now. And CDS..... well.....

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: I want to know the equipment...

        I dropped the landline years ago, we all have mobiles.

        My gran however, is absolutely dependent on her landline.

        While a mobile would be a better fit for her lifestyle and about half the price - there's no mobiles that she could actually use.

        Plus, she can't port her existing number to a mobile, which makes it a nonstarter.

        1. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

          Re: I want to know the equipment...

          @Richard 12: try Doro big button mobile handset, about 25 quid from Argos. My late 80s parents love them.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I want to know the equipment...

            Still can't port a landline number to a mobile though.

            1. collinsl Bronze badge

              Re: I want to know the equipment...

              Yes but with SIP you can redirect it

              1. Mike Pellatt

                Re: I want to know the equipment...

                Or run a SIP client on your mobile

    4. rafff

      Re: I want to know the equipment...

      I already have VOIP over FTTC (about 100yds to the cabinet) from Zen. Using a Fritzbox 7530 router. I have installed FritzFon on my mobile and now I can receive, but not make, "landline" calls anywhere. The 7530 also acts as a PABX so that mobile handsets can call each other directly without using the public network.

      I don't know whether I can configure the Fritz app to use my static IP. It would have to be done from a reasonable distance from the house to dodge the internal IPs, and would require a second person to press a button on the router.

  7. abend0c4

    It is contacting customers at least four weeks ahead of the switch

    This is where it gets confusing.

    As I understand it, it is Openreach that is shutting down the analogue network. However, consumers aren't actually its customers, so I'm not sure how they're going to identify "anyone with a healthcare pendant" - assuming I can even get through to an actual person at my mother's phone provider, I'm sure their response will be "duh, what?".

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: It is contacting customers at least four weeks ahead of the switch

      A friend's dad has some sort of man-down system that relies on BT. The good news is that they did contact him in advance. The expected news is that it's an ongoing pain in the arse for my friend to get his dad set up with the right system and battery backup. He's playing a lot of phone ping-pong.

  8. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    "... equipment will be installed in the local telephone exchange allowing them to continue to use their old phone line as before."

    What the hell does that mean?

    Perhaps they are leaving a copper feed (with power) to Mrs P's house in the street but that negates the requirement for "battery backup units". Otherwise, if there's fibre conversion in the cabinet, why would they need extra hardware in the exchange? I'm a bit confused here.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      As I read it they're just installing a version of the Digital Voice whatnot back at what's left of the exchange and then running it over the copper as before. Or, cynically, given that the back-haul for the switch is already digital, they're just leaving everything as it is instead of disconnecting it with the rest.

    2. Adam JC

      Sounds suspiciously like a SIP to POTS gateway (e.g an FXS/FXO device) to turn SIP into POTS.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Accident" waiting to happen

    At least BT seem to have some semblance of an idea what might go wrong, and are not simply disconnecting people.

    Oh, that wouldn't happen? Believe me it can and does.

    Elderly and confused relative on a phone "plan" from a large (non-BT) company, paid by DD.

    Misplaced a letter about switch over to digital services. Not tech-savvy at all, not even a mobile. After some while family members realised "we cannot connect your call" was not a temporary aberration. Cue a search for said letter, then a long drawn out process of getting the service switched over to the POTS look-a-like, suitable hardware fitted, the number reallocated and non-customer configuration issues sorted out. This took several months in all. The standard fee was waived, and I can see why.

    The problem is a current attitude in customer relations that says you can simply tell 99% of the customers what they are to do and wait for the unfortunate 1% to pipe up before you deal with them. Ignore that fact that some (many?) of that 1% aren't in a position to pipe up, and many of those don't have someone to look out for them.

    This is what lay behind the recent British Gas metering scandal, and probably why BT are being a bit more careful. I will not be at all surprised in the coming year or two to hear of coroners lambasting utility companies after another "this must never happen again" tragedy. Utilities and their regulators are in the spotlight at the moment, hopefully they can up their game from the CPI+3.9% and pocket the money days.

    AC for reasons.

  10. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
    FAIL

    When a power cut means nan has no phone

    I keep seeing reference to the ill or the elderly as potentially having problems in the event of a power cut, but the impact of a power cut is far more wide-ranging than that.

    Where I live (rural, but not exactly the backside of nowhere) we get occasional power cuts especially in winter. A couple of years ago, storms knocked out the power for hundreds (if not thousands) of homes across the county. The lucky folk got power back after a few days, others had to wait a few weeks. During that time there was no home broadband, obviously. And as the local cell towers have no back-up power, there was no mobile broadband or voice comms either, Thankfully the plain old telephone system still functioned (most people had the presence of mind to squirrel away a corded phone for occasions such as this). Voice over copper was the only means of communication we had.

    I really shudder to think what the consequences would be of a prolonged power outage once we've moved to an all digital telephone system.

    1. Death_Ninja

      Blackout

      "I really shudder to think what the consequences would be of a prolonged power outage once we've moved to an all digital telephone system."

      Well, we'll never know because you won't be able to communicate with us ;-)

      If you are reallly that isolated, I recommend a sat phone - they aren't too expensive now.

      Assuming of course that WW3 isn't the reason why the rest is offline, in which case you'll have nobody left to phone even if the satellite is still in the sky

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Blackout

        Trouble is that sat. phone also needs a generator.

        Recent experience which several people on here have alluded to are situations where power is out for days and weeks. Part of the problem is that they are rare compared to outages of an hour or so. Hence a decision has to be just how much do you prepare for some of these events and what should your coping strategy be.

    2. Tron Silver badge

      Norfolk is screwed.

      My Nan lived there, along with numerous other peoples' Nans. Patchy mobile signal, regular power cuts. The only thing that worked reliably was the land line.

      BT are dumping a national asset of resilient infrastructure to save cash and replacing it with iffy crap that can be wiped out with an upgrade. SAGE should have stepped in, but are too busy fussing about China. Those smart meters could have used POTS and wouldn't need replacing every time their xG chips became obsolete.

  11. John Geddes

    Absolute chaos

    This seems a total mess.

    Ofcom say that "providers" must provide battery backup for those without a mobile signal. BT seem to be ducking this by delaying the changeover for those who tell them that they have no mobile signal.

    At least with BT, it is clear that they are on the hook for backup, eventually.

    If you have a different ISP, who is the "provider"? My ISP, Plusnet (part of BT as it happens) says they are not going to provide voice services after the change, so have no obligation to provide a backup unit. The one VOIP company I know says they don't consider themselves as a "provider" in this context either. So hey presto - nobody is responsible for keeping no-mobile users able to make emergency calls when the power goes off. (Who is right? I've asked Ofcom, who have gone away to think about it, and then gone very quiet!)

    Three more thoughts:

    It isn't just whole-community power cuts to worry about. If your house catches fire, or suffers a flood, your consumer unit may well trip off. And without a backup unit, you are stuck if you live somewhere without an adequate mobile signal.

    And beware the promises that you can call 999 using networks other than your own. Yes - you can call 999. But it seems that they can't call you back if you only have signal via a different network - so if 30 mins after your call, an ambulance is drifting around your village trying to find your address, they can't call you to ask for directions.

    As to Backup Units, Ofcom confusingly talk about being able to make "an hour of calls" but of course what they mean is that the units will offer the chance to make calls during the first hour of a power outage. If your power goes off at 0100, then some time after 0200 the battery will be exhausted, so even if your 0500 attempt to call 999 is the first call you try, it will be too late. Who chose an hour? When there were concerns about the UK having insufficient generating capacity this last winter, the plan was for a rotation of three-hour power cuts.

    It feels very much as if Ofcom has suffered from "regulatory capture" - they seem much better at meeting the needs of the telcos than at protecting the consumers who rely upon them.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Absolute chaos

      Much as I agree about OfCom caring more about pressure from Telcos than customers, it is customer's demand for higher and higher data rates that's driving this. On this forum I've seen recent posts wihngeing that 50Mb/s can't be considered high speed.

      On a more positive side there are a couple of things that OfCom could do. It could force roaming in the UK; if there's no Vodafone signal then let me use O2 at no extra cost. The other thing it could do is manage 5G roll-out licensing so that the Telco's have to install it areas with no coverage first. Want those lucrative central-London cells? Not before you've provided good coverage in the Lake District, Scotland and Shenfield railway station.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Absolute chaos

      "so if 30 mins after your call, an ambulance is drifting around your village trying to find your address"

      Or some other village if you tried What 3 Words & was misheard.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Absolute chaos

      "so if 30 mins after your call, an ambulance is drifting around your village trying to find your address"

      Welcome to the world before Google maps and mobile phones…

  12. BartyFartsLast

    I wonder

    How much it will be to make a "phone" call to another digital only user across their "phone" network?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: I wonder

      It'll cost the same as now or less. From the consumer's point of view it's a like-for-like change.

      99% of a telephone call in the UK has been digital for several decades now. Even System X is digital.

      "Each analogue line module unit converts analogue signals from a maximum of 64 subscriber lines in the access network to the 64 kilobit/s digital binary signals used in the core network."

      All that's happening here is the removal of the last remaining analogue component in the last mile..or perhaps more correctly moving it from the exchange into the subscriber's home.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        or perhaps more correctly moving it from the exchange into the subscriber's home.

        Well, except for the batteries, generator, and redundant switching equipment. All the things which make the ordinary telephone network far, far, more reliable and resilient than a broadband internet link.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: I wonder

          Redundant switching equipment went out a few years ago I'm afraid, it's all 'small cabinets of 48v goodness plus a ton of empty space where the actual telephone exchanges used to be. Oddly the old GPO 4ft 6 inch racks are still there, just devoid of equipment. Very eerie (an o/r tech let me look in thru the door of our local exchange)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I wonder

            Redundant switching equipment went out a few years ago I'm afraid

            Having been involved in the design of newer systems I can assure you that it didn't, despite the best efforts of general-purpose computer manufacturers to convince telcos that it isn't necessary.

            1. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: I wonder

              Glad to be incorrect :)

        2. AndrueC Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: I wonder

          Well, except for the batteries, generator, and redundant switching equipment. All the things which make the ordinary telephone network far, far, more reliable and resilient than a broadband internet link.

          The question was concerning the cost of making a call, not the reliability.

          The clue is in the way it was phrased:

          How much it will be to make a "phone" call to another digital only user across their "phone" network?

        3. Rolly_Poly

          Re: I wonder

          It would be a simple fix, to mandate that all new housing developments must have underground parking (dig a big hole and line with concrete) where not only motor-vehicles are kept but also a UPS - and other essentials - to avoid the problems you've pointed out.

          Obviously, might affect the profits of the large building firms but it works in many other countries.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: I wonder

            Electric car would be the UPS

          2. collinsl Bronze badge

            Re: I wonder

            ...which would then drown in the event of a flood

      2. flec

        "All that's happening here is the removal of the last remaining analogue component in the last mile"

        No - System X is going too.

        At the moment System X is dealing with that last mile of analogue-digital conversion.

        Once it's digital end-to-end, there's no need for System X. The telephone "exchange" - which needs to be fairly close* to an analogue telephone handset - can now be anywhere.

        https://telephonesuk.org.uk/exchanges/exchange-inside/ has some pretty pictures, and most of it is of the kit that won't be needed any more.

        * circa 5 miles IIRC

        1. BenDwire Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: "All that's happening here is the removal of the last remaining analogue component"

          And this is why I feel so bloody old.

          Back in the early 1980's the "Line Division" of my company* was involved in the design of SystemX, and as a young trainee graduate I helped build and test parts of the system. On one memorable occasion Tomorrow's World's William Woollard was invited to film a mini-documentary about SystemX and he paced up and down next to my desk as he rehearsed his lines. Initially endearing, but ultimately very annoying. Nice guy, but really, never meet your heroes.

          *Based at the site of 2MT if you know your radio history.

  13. Andy-W

    Re:power cuts

    I'm concerned about the local exchange battery-powered POTS lines fitted in lifts, for use when the power or mechanism fails...many cellphones don't work in Faraday cages :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Re:power cuts

      As someone who's job it is to update these, I can tell you that a large portion of these have already been removed from a POTS line and had a multi-net roaming SIM installed with an LTE router with an ATA port. Because what we do is a fraction of the cost of replacing the lift's internal comms boards with LTE capable kit, just unplug the BT male phone connector from it's 'socket' and jam it into the ATA. Bish bash bosh, easy money :-)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Re:power cuts

        And do you make further savings on providing a battery backup?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re:power cuts

          That's not within our scope/remit. Would fall under the lift maintenance company/contractor to provide redundant battery backup/power backup to the lift panel itself. If the lift's electronics aren't powered to initiate the call over a POTS line through the lift's circuitry, then they won't work in a power cut no matter how the call is being carried :-)

  14. BenDwire Silver badge
    Boffin

    More info available here

    My ISP (the wonderful Andrews and Arnold) have this update about what's happening.

    https://www.aa.net.uk/etc/news/sogea-update-1st-september-2023/

    I have one of their voice-only lines as I live too close to the exchange, therefore have no cabinet for fibre. It may be ADSL but it's fast enough for HDR Streaming, so no real need for any more. Yet. Unfortunately Vermin Media are in the street, but won't connect me as my drive is too long ... and BT own the conduit to my house. As such OFCOM think that I have fibre available, so isn't forcing BT to offer the service to me. Catch 22. Thankfully I'm moving soon anyway ...

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: More info available here

      Hope you move somewhere with fttp. We have fttp available, but it's toob, and they haven't YET opened their network to other ISPs.... I hope they do soon, I want my A&A on fttp :)

    2. Ken Smith

      Re: More info available here

      How does this work if you have VDSL/FTTC from a non-BT ISP and POTS service from BT on the same BT Openreach copper pair? If I port my POTS number to a VoIP supplier will BT / BT Openreach de-provision the whole line or is there enough intelligence in the process for them to notice the 3rd party VDSL/FTTC service on the line. Or will BT provide SiP details for the POTS service at transition and I can connect to that via my 3rd party VDSL/FTTC service. I fear a right screw up in the making here.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: More info available here

        I seems from the A&A link provided that BT will ASSume they own the 'line' and deprovision the entire line... Might be worth a pre-emptive call/email to isp

  15. MJI Silver badge

    I am on digital voice

    It is OK, we have a handset in the sitting room, which uses wifi to the BT router, and a normal land line phone plugged into the phone socket on the router.

    Router next to PC, PC next to the fibre in.

    All works fine, got a mobile BB fail over as well, but not triggered that yet.

    1. Jonathan Knight

      Re: I am on digital voice

      Yep me too. Vodafone offered a discount if I jumped early so over I went.

      I did a bit of hacking on the socket and wired the analogue line from the router back into the phone socket so I have all my extensions working as well.

      1. Commswonk

        Re: I am on digital voice

        I did a bit of hacking on the socket and wired the analogue line from the router back into the phone socket so I have all my extensions working as well.

        I wondered about doing that but could find nothing about what "REN" the router can provide. In the absence of that information I assume that it is "1".

        From the (l)users perspective this migration to VOIP looks very much like a backward step.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I am on digital voice

          I wondered about doing that but could find nothing about what "REN" the router can provide. In the absence of that information I assume that it is "1".

          Someone was asking on the VM forums about REN in relation to a family members who have 4 phones. It was reported that the REN on the VM hub is 3. And IIRC, the REN on most modern phones, while nominally 1, is actually a but lower so should probably work with at least three, possibly four phones plugged into it. Of course, other providers solutions may be different :-)

          1. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Re: I am on digital voice

            yes, REN in the UK was calculated on a very very strange basis, back when BABT were doing the approvals. Basically you sent prototypes to their test place, and they plugged them in parallel with a device of ren 1 (a standard 8746 phone with an electromechanical bell).. if you only sent one prototype... and it rang, it got REN 3... this explains why so many fax machines had REN 3, despite probably having undetectably low ring current. Also the REN 4 was a worst case scenario (long line, UAX type ringing, remember 80s..) Our landline in the early 90s could handily ring 7 phones, till i bought an OMNICOM pabx ...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plug into back of broadband hub

    Sounds simple.

    But, maybe BT and OFCOM have not noticed that folks no longer have a telephone in the hall, to plug into the router. What about extension sockets around the house, with various phones plugged in? My DECT base station is in the bedroom, simply because that was a convenient place, 20 years ago, to have a phone, phone socket and power socket together. The router is in a cupboard under the stairs, but that is not where I would like the phone to be. The home office (aka spare bedroom) still has a corded phone which I use when I have got fed up with the mobile dropping the call every 4 seconds. How I am supposed to connect that to the router under the stairs?

    I can fairly easily solve these problems, and I understand what is going on. But lots of folks will be left disconnected and alone. And it only works with BT's router? I've thrown many of those pieces of junk in the bin, and folks have been well impressed with the improved speed and reliability of service when replaced by something half decent.

    A really badly thought out idea and implementation, without even considering the previous examples of loss of power, both short term and widespread.

    Must have been thought up by the same committee who came up with smart motorways.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

      What about extension sockets around the house, with various phones plugged in?

      Those extension sockets should be simple extensions running from the main master socket. In the post-digital world the extension would be plugged into the phone socket on the router rather than the master socket on the wall.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

        Indeed, and as nothing uses the ring cap anymore, a simple BT 431a plug to plug lead should work spiffingly well plugged into the BT 'provides landline only my real internet is on another fibre' and any extension socket in the house

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

      And it only works with BT's router?

      That's how it sounds right now but I suspect that once there is a critical mass of consumers, the Netgears and BenqQs of this world will be selling similar products. It feels safe to assume that the BT-supplied boxen will be the usual BT quality so there will be a market for people selling something better.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

        From what I can make out a number of more recent routers have VOIP outlets and there are adapters. The bigger worry is if DV only works with BT lines what are the rest going to do. Last time I spoke to PlusNet I got an airy I'm sure they'll do something. If, as someone up thread mentioned, something is going to be nothing I'll count that as a termination of contract as the contract is for broadband and phone. Zen seem to be offering both and their FritzBox sounds rather snazzy with their reputation even more so.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

          I have a Fritzbox with Zen, and their digital voice offering. It works well, although is expensive for international calls.

          I do have a mini UPS on both the Fritzbox and the ONT, so have some protection from power outages provided whatever is at the other end of the fibre still has power. One nice feature of the Fritzbox is the inbuilt DECT base station, so even my cordless phones still work if there's no power. It also sends voicemail via email, which is handy.

          1. Adam JC

            Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

            FritzBox's look like something straight out of Smyth's toystore, but once you look past their cartoonish exterior they actually have some seriously versatile (And quite frankly, downright impressive) features!

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

            Thanks, good to know.

          3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

            Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

            provided whatever is at the other end of the fibre still has power

            Based on personal experience, I'd say that's a fairly bold assumption.

          4. John Miles

            Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

            I have a Fritzbox with Zen with call screening phone plugged in - but it is connected to A&A voip and a free SipGate connection (was using it to test before I ditched the FTTC connection) not Zen's which I thought dear for what I wanted

      2. David Hicklin Bronze badge

        Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

        I got this when I renewed my sky contract this year as it was cheaper than keeping the FTTC - I guess they are offering sweeteners to ISP's to have people switch over earlier. I had wondered at them stringing a new thicker cable down the posts earlier in the year. I guess at some point when the street is down that they will rip all the copper cables down.

        Box outside the house by OpenRech that connects to another OpenRech box in the house (needs power) that then plug into the sky supplied router via an ethernet cable, phone plugs into the router. Took a little while for the phone to switch over but the internet was instant.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Plug into back of broadband hub

        "the Netgears and BenqQs of this world will be selling similar products."

        Likewise, those who don't qualify for a free battery backup unit will probably see a plethora or small UPS units designed to offer an hour or two of power to those routers. Followed by complaints from the purchasers that "the internet doesn't work in a power cut" and house fires caused by cheap, unbranded Chinese knock-offs with baddly designed charging circuits for the batteries.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    What's the worst that could happen?

    I have had so few problems with VoIP that I can't criticise it. But I do worry what will happen when, not just the network goes down, but the cell towers as well.

    That's when we will discover how fucked we are. Has any pilot programme actually tested that scenario? I doubt it.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: What's the worst that could happen?

      BT network off and cell towers down? As I mentioned in a comment of my own a bit further up the page, I've experienced that on a number of occasions when a power cut has hit the village (and surrounding area) where I live.

      The outcome of the real world experiment? Isolation for days, if not weeks, on end. Unable to communicate, with impact up to and including people having domestic accidents or succumbing to the cold (these things tend to happen more when you don't have the luxury of light and heat) and being unable to contact emergency services.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: What's the worst that could happen?

      Has any pilot programme actually tested that scenario? I doubt it.

      It has been tested, albeit unwillingly: https://raeng.org.uk/media/xrrigg0m/raeng-living-without-electricity.pdf

      The results were pretty much as you'd expect, after the first few hours nothing worked except the old POTS lines, which continued to function throughout.

  19. Nematode

    What do other countries do?

    I heard that other countries, e.g. Norway? have already gone over to all-VOIP or mobile. How do they do this? What have *their* regulators insisted their telcos/ISPs do?

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: What do other countries do?

      AUS has mostly gone VOIP. (I say 'mostly' because I haven't heard news "last phone disconnected") There is some kind of legal requirement to offer connection to almost everybody, so some people got wireless internet or satellite connections. The exchanges have been decommissioned and the wires cut, so there is no 'retained' POTs-like system using the old wires.

      You got about a year warning for the disconnection date for your address., with repeated reminders. You had to agree to a time to get the replacement service set up. People with medical/emergency services got more attention, but the result was the same. Along with that, there was sustained push to warn businesses about alarm systems and elevators. Wireless and satellite connections aren't necessarily the same as the land-line they replaced, so some complaints there, but no more complaints in total than there always used to be with the old landline system. Basically no complaints at all from "old people", just from people in some kind of technological black spot.

      I stayed with my legacy provider because they sent me a dodgy warning letter with a one-month date that could be carelessly read as a one-month cut-off warning. And the phone connection on their box is bound to them, and the fall-over mobile phone data connection on the box is bound to them. That's the full-service residential offering. If I don't want to stick to the bound/integrated service, I can get lesser restrictions with less integration right down to "fully flexible system with redundant providers all at business rates all configured by you on business-level routers".

      1. Nematode

        Re: What do other countries do?

        Thanks. So, if the power goes off, how do you personally make a call?

  20. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    better than expected due to communicating the merits

    Or rather by not communicating the downsides.

  21. PG2255

    I don’t have a landline, so if I need to make an emergency call during a long power outage, I guess I’ll have to email them.

    (bit like the IT Crowd?)

    Hoping email will be fine:

    * FTTP - exchange hopefully has power (generator if need be)

    * Openreach modem has a battery backup

    * UPS for the router (and the modem)

    * Home battery system has an emergency socket next to it - so if the UPS is drained, I can power the router from that instead.

    Fingers crossed ehh!

  22. Rolly_Poly

    Has El Reg been sold to the yanks?

    Since I retired over 5 years ago, I rarely read stuff here. It was only because living near Salisbury, a few peeps I know were affected by this last weekend.

    'Analog' 'fiber'

    I notice analogue and fibre in the comments but the article seems to have been written by a USA-ian.

    1. BenDwire Silver badge

      Re: Has El Reg been sold to the yanks?

      You may have noticed that it's now theregister.com rather than .co.uk, and the switch to American spelling came shortly afterwards. Several other changes have happened too (no Paris icon, no Dabbsy etc) but it's all in the interests of making ElReg appear more 'professional'.

      It's a pity in my view, but others insist that "everything must change"

  23. Lee D Silver badge

    Still waiting.

    Vodafone (who provide my landline) keep telling me that I must move to this and they'll send me kit etc. for about the last 6 months. So far, zip.

    I don't care. In my last house, I literally never activated the phone line (which somehow confused the people that the landlord had tried to sell out too and who forcibly switched my electricity to them without my consent - they made that illegal shortly afterwards - and who wanted me to use their satellite TV and their broadband and their phone... I literally activated none of them and switched my electricity away immediately). That was 6 years ago.

    Last year I bought a house, the phone line was active and I used it for broadband (because it was so rural, but I'd been living 4G-only for many years already). I still don't know the phone number to this day, and I've never bothered to even connect a phone to it.

    And Vodafone will send me "adaptors" that plug into "my" router. You know, the one that I put in the bin as soon as it arrived, and put my own router with all my previous config on it on instead and made them give me the ADSL login details. So those adaptors will end up in the bin too.

    If I'm feeling bored, I may ask for the SIP login details for this Digital Voice thing (which is just a SIP line in reality) and plug it into my already-SIP-capable router which has analogue voice ports for handsets too. I still won't plug in a handset, but you never know - I might one day bother to have it answer the line, tell people that there's nobody on this number and then hang up.

    I don't decry the loss of analogue phones. I've been getting rid of them at work for 10+ years at least. I don't see the point in them in the modern age, especially for the cost of maintaining that line. And if I thought that the SIP-over-wifi and the backup of a 4G / GSM signal (on a dual-SIm phone) wasn't enough in an emergency (in a day and age where you can tweet for help or text 999 or similar), I could just sign up to something like Starlink or similar. I live in a very rural place, and have perfect views of the sky across a huge arc.

    Oh, and my kit is not only UPS but running off a solar battery bank too. It can maintain the whole cabinet in my house for many, many hours as well as my laptop, NAS and CCTV. But that's not why it's on a UPS or on the solar. If the power goes out for an extended period of time and there's an emergency requiring immediate assistance at the same time, and the phone lines are down and the wifi is down and the 4G is down - I will raise the attention of my neighbours, and then if it comes to it, someone can drive into town. Sure, not as fast, but already an extremely unlikely scenario.

    To be honest, why people think that that UPS in the cabinet is any different to one in their house or office, I can't fathom. After an hour or so, it's going to be dead. So in a power-cut, you make sure you don't need an ambulance in the second and subsequent hours, right?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...

    So they're going to retire copper before the end of 2025 but FTTP won't reach here (about 4 miles outside Manchester so not exactly out in the sticks) until 2026.

    Left hand, right hand..

    1. jollyboyspecial Silver badge

      Re: ...

      Except they are not retiring copper. If you're lucky (ish) you'll get an FTTC connection which is fibre to the street cabinet (ie copper to the premises). If you're not lucky at all you won't even got that, you'll get an MPF connection which is ADSL without the PSTN. So in other words the phone will be VOIP over ADSL which will probably be horrible over a long line.

  25. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

    Connections..

    Client of mine was moved by BT Business from 4 channels of ISDN to VoIP Deskphones. Just one issue. BT can't provide a connection to run said phones, 16/1 adsl2 is the maximum the site can have as they are on the only cabinet not upgraded to FTTC on the exchange, and now that roll out is gone.

    They did say they plan to provide FTTP between 2026 and 2028 to the site though...

    So the deskphones? Each one has an EE sim in to give it connectivity to use VoIP.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Connections..

      It would be at that point that I would stop using all BT products.

      In fact, I literally did that in similar circumstances at my former workplace.

      They wanted to play silly-beggers with pathetic DSL line speeds and taking THREE YEARS to install a leased line so we could go SIP. To the point that every 6 months, they'd be yelled at by senior management, come on site, put a piece of empty tubing through the site, never joint it, then go home. That way they could say they "attended site" and "progressed the installation".

      Turned out, that if you asked Virgin nicely and covered some costs, they would provider a leased line within THREE WEEKS. Which is still there 10 years later.

      And at that point, BT / OR then randomly turn up at a protected site uninvited on a regular basis trying to "complete the install" and are refused access, the contracts are all thrown in the bin, and all other BT services are severed. Partly because they then admit that there was NEVER enough room at the exchange at any time during those three years anyway.

      I took the site all-SIP within a few months of the leased line install and even cut the "backup" ADSL lines because we just didn't want to have to deal with a company like that.

      Vote with your feet, people.

      1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

        Re: Connections..

        We could get a Virgin leased line - it would be provided by Openreach though. And for the 4 members of staff, it would also be very expensive. This is the issue. The only choice we have is over OR, adsl2 or leased line.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Connections..

          Or Starlink. Or 4G with a myriad of providers.

          For 4 members of staff, you really don't need that much, but also you shouldn't notice the cost of a Starlink.

          (And, personally, I hate Starlink and can't wait for alternatives, but you have to consider it).

          I lived as an IT Manager for 5 years with having 4G only at home - including for VPN, CCTV, smart devices, TV streaming, etc. etc. etc.

          I moved house and did get DSL at a decent speed (finally) but I also brought my 4G router AND was on the cusp of reluctantly parting with money to get Starlink if I couldn't get decent speeds.

          As it turned out, the broadband is meh but usable and cheap. And because I still have the 4G in it, and that still works well, I don't really care if it falls over until it gets to the point that I feel like asking for a refund.

          If Mr Bezos ever gets his network off the ground, I would be sorely tempted to do that instead, if it would provide greater speed.

          Also... I've run entire networks with 100s of staff off nothing but dual-DSL lines before now. And even one month where all we had was 4G after our DSL contract was terminated through idiocy on the suppliers part (and then we bought a leased line).

  26. The_H

    Power failure critical problems

    There's no point in having a phone that automatically switches over to mobile. In my area (HU12) every time there's a power failure it takes *all* the mobile networks out too. There will be simply nothing left to make an emergency call on.

  27. Colin Bain

    Real boonies

    Just moved to Northern Ireland which although technically part of the UK is not mentioned here. That is not unusual I understand. I live in a square patch in the coverage which is an island of lower connectivity for reasons which seem to belong to the x files. Often I am restricted to 3G or less (according to my phone apparently).

    Given that current talk is that NI is twenty years behind the rest of the UK, that might be a blessing. I'm figuring I won't last that long anyway for age reasons.

    Alao.wondering what is going to happen to all that lovely copper wiring literally lying around in the the future. Will the price drop and its not worth digging up, or will.it be worth it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Real boonies

      Just moved to Northern Ireland which although technically part of the UK is not mentioned here.

      Well, apart from that opening line in Paragraph 4 which says: "This kicked off with the East Midlands in July, then Yorkshire and the Humber region in August and Northern Ireland in September. My sister in Co. Down already has her appointment for fibre conversion & optional digital phone install booked for next month. She didn't ask for it, just got an email from BT telling her it was happening.

      Given that current talk is that NI is twenty years behind the rest of the UK, that might be a blessing

      NI is often ahead of the game. In terms of demographics it has a similar mix of A/B/C1/C2/etc. to the UK as a whole, with a similar pattern in the spread of wealth, but with only 1.5m people, and is in a single ITV region. That made it a very popular test area for marketeers, who could get good trial data that mapped to the UK as a whole, but much more cheaply. It was one of the first parts of the UK to have fibre in the backbone network, I remember BT installing an experimental loop there in the late 1980s.

    2. collinsl Bronze badge

      Re: Real boonies

      The ADSL network isn't going away, it'll still be needed for all those properties which don't currently have a fibre install. You just won't be able to make a phone call over it any more, it'll be digital-signal-only

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fibre Network? Don't make me laugh

    It's not so long since gov.uk were saying that every property would be on full gig fibre by the end of 2025. Then there was some mumbling about "gigabit capable" connections which I took to mean G.Fast but the problem with that is that the government's own rules won't allow Huawei kit on gigbit connections and guess who manufactured most of the AIO street cabs on the Openreach network. Of course OR aren't in any kind of permission to replace all of those by the end of next year.

    So now we're down to everybody having a "fibre" connection. For the majority of people this means a copper connection to a street cabinet with a max downstream speed of 80Mbps. I still think calling a FTTC a fibre connection is ridiculous. If you're on plain vanilla ADSL then the backhaul from the exchange will be fibre. So if ADSL doesn't count as fibre then neither should VDSL to a street cabinet.

    Except there's another caveat to this. We're seeing a number of products as part of this rollout. FTTP and SOGEA are the main ones. The former is self explanatory the latter is basically FTTC but without the PSTN line so voice would be delivered over IP. Fair enough if you consider FTTC to be fibre, which I don't (see above) but the other product which made me snort when I first saw it is MPF. If you've never come across that particular TLA before it stands for Metallic Path Facility. In other words a copper line from the customer property to the distribution frame at the exchange - that's right your old PSTN line. But it won't be PSTN anymore. It will just be ADSL with the PSTN functionality replaced with VOIP.

    So that's it. BT/Openreach were given about 13 years to replaced PSTN and ADSL from the date of the original consultation. And here we are with scarcely over a year to the big switch off and their big

    solution is VOIP over ADSL.

    Oh and if any subscribers don't have FTTC on their copper line they shouldn't hold their breatjs about getting it. An awful lot of cabinets are fully subscribed now. So people who haven't already upgraded to FTTC or SOGEA might find their only option is to remain on ADSL, but with a new name MPF.

    But you'll notice that they've suddenly backpedalled on the "big switch off". They're now saying they are not going to force anybody to change. So if anybody wants to stick with PSTN they can stck with it. One telephone exchnge being retained to serve a couple of old dears who want to keep their old phone line. Really? All they will do is stop stelling new PSTN from exchanges. The big switch off has become something of a damp squib.

    Never mind. Some time during COVID, two prime ministers ago, Boris Johnson announced in the house (quietly and buried by a COVID related announcement) that the new target for full gig rollout to every property in the UK had slipped to the end of 2030. So that's all fine because we all trust everything that Boris Johnson says. Don't we?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Fibre Network? Don't make me laugh

      It was alll hopelessly optimistic any Huawei.

  29. steviebuk Silver badge

    How does this affect out in the sticks locations?

    We visited the lake district this year, first time, was very nice. Stayed out in the sticks. Nearest village was about 1mile walk away and it didn't appear to have any shops just a pub, school and church. The lodge stayed in was down long, deserted roads just full of sheep. But, it had internet. I'm assuming OpenReach aren't going to dig that lot up to install fibre so that place will loose Internet access.

  30. The Basis of everything is...
    FAIL

    PlusNet plussed off

    Just to see what the options for a new customer are around here (semi-rural just south of Birmingham) and PlusNet will very thoughtfully save me the hassle of dealing with a real phone line as "Our Fibre package is phone line free. Simple and straightforward broadband. Simple as that."

    With their mobile being phased out in favour of EE (33% price increase), an unknown cost to find another phone service / buy VoIP kit and hassle of number changes, and a DSL option that promises minimum speeds they've never achieved this is not looking good.

    And apparently my contract, which still has 13 months left to run, is now only for broadband and line rental. Why do I feel that "We'll do you proud" is turning into foxtrot uniform?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to Replace Landline with a Mobile

    I still use my landline and will use it to the end. It is invaluable to give people a phone number which is obviously incapable of receiving pestering texts and I give the mobile selectively in cases where I am willing to have text information like with delivery services.

    Like email, It is impossible to ignore mobile texts without reading first, so they would be just a huge timewaster.

    I don't use social networks or any similar garbage on a mobile.

    How can I continue to use a mobile in future to replace my landline and avoid all the hassle when everyone knows I should be able to receive texts?

    Voip calls raise even more issues and I don't want BT's sillyphones.

    I will have to to have a selection of mobiles for different uses with different levels of barring - messy and expensive.

    Any solutions?

  32. Mike_T.

    It seems that lives matter less than profit

    Given the current government's attitude and policies I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but I do find it rather worrying that when I loose my analogue phone service based on recent experience it is going to be impossible to call the emergency services during a power cut. These may only happen once or rarely twice a year but the shortest was about 23 hours and the longest was almost five days (by which time I was decidedly cold and very tired of cheese sandwiches).

    Mobile phone coverage here is so bad, even when the power is on, that I gave up and cancelled my mobile contract a several months ago, but prior to that if I did have a signal I lost it immediately if the power went off. Whoever decided that a mobile phone was a suitable replacement for a land line obviously was either ill informed or just doesn't care about the consequences.

    And no I'm not really out in the sticks, just quite close to a particularity lumpy bit of chalk near the South Downs...

  33. Gondaft

    Landline

    i wonder if that's the end of charges for a landline ?

    1. collinsl Bronze badge

      Re: Landline

      In theory, yes. Those of us already without landlines don't pay the rental fee, but I bet someone will put up prices somewhere to make up for it. It'll be a loss of revenue for OpenReach

  34. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    I just had a quick skim through the OfCom guidance...

    ...and the OfCom Guidance" doesn't appear to take into account and area power outage also taking out mobile phone masts, which many commenters have said is often the case. Likewise, the battery backup option is expected to last for a minimum of only one hour in most cases, possibly much longer IF the provider identifies or can be convinced the customer lives in an area likely to have longer power cuts.

    Look at Code of Practice for Wireless Network Development in England, the work "backup" doesn't appear at all , and reading around every occurrence of the word "power", I can't find any design, planning or legal requirement for any form of non-grid power.

    I have, however, found comments on formums from people claiming they were involved in installing phone masts and they have batteries and, in some cases, generators. The batteries are expected to last at least two hours. No comments on whether backup power is a requirement rather than a "nice to have" from the point of view of the mobile telcos though. On the other hand, isn't the new emergency services combined comms network running off the mobile phone masts if/when it;s up and running? I'd think that would put a legal obligation of the mobile telcos to have decent backup power for their network.

    Can anyone confirm if there is a legal obligation on mobile networks for backup power? Because if not, then there is NO emergency phone coverage for ANYONE in an area wide power cut, despite the above link OfCom Guidance, other than maybe and hour or so for "at risk" people.

  35. Somone Unimportant

    Been there, lost that

    Folks in OZ have had this forced upon themselves over the last ten years as NBN was pushed out and copper was removed.

    We have a landline for business reasons, and it was converted to VoIP/NBN.

    The process was fairly painless, however I noted a few issues.

    1 - Some consideration was given to emergency landline support, but it wasn't made clear that in the event of a power outage upstream that one's landline would also go down.

    2 - My landline is at the mercy of NBN infrastructure, which for us is HFC, which itself has multiple single points of failure.

    3 - All customer service guarantees were thrown out the window when PSTN over copper was removed, and Telcos now have no legal responsibility to maintain landline-equivalent VoIP to the same level as the traditional POTS servivces.

    4 - My DECADIC (rotary) dial phone no longer works - a beautiful 1920's wall phone, fully refurbished. But that's just me.

    and lastly

    5 - If all you want is a landline, such as my parents do, it's still an NBN installation and NBN monthly charge.

    It's five steps forward, three steps backwards sometimes.

  36. lidgaca-2

    The coverage maps

    It's all very well and good saying that we can just move to a mobile connected world, but out here in the wild outlands (in a village all of 15 bloody miles from Sheffield ...) my mobile signal sucks rocks. I'm lucky to get a usable voice signal in the upper floor of my house, and don't ever get any kind of data signal. 2g / 3g / 4g or any bloody g ...

    What's worse is the the coverage map tells me (and whichever telco I choose to use ...) that my signal is fine, and I have nothing to worry about. Consequently the telecos have no interest in upgrading / changing / modifying the infrastructure and I'm basically stuck with no signal.

    After numerous phone calls (on my landline ...) to the telecos, there seems to be no way out of this, because the coverage maps show the signal to be good. End of story.

    -- Chris

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lifts Anyone

    Has anyone considered what effect this will have on emergency contact lines in Lifts (Elevators)

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Has anyone considered what effect this will have on emergency contact lines in Lifts

      I reckon they could be a bit up and down.

  38. SteveM84

    They keep saying the old Analogue system, it isn't analogue, but it only gets digitised at the exchange. The impression given is that the whole network is analogue and that hasn't been the case since the 80s.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They're retiring the remaining analogue parts of the phone network.

  39. John Geddes

    Correction - "an hour of calls"

    Correction to my comment about "an hour of calls" being quoted for Battery Backup (above).

    I quoted Ofcom as having put out this phrase - having checked, I can't find Ofcom having said this - for all their faults, they do seem to have been consistent in talking of backup that would last for an hour.

    I did find the phrase "an hour of service" in an EE answer to a user query (https://ee.co.uk/help/home-phone/fix-problem/problem-with-my-battery-back-up-unit#:~:text=You%20can%20buy%20a%20Battery,do%20this%20once%20a%20month.)

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