back to article BT delays deadline for digital landline switch off date

BT has extended the deadline for migrating customers off the copper-based Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to digital landlines to give more time to vulnerable people, including telecare users, to move. The former state-owned British telco monopoly had planned to shift customers across to internet-based services at the …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Having not thought through the consequences they've given themselves a bit more time to not think through the consequences. BY manglement at its finest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I feel a little bit dirty saying anything in defense of a shitshow like BT but the switchover has been happening for about 10yr, the years mentioned are just supposed to be the completion dates.

      It's not been helped by bits of government that effectively sat with their thumbs up their arses doing nothing for about 5yr of this other than produce pretty visualisations about how much they were doing (which was nothing other than self promotion of various managers and contractors). And the manufacturers of alarm systems for the elderly and vulnerable were some of the most incompetent, greedy and irresponsible I've ever encountered to the point of being dangerous.

      So TBH yeah it's a mess but in this instance I'm not sure the teclo is majority to blame.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        So who is to blame for that fact that locally the said telco is putting its finances into rolling out FTTP to the premises well served by FTTC but customers on the further reaches of the same cabinets are struggling with poor quality service?

        Even accepting the reliability of limitations of locally powered digital over POTS this should not have been considered in advance of getting an adequate digital service to every location. Not just the easy ones, all of them.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      I read this slightly differently. In part because of conversations about switching off phones of people who don’t directly contract with BT for broadband and phone.

      I’ve separated the general service availability switch off from the physical switch off.

      Thus the current deadlines and restrictions will remain on POTS landline services, however, those who identify as “being at risk” etc. will be given longer before their line physically gets switched off.

      What this means in my area for example, where the POTS is due to be turned off in December 2024. I expect this service swithc off to happen, so if I’ve not notified BT that my phone need meets their criteria before December and I’ve not contracted for a BT broadband line, I can expect in January to find I am unable to make/receive calls on that phone, ie. Get an out of service message when I attempt to dial. Rather than a dead/unpowered line. If I’ve notified BT, at some future undefined date, BT will offer an appropriate upgraded to my phone and set a date for the final power down of POTS.

  2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    The main thing that's mentioned as an argument against the move from copper to fibre is care alarms, but there's a more general issue - the requirement to be able to remain in communication with others during a power cut.

    Where I live we have minimal to non-existent mobile phone coverage, and power cuts are not uncommon. My local council recently sent everyone in the area a rather sobering communication to make us aware of the impact of a power cut in a post-copper world...

    Aside from landline, we have no practical means of contacting emergency services. If, during a power cut, you suffer a serious medical event such as a heart attack, stroke, aneurism, or suffer a serious are going to die. If you have a domestic fire....your house will burn to the ground and you will lose everything. If your neighbour's property catches will spread to your house, which will burn down and destroy everything you own. If criminals decide to exploit a power cut in order to come and commit crime, you will be a victim as there will be no means of summoning the police.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is that really from the council? Would be nice to know which one. It reads more like a political party leaflet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Is that really from the council? Would be nice to know which one. It reads more like a political party leaflet."

        And one of the more swivel eyed, frothing lunatic ones at that.

        I wonder if they mentioned 5g death rays and energy weapon streetlights too

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I hope the communication also pointed out that your only options are:-

      1. To lobby your MP to fight to try put an obligation in law to get BT to provide copper lines.


      2. Fight the local council(!) to get planning permission waved through for more phone masts to be built in your area, assuming the telecoms companies actually want to build them....

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Your 2 isn't going to work unless the phone masts also have a UPS/tested backup generator able to outlast a power cut.

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        1. To lobby your MP to fight to try put an obligation in law to get BT to provide copper lines.

        At the same time you could lobby for Shell and BP to be obliged to supply hay at their filling stations in case another Carrington Event makes us all reliant on horses again.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Seems like the council is being sensible and has probably taken legal advice; if something happens to you because of a power cut, we have no (or very limited) liability.

    4. Lee D Silver badge

      I work for schools and we've evaluated this so many times in so many schools over the last 10 years.

      Pretty much every school is SIP.

      Pretty much every fire plan, etc. includes "staff can use their mobile phones".

      We gave up trying to preserve this nonsense and just went to modern ways, after realising that a member of staff with a kid with a broken leg won't even bother to look for a landline, they'll use their mobile. And at that point, what are you providing?

      And in a power cut, the phones are all PoE and can be powered for 20+ minutes (enough to evacuate the school or make/check other arrangements for emergencies).

      You want to not be cut off at home? Buy a mobile phone. Or a UPS. Problem solved.

      Because that's exactly how BT were doing it anyway - the UPS was just in the street cabinet that you didn't see.

      1. Test Man

        And that's not to mention that most people have cordless phones... which don't work in a power cut anyway, PSTN or no PSTN.

        Specifically, this only affects people with corded phones or other equipment that gets its power from the phone line.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Of course I have cordless phones. I also have a corded phone. The number of times I've used that in the past few years to call Northen Powergr.... carrier lost.

        2. csimon

          People who have problems with power interruption and/or mobile reception are the ones most likely to have a corded phone.

        3. BartyFartsLast Bronze badge

          Which is why cordless phone manufacturers and telecom providers advise that you should have a wired phone in case of emergency during a power outage.

        4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          My cordless phone work very nicely in a power cut, thank you, but that may because the Siemens VOIP box they talk to runs from a UPS. And yes, it has been used in anger many times.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Our longest power cut in the last few years was 17 hours. Does the UPS in the cabinet last that long? Since 3G shutdown the local phone signal is a bit iffy? So if you're going to have a heart attack, stroke, or whatever you'd be best to have it in, say the forst hour of the power cut.

      3. DaleWV

        1) Rural areas often have poor to non-existent mobile phone coverage.

        2) A recent power cut in this area (with no mobile coverage available) lasted 6 hours and 1 hour plus outages are not uncommon. Can you afford a big enough UPS to cover that?

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          6 hours at 10W for a phone?

          I damn well hope so.

          1. Bultark

            With the modern age, things are changing. I have an EV (Kia EV6) where you can take energy out of it. Have a power cut? The car can power key elements in the house for several days. Who know in the future and more people move over to EVs and EV makers change the designs of their cars, the cars becomes UPS

            1. Lee D Silver badge

              This is actually part of my "retirement plan".

              I'm in my 40's and bought a house (for the 3rd time in my life) just before the point at which any mortgage would fall into my retirement. I did it deliberately, so I had one stable place to see out the rest of my working life and retire to, with any luck.

              Part of that decision was:

              - an all-electric house

              - the ability to mount solar panels

              - being able to have driveway parking

              - the potential for an EV charger

              With a goal of being utility-independent by retirement. Electricity suppliers are now an industry that wants to do nothing but profiteer from me, so I decided to start cutting them out of my life. Same for fuel costs.

              I'm already getting there - over a year in and I can supply 2KWh / day of my 7KWh / day consumption, and I have a system *capable* (but not wired to do so) or running all the appliances in my house so long as I'm careful. I now have "permission" (really just a confirmation that I don't need permission) to install solar panels on the entire roof.

              I bought a car new many years ago and that was purchased at the time with the intention of being the last ICE car I purchase. The next car, when this one dies, gets old, starts failing, isn't compliant, or is too costly to run, will be all-electric. Another few years at most, I reckon.

              And then the combination means: No fuel costs. No electricity costs. The whole house running from battery / electricity (maybe not even the grid at all by that point - not one penny going to an electricity supplier!).

              And I have plans to eliminate water requirements too but they haven't been so nasty to me personally (polluting all the local rivers aside) so maybe I'll stay on my water meter (which instantly divided my water bill by TEN!) and keep feeding them a pittance.

              I'm even evaluating the same with Internet - I lived 4G-only for 5 years, I have looked intently at Starlink (but can bring myself to give that man money, so maybe a rival in a few years instead) and I'm not reliant on my landline at all and don't really care about it (all I need is Internet, everything else can run over it, and I can make Internet redundant enough to cover almost any scenario with a bit of outlay).

              If I'm spending £20-30k on a giant moving battery, I'm going to want to be benefiting from that when the car's parked in the driveway too.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                How do you plan to heat the place in winter when you're panels will give you 1kWh if you're lucky? What about when the cell towers lose power or are compromised?

                1. Lee D Silver badge

                  Winter - the panels were giving me 1KWh and that's what I based the figures on. There is room for 10-fold expansion.

                  I'm only limited to 2KWh at the moment because of batteries.

                  1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                    You can heat your house and power all your gizmos and UPS with 1kWh? Lucky you…

              2. andy 103

                You're planning on generating enough electricity yourself to charge an EV, and power your home?

                What happens if you can't do that and then you can't charge your home with said EV? It's almost like you've not thought this through.

                Electricity suppliers are now an industry that wants to do nothing but profiteer from me, so I decided to start cutting them out of my life. Same for fuel costs.

                It's called a business and you need to stop acting like you're getting nothing whatsoever in return.

                Hint: if it was that simple everyone would have abandoned utility companies a while ago.

                1. Lee D Silver badge

                  A business provides a service the customer wants for a price they can afford.

                  Electricity companies - aside from ridiculous overcharging based on clearly mathematically-unsound estimates, to profiteer from holding your funds and with estimates increasing on price rise and just before every winter (and dropping just before every summer) - are gouging people. Hell, my "storage heating" rate was recently changed to be MORE than the standard night rate. That means that using storage heating costs more money and is actually far less efficient (through storage losses) than just putting a convector heater in their place (which is exactly what I've done).

                  The EV will charge wherever I want. It will not use fuel. That, in itself, is enough for fuel independence. If it's at home for the weekend, it's a giant additional battery bank so the surplus I generate (which I have ZERO intention of feeding back to the grid) will be stored and not wasted. By retirement, my EV use will be minimal, and it will happily charge from the panels I can fit - even with the cheapest of today's panels - between uses enough to cover almost all journeys.

                  "Hint: if it was that simple everyone would have abandoned utility companies a while ago."

                  It didn't used to be. Would you like to see my 6000W pure-sine inverter connected to a LiFePO battery bank run all my appliances? Because it's already capable of doing so. And it cost comparatively nothing. You couldn't do that even 20 years ago - 7KWh of lead-acid is a wall of batteries weighing stupendous amounts that you have to replace every few years. 7KWh of LiFePO I could fit in a small under-sink cabinet without a struggle, on the original shelves (I wouldn't but that's how light they are), and give 10+ years no problems at all.

                  And the cost? For 18 months after moving in, I would refund the SURPLUS that my electricity company was stealing from me on the basis of their made-up estimates, sink it into a battery, a panel, or a piece of kit, and hence next month would be slightly more refund AGAIN. (They have now returned to some resemblance of common sense, but still "over-estimate" the day before every price increase, the day before every bill is issued, etc.). Literally in the "this is my fun hobby" scales of money, adding on little by little. I have flexi planels, bi-facial panels, normal panels, I have some on a shed with an angled bracket, I have some flat, and I have some VERTICAL stuck on the front of my south-facing porch - all produce enough to payback in a reasonable time) I have used old lead-acid from family's cars, changed for multiple LiFePO, I started with a "toy" charge controller, moved up to one capable of 60A - 2.8KW @ 48V, I started with a small existing inverter (150W square wave) up to a 6000W pure-sine. I have used approximately 2% of the available surface area, and 0% of my south-facing roofspace (was waiting to check permissions).

                  I regularly generate 2/7'ths (limited entirely by battery usage at the moment, but with batteries and available panel space, easily covered completely) of my daily average energy requirements with what is basically still a hobby-setup, in the UK at London latitudes.

                  And this is STILL an "amateur" setup according to solar forums I frequent. That's without heatpumps, just conventional convector heaters, or an efficient water heater through the last two winters. My house rated a "D" for energy efficiency on purchase because of the lack of sufficient insulation (but that's a nonsense because it's AMAZING at holding heat - concrete tiles really help. There's so much more I could do - I bet I could get usage down to 5KWh on average (it's really the winter heating that hits hard).

                  And if that's *TODAY'S* tech... imagine what 20 more years will do for it, with everyone using batteries, solar, heatpumps and EVs because everything else has moved that way.

                  Even if it comes to me paying a standing charge only for "grid backup" electricity, using my car only for smaller journeys and "topping up" at the station of my choice, or even using my employer or public chargers, and using only what I need to use... that's more than a viable future.

                  And if I can do it in a tiny bungalow, I assure you that most households could do it. Hell, the council properties either side of me both have heatpumps because that's what they fit nowadays. It won't be long before councils start installing solar on all their properties as part of the "insulation" / "heating replacement" / etc. schemes they apply to those on benefits and living in council houses.

                  Welcome to the present... not even the future. Drop me £20k today (and maybe a £20k EV car) and I'd be energy independent by tomorrow afternoon, for the vast majority, and that's just with today's tech. (P.S. I don't actually rely on tech increasing - even things like CPU speed plateau... but my system is far from the most efficient or best money can reasonably buy).

                  1. andy 103

                    And if I can do it in a tiny bungalow, I assure you that most households could do it.

                    I'm guessing you live on your own.

                    Maybe see how your sums - and more importantly the practicalities - work for a family of 4 (or more), bigger properties, with kids, etc.

                    I go back to the previous point. If it was that simple then everyone would have done it. You mention at the end somebody hypothetically giving you £40k and then everything would work out. There's a huge number of people in the UK to whom that kind of money is pocket change and the vast majority haven't done it, for very obvious reasons.

                  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                    While I applaud decision and investments to live as off-the-grid as possible, the air of self-righteousness is more than a little annoying and you're off on quite a few facts.

                    Power companies are, indeed, guilty of profiteering though not to the degree you imagine. The problem for any grid is that it has to be built for the maximum possible demand and, with the increase of EVs and heatpumps, this is only goind to increase to cope with demand on cold, dark days in winter. Additional generation and storage capacity is required and this will require significant capital expenditure.

                    Battery technology will continue to improve but there are also hard chemical/physical limits inherent to the reversible processes used. Lead acid batteries were never great but they're cheap to make and easy to maintain. I'm not sure that's the case for many of the newer solutions.

                    I'm a huge fan of renewable power and decentralised generation but the fact is that, in our latitudes and with our population densities, there are a lot of problems for which we do not yet have all the answers.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Ok... Can you set up granny's house too?

              4. Roland6 Silver badge

                Hope you included such mundane things as wheel chair access and possible future installation of a stair lift (advice straight staircase is a lot less hassle but still needs a power socket at one end). Not saying these are essential or will get used, but life can sometimes throw a curved ball.

                As for eliminating water requirements, don’t forget waste water is probably a bigger problem than rainwater collection and filtration for non-garden usage. However, if your house is a recent build, I would not be surprised the cold taps are all at mains pressure (mine are ho hum…), rather than gravity from the attic tank; which means in the event of a water supply failure you only get to flush the toilet once before you have to start using a bucket with water sourced from elsewhere.

                My (other) bitch is that there is a large area under my house, which due to the concrete floor is inaccessible to me - a “cellar” is a great place for a lot of “utility” stuff and that water tank…

                1. Lee D Silver badge

                  It's a bungalow - no problems with access.

                  I have my eye on a grey-water pump / filter / header tank to reduce usage - pumps from any outside water butt, underground storage tank, etc. to the header, tops up that header from mains water if it needs to, but then uses separate plumbing to grey-water setup (e.g. toilet, garden hose, etc).

                  From there, yes, there's a further set of stages necessary to make it potable but they make those setups as well so it can be done in two stages depending on the amount of usage.

                  Already have a header tank for feeding the hot water tank but cold is at mains pressure - and with a large greywater tank outside, at ground level, you have as much toilet-flushing as you like. Hot water is an immersion heater at the moment, easy to convert to a dual-element using any spare solar to heat or go direct heating or possibly heat battery (but very expensive).

                  Waste water is charged along with used mains water - so the above would mean I'd be paying next to nothing for it anyway and would likely retain it.

                  However, I have seriously looked into incinerator toilets. Basically a large automated kiln. Moves all the waste behind the toilet in a sanitary manner, burns it using only electricity for hours, only by-product is vented steam (non-nasty) and sterile ash you can use on the garden. They have them on boats and Arctic stations, etc. And you can keep using them and it just adjusts the burn-time, so it's not like you have to wait for the cycle to finish because you can go again. I was looking into it because at one point I was considered a mobile life and a vehicle with a chemical toilet isn't my idea of fun, but an incinerator toilet... that could work without the "ick" factor (and without many consumables).

                  As I say, I have seriously considered most things. Where I'll actually draw the line? I'm not sure yet. Depends on the behaviour of the utilities, future prices, life events (e.g. wheelchair as you point out), and so on.

              5. Roopee Silver badge

                Aren't you the lucky one!

                Most people in this country (UK) don't have the means to go off-grid to that extent, even if they wanted to (which I suspect most don't, though personally I would).

                Also the population density here means it simply wouldn't be possible for everyone here to live in properties that could support it, even if the government divided-up all the empty spaces into plots of land and built everyone a new house and got rid of all the tower blocks and terraced houses...

              6. Evil Scot Bronze badge

                If I might add some data here.

                Selling to the grid earns (16p/kW) half the purchase cost of daytime electricity (32+p/kW)

                Vehicle charging tariffs are half that (8p/kW) for those tariffs that do not connect to the data services of your charger or car.

                You can see where this is going.

                Many early uptake users of Solar/Battery systems approach close to breakeven annually.

            2. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Most people cannot afford one of those.

              And the majority of people live in terraced homes or flats, with no possibility of off-street parking for that kind of thing.

              Not to mention that the local electricity infrastructure definitely isn't capable of handling an EV in every driveway, and certainly won't be by the end of next year.

              Maybe in 15-20 years, but right now?

            3. Spazturtle Silver badge

              Most people own a generator on wheels that gets serviced at least once a year and regularly tested, with a cheap inverter it can be used to provide emergency power for a long time. And it can be driven down to the petrol station to get more fuel.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I agree that by tech costs a 100Wh battery based power supply is not expensive (~£80.00) but for the rural poor (and there are a lot more of them than urban dwellers would imagine) £80.00 is a significant outlay.

          3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            It's interesting that practically nobody makes 12V UPS systems. The only one I could find when I was looking had an unregulated "12V" output which started high and fell as the battery discharged. So I built my own, using a door-entry system UPS (2 x 12V 7Ah gel cells) and a bank of buck converters to supply all the things I want supplied

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Most 12V stuff runs on a lower voltage internally (LED aside), and is designed for a pretty wide range of "12V" supply.

              The buck converter is inside the kit.

      4. csimon

        "You want to not be cut off at home? Buy a mobile phone. Or a UPS. Problem solved."

        No mobile reception here.

        UPS's don't last very long, and if a power cut happens overnight then it would run out before you've noticed. Even if they last 2 hours, if you have an emergency after that time, you're stuiffed.

        Problem not solved. But you're all right Jack.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Total draw of fibre termination box + router + VOIP box here is under 1A, all at 12V-ish. Lasting 2 hours requires a 24Wh UPS. That's ... not very much.

      5. csimon

        I've had 11 power cuts so far this year, the longest were 6.2 hours, 2.5 hours and 5.5 hours, in some cases they were only fixed quickly becuase I was able to phone and report them as soon as they happened. If ovenight, you wouldn't necessarily notice. No mobile reception here. UPS ran out before power restored. Good job I didn't need police, ambulance, fire service or even need to contact family or friends, in that time.

        I'm not a "vulnerable" person, but that doesn't make me less likely to need emergency services in a power cut. And what happens if a vulnerable person needs emergency access after that "reasonable" 1 hour UPS time, or missed the window of opportunity overnight to report the fault?

        Can't believe that we're going backwards. And that there are some people still trying to justify it.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Buy a mobile phone"

        I own one. No coverage on any of the primary networks indoors. No space for a UPS where the router is, either. Problem obviously NOT solved.

        FWIW, we had a 5 hour power cut earlier this year.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          I live rurally, on the cusp of an AONB in a village whose entire parish has about 100 people in it total (and that includes all the farmers in remote fields that just happen to come under its catchment).

          Mobile reception is quite poor in the entire street (my car tracker cannot report when within 500 yards of my house, I get 1-bar on the other two major networks).

          Power cuts are regular and especially in inclement weather, and also are often caused by falling trees.

          I don't have - nor need - a landline.

          I have a cheap UPS which would run a phone for over a day. You're talking 10W at most. That UPS in fact runs my routers, several RPis, switches, PoE cameras, alarms, the rest of the cabinet and lots of peripherals for 2 hours, no problem whatsoever. And when it runs out, I bought the cheapest of cheap solar panels (shoved on top of a shed) which charge a battery that can *LITERALLY* run the whole setup for over 24 hours (2.4KWh, 100W total draw) without issue. And that's with all the losses as the solar charges the batteries which power the inverter which run the UPS which powers the cabinet and all the things inside it.

          I didn't even bother buying a phone for this house. Mobile works well enough, and Internet stays up on the UPS alone for 2 hours.

          Not being funny - but what kind of emergency are you envisaging which wouldn't be similarly affected if, say, a rural tree fell on a rural telephone line somewhere else in a rural village? Which is a far more likely scenario.

          And if you struggle, do you really think BT are going to go out of their way to help you? In this day and age? Their USO soon won't include voice lines, you have to accept that.

          Or you could get yourself a 4G antenna, a UPS or a cheap solar panel if it's so critical to you. Because the cabinet batteries are going to disappear, and I don't think you're going to stop that. So either you make provision for this thing you have which most people nationwide DON'T require, or you expect BT to special-case you because you insist that a landline is your only viable contact point (but yet you're not important enough to have Redcare or similar).

          Hell, a damn Starlink (*spit* Musk *spit*) would do a better job.

          I also lived 5 years with only 4G (and that wasn't a great connection, so I bought an antenna to help stabilise it), and was seriously considering 4G and/or Starlink where I am because mobile phone connectivity isn't guaranteed here at all. Or anywhere in fact.

          He says, sitting inside a multi-million pound workplace situated dead-centre in a town with house prices that I couldn't hope to ever afford in 5 lifetimes, where I can't get anything past GSM and nor can anyone else who ever works/visits there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Granny is still waiting...

          2. JimboSmith Silver badge

            My folks live out in a rural location where the power does go out more than a few times a year and have recently had (non BT/Openreach) fibre put in. BT initially said not a problem to have FTTP, they checked again and said er yeah FTTC ‘should’ be possible. Then the copper line from the cabinet didn’t seem to be suitable so would need replacing for the higher speeds etc. So in the end they went with the mob who dug up the verge and connected the rest of the village.

            They had it put into without any input from myself and as a result it’s not in a great place in the house. It’s at one end of the house, in an addition to the original house. Now this house has very thick stone walls throughout and that kills the signal from the router where the fibre comes in to almost anywhere else. Therefore to have wifi signal around the house requires quite a few mesh repeters. When the power goes out (which happens more often than is helpful) they have no internet and just rely on the phone line supplied by BT to communicate.

            That comes into the other end of the house from the fibre and There isn’t a mobile signal inside the house really except in certain locations upstairs and that’s 3G only. To complicate things further they have a burglar alarm and panic alarm connected to the police that uses the phone line. DECT phones don’t work because of the walls and therefore certain rooms are connected by phone cable to wired phones. I dread to think how they’re going to get digital voice and have the alarm work without paying BT for a separate UPS’ddigital system.

    5. amajadedcynicaloldfart

      @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

      The first line tells me it's a skank and not from any council. Soz mate, you have been trolled....

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Maybe you don't live in a small village? It reads pretty much like something our parish council would send. Village parish councils are unpaid local volunteers, and never have enough budget to do anything, but often do their best to highlight the village issues to district councils who do have staff and money.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          A parish council generally has about £20-50k a year to spend maintaining stuff owned by the parish - usually a village hall and play area.

          In many places, the "community space" is actually owned by a housing developer, and the parish council have to rent it.

          They have no other powers at all, only a statutory duty to be "consulted".

          1. Caver_Dave Silver badge

            Ex-Parish Council Chairman

            Our precept ran to £15,000 for two villages of about 160 houses in all.

            Most of the money went on two things: street lighting and grass cutting. Next came the wages for the 20 hours a month Clerk, and affiliations/memberships of bodies that are not really optional (including someone to be our Data Processor for GDPR).

            In most places the Village Hall/Pavilion and Play Area are owned by a charity and in most cases the PC is only a reversionary trustee, as we were.

            After that comes Clock and bench maintenance, and occasionally there is a request for a grant for a new cooker from the Village Hall Cmt or a new piece of play equipment from the Playing Field Cmt, or the replacement of a tree.

            That's where all the money goes for our Parish.

            Even your quote about the statutory duty to be 'consulted' is not actually correct in practice - we had a big problem with out Unitary not telling us of a huge change to their Planning Consent rules, where our 'expert witness' and the weight of the village were behind an objection to a building in a green field, but it didn't even go to the Planning Cmt for us to have our say, and was just passed on a nod from an Officer on the back of a report from a consultant who on page 1 of his report said that he had not actually been to the site! Our only recourse could have been Judicial Review starting at £90K cost (6 times our annual precept) and now the precedent is set.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: Ex-Parish Council Chairman


              "Consulted", but usually ignored.

              And the worst penalty for the statutory authority not consulting is generally to be asked very nicely if they'd deign to email over the documents next time.

      2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        The first line tells me it's a skank and not from any council. Soz mate, you have been trolled....

        No, it's a genuine communication. The council member who sent it (an independent) is a big believer in supporting the local community in his ward. He did tons to help out during the days (in come cases weeks) long power outages after Arwen, Desmon, Malic, et al, while the local MP vanished off the face of the earth.

    6. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      I shifted over to FTTP and VOIP five years ago. My fibre box, router, VOIP box (and home server) all run from a home made 12V UPS which will run them for four hours if the power goes, twice as long if I turn the server off and a few days if I connect a car battery up as well.

      OK, this is a bit handcrafted, but battery backup really isn't complicated for these things.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It does seem to be quite a poorly thought-out policy.

    I can't get a reliable mobile phone signal from *any* of the primary network providers within my home, and it seems some of the major broadband providers are not offering digital voice as an option at all.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      There does seem to be a dearth of digital voice providers in the (uk) consumer space. And BT clearly only want voice customers who are also fixed line broadband customers.

      I wonder whether many ISPs simply assume people will use mobile phones and that the mobile operators will support WiFi Calling, hence potential market is small and margins too thin to make a return on.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        BT (the only one I have direct experience of) will supply a "voice over IP" box for voice only customers (which looks suspiciously similar to a standard broadband router with the analogue phone connection) on the back so voice is available.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Virgin provide a dongle that allows the existing phone to be plugged into the Smarthub, and a date on which they will switch the line/service over. Obviously, it’s up to the customer to attach a USP to their Smarthub…

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            It's also up to Virgin to ensure a UPS powering their end of the line. Or do they rely on OpenReach to do that?

          2. 0laf Silver badge

            Zen are the same. When we went FTTP the land line went (wasn't used anyway but we did keep a 'batphone' in the cupboard). VOIP was offered as an option as the router was capable of supporting this.

            But the loss of the copper + a voip replacement wasn't a zero sum. You pay more for FTTP without a landline then pay more again to get it back.

            OK it's faster but I like to complain.

        2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          That;s what my internet-free aunt in German has had for many years. When Deutsche Telekom went digital they gave her a broadband router with a TAE socket and everything went on seamlessly as before. It all works very well.

      2. xyz Silver badge

        Exactly.... Wifi calling is the saviour of mobile phone companies. All the coin and none of that infrastructure nonsense. Milking-As-A-Service.

        As for BT wanting to cut the POTS cord asap, I'm pretty sure there will be a lot of users out there who wont have been thought about until everything goes quiet.

      3. Ferry Michael

        I was on John Lewis, run by Plusnet, part of BT. I asked to keep my landline number. They did not know how to do it as I don't think any other customers had asked for it.

        Switching my landline to a VoIP provider was tricky as it had to be done at the same time as the switch to fibre but organsised separately. You cannot move the number while the copper landline is active. Once the the copper has been deactivated the number cannot be reinstated.

        The fibre install failed due to a problem with the duct. The telephone number transferred as scheduled and the copper landline could not be reactivated leaving me without broadband or landline phone for w a week. Fibre install completed a week later after I did ny own rodding to find the blockage.

        Keeping a landline number is hard even when you think you know what are you doing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pre-installation survey.

      I am a customer of one of the providers who currently provide broadband and phone services. They do not have a FTTP plus VoIP offering.

      Currently, my copper phone line is run overhead to the back wall of the house, then takes a very tortuous route with around 6 90o corners around to the side of the house, where it enters through a window frame close to the middle of the house, where there are suitable power sockets.

      Having looked at what is needed, and talked to some of my neighbours who already have FTTP, Openreach will probably want to run the fibre through the wall close to where it meets the property. They will almost certainly not be prepared to follow the path of the existing copper cable. The only problem there is that the wall where the current copper cable meets the house has no power sockets anywhere (it's an older house that had power cables run up the centre of the house when it was last re-wired, and did not extend the ring main to the back wall as much of the wall is the bathroom and toilet on the first floor, and there is also a ground floor extension), so cannot have the two sockets apparently required to power the ONT and the hub in close proximity to where the cable comes into the house.

      I want to get some advice about a possible FTTP installation, but as I also want VoIP, I cannot approach my current provider. I would like to have an installation survey before signing up to any service, but I cannot see any way of booking one of those (even if I offered to pay!)

      This is complicated by the fact that I am a vulnerable person, and I have to restrict visitors into the house to a real minimum.

      I always said that I would be an early FTTP adopter, but these problems have made me hold off installation until I know what it entails.

      1. tfewster

        Re: Pre-installation survey.

        In my experience, installation as I wanted it wasn't a problem:

        - Cable from the telegraph pole to the nearest point (front of the house) where the engineer installed a splice box

        - Cable from the ONT inside my home-office at the back of the house, clipped round the outside of the house to the splice box. The biggest problem there was that the engineer was trained to use ladders but not certified to go on a flat roof, so I routed/secured that cable over the garage section for him.

        So they're prepared to be adaptable on the day. Worst case, I imagine they would have to get a colleague to help complete the job..

        I'd go ahead and book the installation, but add a note if you can to say where you want the ONT placed. At least you're giving them some warning ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pre-installation survey.

        When I first got sky, it didh't come with the dish because the "free install" man would bring it. However, I was told that they would want to sling the dish in the easiest place. As I *had* been given the mount, I put the mount where *I* wanted it, and cabled it up, and provided a long ladder so he could reach it.

        He was fine doing that, but said he wouldn't have been allowed to place it that way himself.

        You may have to think about doing a similar thing with your requirement.. Especially if you don't want boots around the house.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pre-installation survey.

        "I am a customer of one of the providers who currently provide broadband and phone services. They do not have a FTTP plus VoIP offering."

        Why not setup a freestanding VOIP contract (Andrews & Arnold have some good value options, but there's a range of other providers, Vonage etc), get that configured now without stopping either the landline or existing FTTC contract. A consumer focused VOIP offer should be plug and play from your router, so no visits should be needed. When that's working then port your landline number to the VOIP contract. At this point you've got your landline number attached to your VOIP line, but connected via your current broadband. Then have a new broadband FTTP line installed with the provider of your choice, when that's configured plug your VOIP phone or adaptor into the router, and all should work - and when you're sure it all works you cancel the existing FTTC contract.

        There's a few finnickky things might arise, but doing it this way, you have your existing landline until you're confident the VOIP line works, you've got your FTTC broadband until the FTTP is in and working, and at the end of it all you've split the landline from the physical broadband contract, which can make future broadband changes easier.

        That's how I did it when escaping the clutches of Virgin Media, now got Aquiss FTTP broadband, and AAISP VOIP landline.

  4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Somewhat bending the truth I feel

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

    1) BT want to get away from expensive and stealable copper

    2) BT want to increase bandwidth to enable the government's aim to remove the current RF broadcast tv network

    3) BT want to be able to profit from the current funding for Crown Castle when it is transferred to the "broadband" network as a carrier, the user effectively paying for bandwidth usage which they (BT) can then charge for either directly or resell to service providers

    4) The government want to allow the mobile operators access to the TV RF bandwidth through another money making licence round

    5) The government and BBC can directly control access to tv broadcasting. Currently they pay a fortune trying to licence an easily receivable broadcast system, once it's on fibre and restrictively distributed direct to the premises it can be both directly "licenced", charged at little cost and subject to "targeted ads" (for instance) which a public broadcast system does not allow.

    This upgrade is not for the consumer, it's to allow BT, the BBC and government to make money from the tax payer.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Somewhat bending the truth I feel

      I thing you are confusing the reason for the upgrade, namely “ 1) BT want to get away from expensive and stealable copper” etc.

      and the opportunists who can see benefits (to them) arising from BT’s action…

    2. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: Somewhat bending the truth I feel

      Your local scrote isn't up to speed on copper Vs fiber yet. They are still quite happy to nick fibre since cable is cable innit?

      We had the pipes nicked from a server room AC unit which was located outside. The pipes were plastic but they nicked them anyway. Caught them (or others) on camera a few weeks later having another go at the replacements. We had to put in cages to stop the idiots from nicking the plastic pipes again.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reality bites

    Just checked OpenReach's plans for full fibre rollout to me - London, well within the North Circular, but a bit outside the Congestion Charging zone - "We don't have any major plans to build in this area".

    Will 42 months instead of 18 be enough for OpenReach to provide me full fibre?

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Reality bites

      You don't need full fibre to digitise your voice line.

      They will continue to provide landlines, but they will be ADSL/VDSL only. The voice part will be dead.

      Digital Voice is just a SIP trunk running over that DSL connection.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Reality bites

        > but they will be ADSL/VDSL only.

        Over FTTC.

        Basically, we can expect the POTS cabinet to be switched off etc. leaving just the FTTC/FTTP cabinet(s).

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Reality bites

        I'm writing this via a data-only FTTC line in Edinburgh. It works fine.

        1. agurney

          Re: Reality bites

          I'm writing this via a data-only FTTC line in Edinburgh. It works fine.

          .. I'm using FTTP just along the road from you, however I also have a "careline" system that requires POTS; if there's a power cut the copper phone line still works and the panic button will still call for help.

          Going fully telephony over FTTP I could probably run my UPS to the ONT and phone to ensure that I have a connection, but there's no suggestion BT will provide a UPS to every premises to keep the system working the way it's done for decades with the power provided by the cabinet/exchange.

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: Reality bites

            The larger size of ONT contained a backup battery (2 hours?) but I think they've stopped installing them. Supplying UPS's would seem like a simpler solution for those who really must have a connection than maintaining an entire additional infrastructure for, what, 1% of users?

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Reality bites

      The OpenReach website said the same for my village.

      It still said there were "no plans" while the BT-branded Openreach vans were actively pulling the fibre through the ducts and up the poles.

      It still said that for about four months after I'd had it installed, up and running, then suddenly switched to saying FTTP is "available now" - and I got a pile of TalkTalk flyers through the door.

      It's pretty clear that Openretch management has absolutely no idea what they're doing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reality bites

        "I got a pile of TalkTalk flyers through the door."

        Won't be much use when TalkTalk go bust:

        BT vs the rest. It's sick-making.

  6. Lee D Silver badge

    Gosh, absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they just AREN'T DOING IT.

    I had BT reps in my office the other day - they weren't bothered at all about analogue lines and migrating. I've had a dozen calls about it this year, and some specifically to "upgrade" and when I tell them that would likely mean culling half the analogue lines because we basically don't use them, they never get back to me. (All the important stuff like emergency lines are already GSM etc. in preparation).

    I had Vodafone send me through stuff about my home line being obsolete EIGHTEEN MONTHS ago and that I had to move to "Digital Voice" (a SIP trunk with my home phone number attached to it). Still nothing. And that's literally just sending me an adaptor box to go on their router, and then turning off the analogue voice portion of the line. Nothing!

    I wouldn't mind but a) I never use my landline for voice and don't even have a phone connected to it, b) I already have a SIP setup and would just ask for the details and plug them into my existing voice-capable router (you can do this, it's just a SIP account) and c) I don't need or use any adaptor and threw their router away because it was naff compared to mine.

    It's like the smart meter rollout - every time I log onto the website to check my electricity account, I'm blasted with ads to upgrade to smart meters. I would literally do it here, now, today. But I'm on a radio teleswitch meter (which is controlled by a radio signal from a VALVE-based radio station in Droitwich which the BBC own the entire world stock of those valves and have said when they run out, they will shut the whole site - including teleswitch - down with it). Every time I ask, they tell me "not yet".

    Strangely every year they push back the deadline on that radio station too, presumably they still have a valve left and think they can just keep bumping it forward.

    When the inevitable happens, and they try to demand access to my property to change my meter in a massive rush because they couldn't be bothered to do it up untilnow, they can go stuff themselves. They've had 18 months to sort it out just for me and can't be bothered, and that situation has been ongoing for... what... 10 years?

    For the telephones? I'll switch the second you press the button, and you can press the button now. Hell, I wouldn't even have noticed if you'd already done that (but they haven't). But the fact of the matter is that there's no profit in it for you, corporations will likely review everything at that point and realise that if everything's just a SIP line they could move or get it cheaper elsewhere, and that means the companies have NO INTEREST in switching you over whatsoever.

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      which is controlled by a radio signal from a VALVE-based radio station in Droitwich which the BBC own the entire world stock of those valves and have said when they run out, they will shut the whole site - including teleswitch - down with it

      The National Grid owns that transmitter - and, I presume, the BBC's world supply of valves.It's due to be switched off at the end of June next year.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        It has been "due to be switched off" in June, etc. of every one of the last 8 years, to my knowledge.

        They just keep bumping it forward.

        And the BBC own/run the transmitter,I believe, it's their transmitter for long-wave stations, the National Grid just use it for sending teleswitch data. They've said when it dies, the long-wave will be switched off.

  7. andy 103

    Laughing stock

    We really are a laughing stock.

    These 2 points alone

    ...the 40-year-old analogue landline technology is increasingly fragile.

    This is a complex UK-wide engineering project with technical challenges to overcome

    Presumably over the last 40 years this was a known problem and people had the foresight to plan for it well in advance?

    We can't even upgrade a phone network and wonder why people take the piss out of the UK's notion that we are somehow a world leader in anything except fucking things up.

    Name a single UK-wide project (engineering or otherwise) that's gone well over that period of time.

    1. f4ff5e1881

      Re: Laughing stock

      Well, we did come second in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2022 with "Space Man"...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Laughing stock

      "Name a single UK-wide project (engineering or otherwise) that's gone well over that period of time."

      Brexit. Says me channelling codejunky.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Laughing stock

      Channel tunnel (excluding HS1) - but then the French were involved, so national pride was at stake…

      However, given the traffic volume growth projections, we are behind on starting the planning process for a second tunnel…

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Laughing stock

        Been pitched since 1802, mostly by the French!, most early attempts - back to 1881 - were abandoned, was politically supported by Churchill during his time, cancelled by the Labour party in the 70's, etc.

        Eventually started as a privately-funded project under Thatcher (1979), for £2.6bn wasn't completed until 1994, some 80% overbudget with eventual finance costs 140% higher than expected. It took until 1999 for Eurostar to make its first profit, in 2005 they were nearly bankrupt, and they're still struggling (and traffic not back to even 2008 levels since COVID / Brexit).

        Killed 10 workers building it.

        Sounds like a British project to me.

  8. DaleWV

    We live in a rural area badly hit by Storm Arwen a few years ago. Many people were without power and for days. The area is still poorly covered by mobile phone signal and, anyway, masts went down as their UPS systems ran out. The only thing working was their analogue copper wire phones that enabled them to call for help,

    Even today we have people living less than a mile from who cannot get any cell phone signal even outside. The only means of communication for them is good old copper, which enabled them to to report their very localised power outage. Even here, just 100 meters from a cabinet we would be unable to call the emergency services should power fail beyond the battery lifetime as no mobile phone provider can give us a reliable service, especially now 3G appears to have been turned off on our nearest mast!

    I firmly believe that the challenges to turning off copper, particularly in respect of the rural population in general (not just the vulnerable) not being able to contact the emergency services, has been seriously down played and under reported.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Agreed. But try to convince the "I only use mobile anyway and it works for me" crowd about that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Market farces => predictable effects

      "I firmly believe that the challenges to turning off copper, particularly in respect of the rural population in general (not just the vulnerable) not being able to contact the emergency services, has been seriously down played and under reported."

      Some people understand. But it's actually broader even than that.

      "BT 21CN voice" mean anything? Probably not. Most folks wouldn't have heard about it, perhaps because it was a farce. (and elsewhere)

      More recently, the broader implications of losing mains power, even in a relatively small area, have started to be documented, see e.g Storm Desmond in 2015 knocked out a major substation in Lancaster resulting in multi-hour power outages. The effects were suficiently widespread that they were subsequently analysed in a report from the Royal Academy of Engineers and others. Lessons were identified and some may even have been learned, but clearly not yet meaningfully acted upon.

      In 2015, 55,000 people were left without power after defences on the River Lune that had been designed to withstand a one-in-100 years flood were breached, overwhelming the city's main substation.

      "In December 2015, life for more than 100,000 people in Lancaster reverted to a pre-electronics era"

      This lack of robustness against entirely inevitable failures is because robustness (resilience?) is too often seen seen as an un-necessary cost not as an essential investment, not just in the telco sector either (jook at Boeing, or even any UK privatised utility, or even Post Office Counters Ltd and their (pioneeringly privatised long ago) Horizon project. Scum, the lot of them).

      Incidentally has anyone noticed reports in the last few days that (privatised) United Utilities pumped millions of litres of raw sewage into Lake Windermere? This in itself is nothing sepcial, but United Utilities are blaming it on a telecom fault (privatised?) outside their control. FFS. Who or what is in control these days?

      What kind of system architecture, what kind of design review, what kind of total idiocy, allowed this? (published 15 May 2024)

      Millions of litres of raw sewage were illegally pumped into one of England's most famous lakes after a fault, the BBC can reveal.

      United Utilities failed to stop the illegal pollution of Windermere, in the Lake District, for 10 hours in February and did not report the incident to the Environment Agency until 13 hours after it started.

      An almost identical incident occurred at the same location in 2022.

      The firm says it took urgent steps to resolve the incident in February.

      A pumping station in Bowness-on-Windermere, in Cumbria, normally sends sewage to Windermere Wastewater Treatment Works.

      But United Utilities documents, obtained by the BBC, show how a telecoms fault on the night of 28 February caused the main pumps to stop.


      1. Don Bannister

        Re: Market farces => predictable effects

        So glad you mentioned the Lancaster case. I have read it, and it's quite scary how bad things got quite quickly ....

        1. Strangelove

          Re: Market farces => predictable effects

          yes, the report into Lancaster cock-up should be compulsory reading for town planners and enthusiastic technologists generally - the time to recover is far longer then folk like to imagine and the speed that mobile phones died etc was quite impressive.

          Many other places in the UK are really just as brittle, some possibly more so, they just have not had a decent "wake up" event yet.

          In the detail. the problem with the fibre to the house protocol is that it does not have a fallback to a really low power mode - the kind of mode where 2 AA cells keep it going for a week if you make no calls.

          It would be hard to add it now, but it certainly could have had, by sleeping the laser and waking up for a few milliseconds every minute, but that sort of power cut survival thinking was never written in. The problem is not the power to make a 999 call lasting half a minute, the problem is staying keeping listening at full bandwidth just in case a packet comes in for you that needs processing.

          But it does not matter, the fibre to most homes is not a guaranteed service, so there is no need to pay compensation when it stops, as the lack of power to the user kit has cunningly been made the user's problem.


    3. Hairy Scary

      Had that problem here too, I live in the country, storm Arwen came, the power went and so did the mobile broadband and mobile phone signals. I have backup power so everything at home kept working.The mobile broadband and mobile phone signals come from different providers and different masts but both went down as soon as the power went off.

      Our power was off for nearly a fortnight although the mobile signals returned after a few days as power was restored to the masts (phone first and a few days later, the mobile broadband). Looks like there's no UPS supplies installed at the masts at all.

      The thing that surprised me was the landline phones went off when the power failed too despite still using POTS, however, the exchange now has fibre to the rest of the system so I suspect the POTS (analogue) part in the exchange was still up but no digital backhaul because the fibre to the exchange was down but that's only a guess. It did come back after a few days although it was nearly a fortnight before power was restored to the houses here due to the extent of the damage caused by Arwin.

      There was a bit of an emergency involving an elderly resident, his alarm didn't work because his landline was down, one of the neighbours drove to get help -- in the old days the landlines stayed up during power cuts, now it seems nothing does.

      The mobile systems work well as long as there's no power cuts but out here in the sticks power cuts are quite common in stormy weather.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I suspect the POTS (analogue) part in the exchange was still up

        What POTS part? POTS at the exchange died when the Strowger switchgear was turned off.

  9. csimon

    Access to emergency services from the home should be available 24/7.

    Electricity companies: Not our problem if there's no mobile service in your area or PSTN providers have decided to switch off your service. Power cuts happen.

    Mobile companies: Not our problem if there's a power cut or PSTN providers have decided to switch off your service. It's not profitable to erect a mast in your area.

    Phone providers: Not our problem if there is no mobile reception in your area or there is a power cut. We need to make more money from old copper.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      It is.

      But not for free.

      Try not paying your landline phone bill and then see how many emergency calls you can make.

      At least on mobile it would TRY to put that call through for you (and even ramps up the transmit power / priority to prioritise you above everyone else) even if you had no contract or SIM whatsoever.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I told BT I didn’t want their phone line anymore at my previous flat. After a mild disagreement over the length of the notice period i ceased paying for the line at the end of the revised notice period. My line was still active and there was a dial tone and I could call 999 on it. That was the only thing I could call on it mind you.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          I moved into a flat, refused to activate the landline or broadband (3Mbps down, 1Mbps up? Get outta here. And they wanted £160 + VAT to reactive the landline which at that point was still giving me a dialtone).

          After 6 months, the line was dead... as in totally dead, dead-dead, nothing there dead. Not a neighbourhood problem (everyone else had working phones, obviously).

          Stayed like that for 5 years while I lived there.

  10. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    When the power is out for a day we are screwed

    With the way the grid is going now, or if you have a bad storm, we are going to see >8 hour outages. I seem to remember that some people have been without power for days when lines come down.

    So, batteries in base stations are flat.

    Your puny 1 hour battery in your phone adaptor is flat.

    At some point, the crims are going to realise that if you leave it long enough, people are basically defenceless, and will just break into your home, wave a weapon, and take your stuff.

    If You Are Lucky. They may consider that eyewitnesses are a danger.

    No Police, no Ambulance. And no evidence of the perpetrators.

    Given enough days, and it could get seriously Mad Max.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes I think all the intelligent humans are dead

    If you are that worried about need to call an ambulance in the middle of a multi day power outage, buy the smallest cheapest SLA battery charger and a 12V 1.2AH battery leave it trickle charging. If you actually need to make a call connect it to you voip router and do so. You will be able to make the call even if the outage lasts 12 months as the battery will hold a charge for around a year. Check your router voltage first, a 6V motorcycle battery might be more appropriate. Of course you could always ask another person, like a neighbour, or a man out walking his dog for help too.

    1. Nifty

      Re: Sometimes I think all the intelligent humans are dead

      "buy the smallest cheapest SLA battery charger and a 12V 1.2AH battery leave it trickle charging. If you actually need to make a call connect it to you voip router"

      Which makes me wonder why a standalone device that's got a permanently charged battery, and which can emulate a fixed landline connection if needed, hasn't been invented to solve the abolished copper problem at a stroke. Not enough profit in it?

  12. Mike007 Bronze badge

    The main thing they are repeatedly bringing up is people who have alarms and such that require an analogue line.

    Do any of the rules that obligate BT to spend huge amounts of money maintaining infrastructure contain any provisions about recouping the cost from the people selling these "essential services"?

    I think the companies selling these sorts of services will find that sticking an antenna on the outside of the customers house is a lot cheaper than a landline if they were required to cover the actual cost of providing the service they are selling..

    And before someone says they don't get a mobile phone signal using the PCB trace pretending to be an antenna in their mobile phone in some locations... So? there are multiple radio networks deployed in the UK that have complete coverage of every single property in the country from a handful of base stations. You don't need a lot of bandwidth for "Customer 1234567 pressed their alarm".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What page are we on now?

      "there are multiple radio networks deployed in the UK that have complete coverage of every single property in the country from a handful of base stations. You don't need a lot of bandwidth for "Customer 1234567 pressed their alarm".

      Citation very welcome. I remember pagers too, even bidirectional ones. But I'm a dinosaur. Are Critico dinosaurs?

      1. Mike007 Bronze badge

        Re: What page are we on now?

        Wish I could give you a decent citation, but I honestly have no idea where you would look up a list of such things... Ofcom don't seem to have a category of standard license with a list of who they have been issued to. However as you mention there used to be many uses of radio beyond the handful of services people today are familiar with.

        I tried looking up 2 commercial networks I have personal knowledge of. One I can't find any public reference to because as far as I know the network was limited to a very specific use case. The other it seems was shut down shortly after I was last involved with it, at least according to the Wikipedia article. (And technically they did have some areas in the Irish mountains where we would lose signal for 5-10 minutes at a time - If the network is now decommissioned then I no longer have to keep that gaping hole in a popular cash van tracking system confidential..)

        These days companies tend to just go for a GSM modem and pay a monthly fee per device for easy no-investment "mostly works" coverage rather than trying to hire people competent in both the technical and bureaucratic sides of getting your own network on your own frequency!

        I am sure I could set up a UHF transceiver and build a small "text messaging" device that can be mass produced for a token per-unit cost. The problem is that the people making the decisions for companies who might find such a network useful are non-technical people who are familiar with mobile phones and think "just use that!". Hell, even the emergency services are struggling to find someone who will provide them with a private radio network that isn't a rebadged mobile phone!

  13. DS999 Silver badge

    It is funny how tech progresses differently in different countries

    In the US, 2G/3G cellular networks are gone, and even LTE devices that don't support VoLTE are pretty much obsolete. But copper phone lines are still installed and used in tens of millions of houses for landlines or DSL, and there is not even any discussion of phasing them all out. We'll probably still have some 20 years from now. Meanwhile in the UK you're getting rid of your copper, but any mention of sunsetting 2G and 3G by 2030 gets people all riled up about smart meters, burglar alarms and the like!

  14. Don Bannister

    All that old copper

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

    Rather a different view now, contrasting with their earlier wish to "sweat the copper assets" with ADSL, ADSL Max, ADSL 2+, V-Fast, etc.

    If they'd gone for the full fibre earlier, methinks today's urgency wouldn't be quite so bad ....

  15. Vader

    BT need more time I guess as they have a thought through all scenarios. Landline will be full of batteries from UPS's and not everyone has a UPS for the telephone.

    What about lifts and things like that.

  16. greenwood-IT

    When I was with BT and doing VOIP over 20 years ago, this topic came up. The best suggestion was to simply change the BT primary socket faceplate to provide ADSL to the router, and to allow the VoIP from the router to connect back to the new faceplate via an RJ11. This would then have allowed ALL the existing extensions and devices to function as normal. Basically using the router as an ATA and connecting the output to the properties existing cabling. Provision of a small 350VA UPS would also be considered. The suggestions got a "thank you" reply, nothing more

  17. john.w

    Schedule your emergancy

    Those urgent need of medical assistance will need to make sure it happens within one hour of the power cut or are they expected to call for help just in case?

  18. Ferry Michael

    Transition from circuit switched digital landlines

    I don't understand all this talk about switching to digital. All landlines changed to digital (PCM) around 30 years ago.

    I assume the difference between circuit switched and packet switched digital is too hard to explain.

    I wrote software for System X 1986-1988. A delay in the switch off increases the likelihood that my first commercial software will still be running when I retire.

  19. Caver_Dave Silver badge

    Howard Watson, chief security and networks officer at BT, said: "The urgency for switching customers onto digital services grows by the day because the 40-year-old analogue landline technology is increasingly fragile"

    I.e. he is admitting that they have done very little to upgrade the infrastructure in the last 40 years since privatisation, just taken dividends out.

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