Landlines to be switched to the internet
Landline phones have been due to a major upgrade since fibre optic rose to dominance. The technical backbone of the internet will become the new way your landline delivers service. Carriers are promising the change will be smooth, but there are a few bumps that are unavoidable.
How are landlines changing?
Landlines still operate on copper wiring and analogue connections called the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Most people who have landlines get them because of a bundled carrier service. The landline capability comes with the complete package, but more than 25% of customers say they don’t even bother to plug a handset into the line. Most people who do use landlines are 65 years and older. While that’s probably not surprising, what is remarkable is that even this group of customers is using their landlines less and less. This decreased usage, along with changing technology, helped bring about the decision to switch all landlines in the UK to the internet by 2025.
Since mobile phone prices have decreased significantly, the economic rationale for keeping analogue landlines have decreased as well. Most landline calls are the playgrounds of scammers and cold-callers. Unlike the mobile, which in essence is a mini-computer, the landline hasn’t been able to keep up with modern phone usage that assumes you can read a text, see a picture or pay a bill with your device. The mobile even has warnings about those scam calls or ones that seem suspicious. Whether it’s old-style phishing, spamming or robo-calls the landline doesn’t provide enough tools to stop customers from being annoyed or exploited.
What will be different?
After landlines are moved to the internet, the phones will for the most part work the same, since the transition will take place in the background. While there will not be a significant disruption for most people, it is worth taking into consideration the points below:
- The best part about the changeover is certainly the lack of interruption. If you don’t add a new service or change locations, your service won’t be halted and you’ll keep your same number. In most cases, your analogue service can continue until 2025. Once the switch actually happens, you’ll have to plug into broadband for your signal. This will likely include a box or small device provided by your service provider. Unless you change providers, you shouldn’t see any increase in service costs or expenses.
- Gone will be the days when the landline powered the phone by itself. Fibre doesn’t carry the electrical current with it. Consequently, customers will have to rely on batteries or plug the phone into wall sockets. Another real drawback is the complete reliance on the internet. About two per cent of the UK still doesn’t have reliable access to broadband. If you’re in one of those areas, you risk losing your service entirely. Mobile may be an option, but anything requiring broadband access won’t be available.
- Unfortunately, phone landlines aren’t the only services using the PSTN system. Many traffic lights, railway signals, security systems, cash machines, and motorway signs rely on the PSTN power supply to operate. Alternative battery supplies, along with internet signals, are being explored to keep operations going. Most responsible parties say the solutions will be found before the 2025 deadline, though currently no viable replacement plan is in place or being implemented.
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