BT scraps digital landline switch deadline


BT has significantly delayed plans to force customers to switch from physical copper-based landlines to internet-based services following concerns from vulnerable people.

The switch was paused at the end of last year after several incidents where telecare devices stopped working.

Nearly two million people in the UK use personal alarms which rely on landlines.

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

"The delay is for just over a year, which we don’t think is long enough to ensure sufficient safeguards for vulnerable customers," said Silver Voices head Dennis Reed.

“BT and the other telecoms firms haven’t even worked out what a vulnerable customer is, and we are calling for a more defined definition.

“We feel the deadline of January 2027 is very premature."

The move is highly controversial because it will mean an outage, which can be a frequent occurrence in some rural areas, could cause landline phones to no longer work.

It means there is a risk that customers who need personal alarms, which are potentially life-saving, could be left disconnected and without a working device.