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The big switch off is changing your telephone service

The UK's phone network will be completely overhauled by 2025 and the traditional phone line will no longer be available. 

Large numbers of people in the UK still have a landline for calls, but for many years that number has been falling. Most of us now prefer to use our mobiles, and just use a landline for broadband. Openreach, who install and maintain the majority of the lines in the country has been planning major upgrades to the dated telecoms infrastructure for some time.

The Big Switch Off

Openreach will switch off the old analogue network (the PSTN) in 2025, so it will no longer be possible to make and receive calls using your old landline. Communications and internet service providers will need to migrate all their customers to full fibre lines or other new broadband products if fibre isn't yet available.

From 2025 calls will be delivered over the internet using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services rather than old fashioned” dial tone” services that are currently most commonplace.

 

The Big Switch Off timeline

What will be different after the change?

man using his landline phone
If you plan to continue using your "land line" for calls, then you will need to connect your phone to your router or hub - either directly to a spare LAN port on the back or via a device called an ATA (analogue telephone adapter) which converts your phone's analogue signals into digital bits to transmit the call across the internet.

woman using her mobile phone
After the big switch off, any equipment wired to your router that isn’t compatible will no longer work. If you need to make calls in various rooms throughout the house, a VoIP-enabled DECT phone is the best solution.

women holding a coffee and using her mobile phone
Because your phone will plug into a router or a separate IP Converter (called an ATA) that is powered by your home electricity, you won't be able to make or receive calls in the event of a power cut. A mobile phone is your best option for a back-up in these circumstances.

man on the phone whilst making notes

What does this mean for me?

If you want to continue using telephone services after 2025, you MUST have an internet connection that is full fibre or SoGEA and use an internet compatible phone/device. 

By December 2025, all existing phone lines will be switched off. Anyone who has not moved to a broadband service with a VoIP subscription will no longer be able to make calls or use services that rely on an analogue internet connection.

woman on the phone whilst having a drink

What about my telecare equipment?

Finally, some special equipment may not work, although most currently available telecare alarms and pendants, textphones and amplified phones have been tested at Openreach's lab and will be compatible with the new services. If you are concerned about any special, non-phone equipment you have connected to your phone line, you should contact the provider of these devices for advice.
man using his laptop at home

What do I need to do?

Despite the wide-ranging changes that are approaching, there's no need to worry about what this means for you just yet. Carry on using your current services as normal.

All the telephone exchanges in the country have now been placed into a state known as stop-sell. This means they will no longer sell any more “legacy” products such as ADSL Broadband, Superfast FTTC, and new phone lines. Your current equipment will continue to work for at least another year, but you will only be able to buy new products such as Ultrafast/Full Fibre or SoGEA, which is a broadband line that won't support calls without a separate VoIP service. If you want to make phone calls you'll need to buy a VoIP service or use your mobile.


We’re here to keep you informed

This is the biggest and most disruptive change to the telecoms market in a generation and Your Co-op will be here to help guide you through it. If Openreach's vision goes to plan then by December 2025 the UK will have a telecoms infrastructure that is much more energy efficient, scalable and future proof. Whether you're excited by the prospect of Ultrafast internet speeds or just need to keep a basic voice service, we will have something that works for you. 

Your Co-op Broadband offers Ultrafast speeds of up to 900Mbps, Feefo award-winning UK-based customer service and a climate positive difference each month. With our partners Ecologi, we reduce your carbon footprint by 10kg and plant trees throughout your contract to help you fight climate change with ease. 

Use our useful tool to see if you are ready for the Big Switch off?