BT pauses some switches to Digital Voice for telecare customers

BT have announced that they are temporarily pausing all non-voluntary, managed migrations to a digital landline where there is any risk that the customer’s telecare service will not continue to work.

In a blog on their website BT say:

“Over the past week, we've been informed about incidents involving telecare users from another communications provider who had been switched to a digital landline. In light of this news, the telecoms industry, including BT, has agreed that the right thing to do is to temporarily pause all non-voluntary, managed migrations to a digital landline where there is any risk that a customer's telecare service will not continue to work.

As part of ensuring that the necessary steps are taken to support customers making the switch, we welcome the introduction by Government of an industry charter. We are fully supportive of the formation of this charter and efforts to encourage Local Authorities and telecare providers to work with the industry on information sharing agreements, which will help us to identify telecare users before they switch.

The urgency for switching customers onto newer digital services grows by the day because the resilience of the 40-year old analogue landline technology is increasingly fragile. It’s critically important that we manage customer migrations from old to new as quickly and smoothly as possible, while making the necessary provisions for those customers with additional needs, including telecare. The charter of commitments will help significantly in achieving these objectives.

Collaborating with local authorities and telecare providers

We want to reassure our customers that we will continue to maintain strict policies to protect telecare users and vulnerable customers where we are made aware of their status. For those who use telecare, we will only switch them to Digital Voice where we, the telecare provider or the customer can confirm their service is compatible and functions using a digital landline. We offer these customers free resilience solutions such as battery back-up units and hybrid phones. Customers who are unsure or who have told us that they have a telecare device which isn’t compatible with a digital landline will not be switched until they tell us they’re ready.

We work with some participating local authorities and telecare providers across the country to identify users through information sharing agreements and we regularly ensure our data remains up to date. However, we would urge all local authorities and telecare providers to share their data with us so we can cross-reference this against our own database.

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work with our Digital Voice Advisory Group*, charity partners, housing associations, care homes and key industry groups to shape our approach to supporting vulnerable customers to ensure that our processes are designed to meet their needs. This includes check-in points with customers, via text message and postcards to encourage them to test to ensure their service is working and to make sure they have the right back-up solutions in place.

Supporting our customers

Together with Government, Ofcom, telecoms providers, charity partners and key industry groups, BT is working hard to ensure that everyone knows about the change, how they will be impacted and what they need to do.  Further information about the industry wide change can be found here: UK transition from analogue to digital landlines - GOV.UK (

We’d also encourage any vulnerable customers who have concerns or who haven’t told us about their circumstances to give us a call on 0330 1234 150. To find out more about BT’s new home phone service, Digital Voice, please visit:

Notes to Editors

*Members of the Digital Voice Advisory Group include Age UK, Department of Health and Social Care, Independent Age, Rural Services Network, and Which? amongst others.

The Rural Services Network is a member of the BT Digital Voice Advisory Group and throughout the time of the group, has championed the needs of rural communities, who can experience poor broadband and mobile connectivity and may find the switch to a digital line more challenging.

It is important that rural communities are not left at a disadvantage by the switch, and aren’t unfairly penalised by having to purchase battery backup systems which those in urban areas with good connectivity won’t need to do.

For more information on the Government announcement on the Charter, view this link


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