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  • Writer's pictureAR Smart Systems

PSTN Switchover Delayed

BT’s copper line switch off or ‘forced switchover’ has been delayed until 31st Jan 2027.

It was fairly predictable that this would happen, considering the lack of information or communication with the general public. It’s not like a big digital roll out hasn’t run into problems before!!! ITV Digital anyone?

There is a reason why the digital TV switchover was such a smooth process and a great success. It was a forced switchover, just like the BT switchover but it was meticulously planned, had a big advertising campaign, as well as nation wide training for retailers and installers, workshops, coffee mornings, booklets, leaflets and more.

BT obviously don’t want to use that successful formula, opting of a more ‘just do it approach’.

The reality is that BT as a business, is trying to reduce costs. The old copper infrastructure just isn’t suitable for higher speed internet connections, plus it is degrading and therefore costing a lot of cash to keep operational. The switch off has been delayed until the 31st of Jan 2027 and it may well be delayed again.

Fibre connections are faster and offer greater efficiency and reliability, in comparison to the copper system. So this is a good move for everyone to get faster more reliable internet connections.

Unfortunately, this makes copper (PTSN / ISDN) services redundant, hence the move to Digital Voice and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

The limitation of Digital Voice or VoIP services, is that they rely on the router (hub) for communication over the internet.   

This means that during events such as power cuts or connection drops, home phones using the Digital Voice or VoIP will not work.

Other services that are delivered via the old copper system, will also be affected by the switch. Services such as home panic buttons for the vulnerable and older security alarm monitoring communications will be affected.

It is these issues which prompted a pause of the switchover by all the major communication providers, in December last year.

Moving forward,  we will see more emphasis on addressing the continuity of communications. There is likely to be more focus on delivering back up power suppliers to vulnerable customers. As well as more development around personal panic alarms and security communications.

There are already alternatives for both the personal panic buttons and alarm systems, however, routers are fairly power hungry and currently the back power supplies or UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supplies), which are generally smaller units for residential properties, do not offer power for long periods of time.

Battery and communication technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate, so it is simply a matter of time before a suitable USP for routers is available.

Any communication connection can experience downtime and drop outs, regardless of the type of connection or the provider. This is why BT has been offering customers a secondary back up connection via the EE mobile network. The idea is that if your broadband connection drops the 4G / 5G connection takes over. This is great in theory but not so great if you live is a poor EE signal area. This is the right idea though, and there are alternative 4G/5G back solutions available, as well as alternative internet connections.

The switchover will happen and the copper system will be turned off, but you really don’t need to panic. Millions of homes and businesses have already switched, and as the new connections rollout the technology will improve.

Need more information?

Contact Al at AR Smart Systems 01728 554994

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