Digital Switchover

What is the Digital Switchover or ‘landline switch off’?

The UK’s telephone network is changing.
Between now and 2025 most telephone providers will be moving their customers from old analogue landlines over to new upgraded landline services using digital technology.

In the UK, the analogue telephone system that we have used for many years is gradually being replaced with a modern digital system, which is called a digital upgrade. This digital upgrade is taking place because the UK needs a modern telephone system which can handle how people want to communicate by using their mobile phones, laptops, tablets or other electronic devices.

Your telecommunications provider (these could be Virgin Media O2 or BT) should contact you before the switchover to check in and discuss what you need to do to make sure your service isn’t affected.

What is happening to the telephone system?

The digital upgrade will begin from April 2023 and aims to be completed by the end of 2025. Phone companies are already encouraging people to upgrade their phone systems now and this involves your phone provider arranging for a telephone engineer to come to your home to install the new system.

What do I have to do?

We want to make you aware that this is happening, so you know what to do in case your telephone provider contacts you to offer you a digital upgrade from your old telephone system. However, it may be that your telephone service has already been upgraded.

If you or someone you know depends on their landline or uses a telecare device connected to a phone line (such as a fall monitor, lifeline, or personal alarm), you should tell your telecommunications provider so that they can advise you on how the switch over could affect you.

If you have other devices connected to your phone line, such as alarm systems, you might need to upgrade your device to make sure it is compatible. If you are unsure about how a device in your home or business might be affected, it is recommended you contact the equipment supplier or device manufacturer to find out whether it will remain functional on a digital phone line.

Please follow these instructions, including a list of things to discuss with your telecom provider:

  • If your telephone provider contacts you to arrange a digital upgrade, ask them to put a marker on your account to ensure they are aware that you have a lifeline alarm service.
    Please also request a battery back-up unit from your telephone provider as you currently have a lifeline alarm. (The battery back-up will provide 1 hour of service in the event of a mains power failure. We strongly advise you have an alternative way of communicating in case of an emergency.)
  • If your telephone provider gives you a date for an engineer to come and upgrade the system, please contact us so we can update your account and make the necessary arrangements.
  • When the engineer comes, make sure that they are aware that you use a lifeline unit at home and the installation cannot be completed until a successful alarm test call has taken place following the digital upgrade.
  • The installer from your lifeline provider will visit your home to ensure that your lifeline unit is re-connected successfully by making a test call to the Monitoring Centre using your lifeline unit before the engineer leaves your home.

Changes your lifeline alarm

These changes may affect the lifeline alarm service that you receive from Bradford Council’s Safe and Sound department.
We want to make sure that your lifeline alarm system and pendant continues to work for you effectively and keeps you safe after these changes.
If you have received a visit from telecommunications engineer and changes have been made to your landline provision – please place a test call to the monitoring centre to check your connection.

Telecare scam warning

Be aware of phone calls from scammers requesting you pay or renew telecare over the phone. Callers claim to be from the new provider, and they ask for bank details to set up a new direct debit.

Bradford Council will never ask you to pay for your telecare over the telephone, nor would our telecare service provider Safe and Sound.
If scammers contact you:

  • hang up and report this to Action Fraud. You can report a scam on the Action Fraud website or call 0300 123 2040, which is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm
  • report to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 which is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)
  • if you are in any doubt about the identity of a caller, please don't share any personal information and end the call.
  • find information on cold calls and protecting yourself from scams on the website Age UK - phone scams.
  • You can sign up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) which allows you to opt out of marketing calls? for more information visit the TPS website.

In an emergency

Digital landlines cannot carry a power connection, so in the event of a power cut they will not work. If you have a mobile phone this can still be used, but if you’ve no other means of calling the emergency services your telecoms provider will offer a solution to allow calls to be made to emergency services.