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Information for Commissioners of Services and Organisations / Businesses in Staffordshire

In 2016, it was announced by the telecommunications industry that they would replace all analogue lines and upgrade to digital internet-based infrastructure, i.e. to broadband technology from the old copper wire systems (known as the Public Switched Telephone Network, PSTN).

The telephone industry is likely to begin the change over in Staffordshire early in 2024. While the phone and broadband companies are leading the change, and your telephone provider should contact you directly, the county council is helping to make sure that partners, organisations and commissioners are informed and are prepared. The telecommunications industry have already converted some exchanges to full digital. So time is of the essence.

97% of Staffordshire now has broadband capability. Most people won’t notice the switch if they are connected to full-fibre broadband – it will happen automatically so the change for them will be as little as plugging their landline into their router rather than a plug on the wall.

However, research by the Local Government Association has suggested that organisations and commissioners of services need to ensure they have plans in place, especially the telecare and social alarm organisations where more technology is based on the old copper network. 

Whilst the switchover presents lots of challenges and opportunities, this is a real change to transform and improve services and lower costs for all in the long run. 

Many organisations are already well advanced in planning. The county council will be carrying out a public awareness campaign to make all residents aware of the changes and prompt them to get in touch with service providers for advice. So it’s important that organisations get on the front foot now.

We would also advise all organisations to:

·   Have a clear view about who receives services commissioned or delivered by local arrangements – don’t just rely on your IT department.

·   Ensure that you are in touch with the main telephony infrastructure organisations (Openreach, etc).

·   Be aware of questions and answers that members of the public may have about the switchover - resident FAQS

Openreach has developed industry fact sheets, more FAQs and other resources to support anyone who sells, services or uses products that connect through the analogue telephone network.

The Local Government Association has produced an overview of the key tasks for those commissioning or providing telecare.

FAQs for businesses, organisations and commissioners

Here are questions that have been submitted to telecommunications companies via councils

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