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Analogue Switch Off - Resident FAQs

Staffordshire County Council is helping everyone to understand how the 'digital phone switchover', i.e. the switch from the old analogue telephony system to the new digital system, will work and what people need to do, if anything.

What is happening?

From October 2023 to December 2025, most telephone providers will be moving their customers from old analogue landlines over to new upgraded landline services using digital technology.

The new network will provide a more reliable and broadband service that will support people’s and business needs for years to come - and it’s already happening. This change is being carried out by the owners of the telephone system, not Staffordshire County Council or Gigafast Staffordshire.

Why are the traditional copper phone lines being taken away? What are the benefits?

The phone network that has existed since Victorian times is coming to the end of its life, and our communication needs have changed considerably. Broadband relies on fibre optic technology which is more reliable and easier to maintain.

The switch will support residents’ and business’ needs for years to come and will make a big difference to the amount of carbon produced every year in Staffordshire.

With time, it will also allow telephone providers to develop tools to better protects customers from nuisance and scam calls.

How will it affect me / what do I need to do?

Landlines won’t be going anywhere, it’s just the system behind them that will change. For most people connected to the internet, it will be as simple as plugging the phone into the router rather than the socket in the wall. For most residents and businesses, the change will be straightforward. In fact, many customers are already making the switch when they upgrade to full fibre broadband.

When will my landline be switched off?

Your landline provider will get in touch with you when it’s coming up to the time for you to switch.  It’s already happening in some parts of the country, so keep an eye out for communications from your provider.  If you are at all unsure if the communication you have received is a scam , you can contact Staffordshire Trading Standards confidentially on 01785 330356.

Don’t worry if you only use a landline to communicate, or have additional needs.  The telephone providers won’t switch your line over for the first year, and they’ll be there to help you every step of the way.

I don’t have / want broadband. What do I do?

You don’t need to upgrade to full fibre services when the switch happens, but there’s never been a better time to change to broadband.  Over 97% of businesses and residents in Staffordshire can now connect.  Explore if you can connect here.

If you don’t want to change to digital phone service just yet, don’t worry – traditional phone services will work until December 2025. But from now, traditional phone services won’t be offered to new or recontracting customers.

I, or someone I know uses telecare technology. What should I do?

Some existing devices will continue to work after the switchover, but some that work on the old analogue system will need to be replaced. Don’t worry. The telephone providers won’t switch you over in the first year of the roll out, but but’s important that you get in touch with your provider now, so that they can advise on how the switch might affect the service of the devices or the home phone, and keep you updated.

The industry has been planning for the switchover, so don’t worry.  This could be an opportunity to an upgrade!

How will the new digital phone lines be connected to my home?

If you’re upgrading to a full fibre service, an engineer will visit and cables will need to be installed to your home, but Openreach say that just over half of properties can be connected using existing telegraph poles. Openreach uses different ways to minimise disruption to your home.

If you’re switching to a digital phone line without upgrading to full fibre broadband, the service will work with the wiring that’s already in place.

Is there anything I should watch out for? 

It’s important that you keep an eye out for communications from your telecoms provider as they will be contacting you soon about the switchover. As this is a big change for the county, this could be an opportunity for criminals to develop new scams – over email, phone, via post or in person.

Remember this scam advice:

STOP – take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or your personal information.

CHALLENGE – could it be fake? It's OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. You should never feel rushed or pressured into making a decision.

PROTECT – contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam and report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.

Other unscrupulous people may also try to sell you equipment or get you to sign up to expensive contracts that you don’t need. In these cases, it's important that you don't rush into making any decisions. You can always seek a second opinion ( contact Staffordshire Trading Standards on 01785 330356) and speak to your phone company – they should be able to advise you about what you need.

What happens in an emergency?

Don’t worry! Once the switchover happens, digital landlines will not carry a power connection, so in the event of a power cut, they will not work.  You will still be able to use your mobile phone, but if you haven’t got one or you are in an area of poor reception, your telecoms provider / OpenReach have committed to offering you a solution to allow you to make calls to the emergency services.

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.

Help! I’m reliant on my landline! What do I do?

If you have a device that you think might be reliant on the landline – don’t worry.  You won’t be asked to switch for at least the first year of the roll out, but it’s best to check with your equipment supplier. You can also get in touch with your telecoms provider who must provide a solution.  Ofcom have also made it a requirement for providers to help people reliant on their landline with a free back up option if there is a power cut. Telephone providers have also set up dedicated teams to help customers with more complex needs.

Read more about telecare and assistive technology devices and how they can be used in your home.

Help! I have no mobile phone signal! What do I do?

Don’t worry – you won’t be asked to switch for the first year of the roll out, and the telephone provider will work with you to get the right support in place.

Read the FAQs for organisations and commissioners of care services here.