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BT Delays Copper Phone Line Switch-Off to 2027 

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BT has announced a two-year delay in the shutdown of the UK’s copper-based phone lines, now scheduled for 2027 instead of the original 2025 target. The decision was subtly revealed in the company’s 2023 financial results and later confirmed through a press release. 

This postponement affects both business and residential customers who still rely on the ageing analogue networks, which are becoming increasingly challenging to maintain due to the scarcity of replacement parts. 

The primary reason for the delay is the heightened concern for elderly customers dependent on landline-based medical and security alarms. Although these systems can operate over digital lines, they are more susceptible to power outages, unlike their copper counterparts. Currently, about 2 million people in the UK use such devices. 

The decision follows a commitment made last December by BT and other providers, like Sky, to halt the enforced transition to digital lines after several incidents involving telecare devices. In April, BT’s Consumer division began migrating customers with zero-use landlines but active broadband connections to its Digital Voice service. 

Howard Watson, BT’s Chief of Security and Networks, emphasized the urgency of the transition to digital services due to the fragility of the 40-year-old analogue technology. He highlighted the importance of managing the switch smoothly and safely, especially for customers with additional needs. 

“Our priority remains doing this safely and the work we’re doing with our peers, local authorities, telecare providers, and key Government organizations is key. But more needs to be done, and we need all local authorities and telecare providers to share with us the phone lines where they know there’s a telecare user,” Watson stated. 

BT aims to complete the transition of all customers to the digital network by January 2027, ensuring that vulnerable groups are adequately supported throughout the process. 

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