The end of copper analogue phone lines

edited July 2022 in Hardware
Yesterday, I got a letter from my ISP that a thing called "Digital Voice" would soon be coming, and then saying it could be forced on all its customers because by 2025, at least here in the UK, the copper analogue phone lines are set to phase out and then be switched to a "digital service". Since I learnt this, it had gotten me so worried especially for my mother, who isn't tech-savvy and depends on the phone a lot. Plus, the set-up of it would be a pain in the backside as it would require a new router and that the phone has to have connectivity with it - much difficult when the phone and router are not in the same room and that I have no power sockets free in my room. Plus, what's going to happen if I suffer an outage? Would I not be able to use the phone? Such a ridiculous idea...

However, after reading more about that service, it's not compulsory as customers of my ISP are free to opt-out, but would be left without a working phone line when that time times and this household may be forced with a mobile, again wouldn't be of interest to my technophobic mother.

Of course, other phone providers would have their ways to get phoning done for the digital age, and this is completely different to the digital TV transition during the early 2010s (to which I already had it before the switchover was forced on millions of households).

Not sure if these analogue phone lines are set to be phased out elsewhere in the world, including America.


EDIT: Here's a tragic tale as to why scrapping the traditional phone line is not good for rural communities. I really feel sorry for the man, and the company that had shut off his landline without his say-so must hang their heads in shame.


  • Oh, man, that is awful.

    There are lots of remote areas in the the US that will likely never get cell service. And these days when a cell tower literally has to be in your face every where you look just to keep these things halfway-reliable (but still with audio that sounds like a robot raping your ear) what is even the point? I mean you have to run cables to all of these things anyway. But idiots think it is magic because the TV says so.

    As I've mentioned before, I have a nice landline with real copper to the CO a few blocks down. I don't really care about the "copper", but what I care about is that I have a nice simple reliable device that NEVER needs changing. upgrading, recharging, replacing, security updates, or requires any of the phone companies hardware in my house. This is NOT an unreasonable thing to want.

    That is the main problem with digital landlines. They plug in the the same handsets, but they require a fiber or VDSL bridge (that may also provide internet service) but you have to give them your own battery backup.

    Still, I would rather have a digital landline or VOIP telephone rather than some fruity "smartphone" that has to be thrown away every couple years.

    Ha, digital TV transition... I'm still using the same tiny 1990s TV with a converter box, and getting a better picture and more channels.... there just isn't anything ON TV any more.
  • The problem with copper is that the old lines are nearing end of life and would need to replaced fairly soon. Very expensive. The reduction in subscriber number and the caps on pricing make it into a certain money loser. Far better is the relatively very low cost of cellular towers which are coupled with the ability to charge much higher prices to customers. The US government making sure that wireless lines could get a $30 a month subsidy is a great boon to the telephone companies bottom line.

    I like copper wires. Put a generator on the exchange and every customer within a few miles will continue to have phone service even if the main power grid needs much more time to get back up.

    I admit I have done a long rant concerning the inability to use a smartphone as a phone and most of the wireless provider's solutions boil down to piggybacking on a landline I have to pay for.
  • To be honest, I don't really miss the copper lines. And I say this as someone that collects vintage phones. The old lines were not well maintained these days and many of them are major disrepair. I'd rather they put the time, money, and effort into getting fiber everywhere there was a copper line instead of fixing those old lines. Fiber opens the doors to many more possibilities. Faster internet, voice services, TV services.

    Also, as someone that has moved a lot, I never really cared for having my phone service tied to my location. Though the whole number portability thing reduced some of that headache.

    It's been about 15 years or so since I had a copper landline service. I was a Vonage user for a while until I found They were significantly cheaper and it was super easy to provide a SIP trunk to my own PBX server. I have an FXS gateway that connects to my PBX server and provides me with 24 analog phone lines to use with my vintage phones and the whole set up has been quite reliable. The only issue I had was got DDoS'd a while back and that killed my service for a while. An unfortunate, but thankfully rare, occurrence.

    As far as power outages or internet outages go, I can count them on one hand in the last 7 years I've lived here. The longest was an hour and I wasn't even home.
  • edited August 2022
    @Bry89 you said "much difficult when the phone and router are not in the same room and that I have no power sockets free in my room."
    How about a cordless phone? You could place the base unit near the new router and connect it, and have the handset wherever convenient, and place it occasionally on the base to charge it.
  • You can buy Bluetooth to rj11 adapters for just a few dollars. I have a "Cobra PhoneLynx". These allow connecting any cell phone to your analog house line and using it like a normal analog phone service.
  • @hostolis I have a cordless phone actually. I just meant that having that and the router in the same room would be awkward, as shown in the video on BT's site >
  • What gets me the most about this is--what about all the modems!! We actually have a point of sale system that has its remote trouble shooting done via an analogue modem. Why? Hack proof! Not online 24x7 waiting to be hacked--there's an A/B switch connected to it and when it needs to be used the tech support will tell us to switch it over and when they're done they tell us to switch it back. Look! No security updates needed!
  • I'm still using VDSL2 75 Mbit/s down, 8 Mbit/s up from good-ole copper phone line. Love it.
  • We live in an area that does not have any cell service... I always laugh at the ads that bespeak 'nationwide coverage' that's total BS>>>

    But I am glad we don't have service, cleaner enviro, nobody should ever live near a 'fake' cell tower or 4G/5G/6G pod on a stick... Your cellphone has output of @ ONE WATT!... So why do most of these towers have the potential for 500,000 to a million watts of power? Being an amateur radio operator since 1977 I find these 'power towers' quite perplexing having gone up & studied many>>>

    Folks, they want you all on portable cellphones this way you can be located anywhere at anytime... Ever wonder why so many towers along freeways yet you might not have any signal? Being multi-purpose these towers are copying your data on your phones as you pass & also IDing you... In effect the whole internet is being configured way more for phones & not so much for computers as they want the 'chinese' style cashless society here as you live your life as a QR code... Those people are completely screwed there even a beggar has to have a phone... They don't like what you do they just limit or cut off account permanent as cash is no longer an option>>>

    You see I am also sensitive to Why-Fry, makes me sick... Back in 2015 they started running fiber out here in the sticks & by late 2016 were bugging to have use change over from copper... I told them no way as a modem pulsing off in the house would make me sick... They said then they'd have to disconnect then so I said then get a frickin' crew I want it all down to the road...'OK'...

    Get call a few hours later guy says "There's another option"... A direct interfacing to broadband... When I asked why this wasn't offered earlier he said it is ONLY offered to customers willing to disconnect>>>
  • Should've added that if you ever walk up to a cell tower to have a gander leave your cellphone-portable devices at home & drive the oldest beater car to it or you may be targeted as 'foe'... Doesn't matter if your phone is not in your name they cross-ref where it sits all night with whoever lives at the address & what is actually on the phone... If your car is newer it has same tracking-monitoring garbage...

    In the beginning of this video gal shows of microwave attacks on her face I bet she took her phone with her probably video & talk about what she was gonna do so tower treat her as 'foe'-

    Here's one if you haven't seen it of birds tearing apart a cell tower by pulling cables off... Don't know what kinda birds probably Rook Crows as they are very smart...

  • Two years since the last letter sent to my house, I got another... once again reminding me of it, and the change could come in the next 12 months or so. Like before, I stand firmly against it, and I know I'm not the only one (even the old buddies are fearing it, like they were when it came to the digital TV switchover but this is far worse).

    Not only is this Digital Voice bullshit a major problem when you have a power cut or when you can't call 999 just because the internet is down, this would also interfere with medical alarms that my mother recently got (following a fall she suffered weeks ago). Honestly, this will be too much hassle to the point that for our household, we may even consider scrapping landline altogether and have mobile instead, even if my mother's a real technophobe.

    Because of all this, there have been campaigners wanting BT, and all other providers, to delay this by at least five years but luckly, BT will be brave to show their faces all around the UK with events dedicated to the new service (and there'll be one in Glasgow in August, where I will turn up and confront them about it).
  • Good Job... Yeah, Fight it as much as possible... For me being willing to disconnect all service made the difference...

    Then in 2017 neighbors invited us to dinner at their house about 1,000 feet away... Without thinking much about it at like 1.5 hours I started getting strange stomach pain not from the food I then thought "Crap, they got Why-Fry here!"... Sure enough right up on the stairway was the modem pulsing away... We had to leave I wasn't better till next day... The husband actually passed away in 2021 from cancer at only 52... Sad for them they were well-off people but not too bright but nice...

    None of this stuff good for anybody... That's why it's called 'SMART Technology'... The definition of SMART THEY refer to is a 'sudden sharp pain'... "oh, That SMARTS!!" Has nothing to do with being 'intelligent'... Where do you find intelligence? We are drowning in a sea of information yet starving for wisdom...
  • AT&T way back when: living rural, had max 33k POTS line. Decided to pop for 2 lines to the house, because I was a busy lad on Usenet, AND running a business - AT&T said sure no problem. So, what did they do? use a technology called line splitting - which effectively gave me two lines, but now max of 12.5k per line. I asked WTF? They said sorry pal, we gave you what you asked for.

    Several years later, got AT&T's digital technology - whoops! What a jump in speed. Expensive - like buying a Tesla, but FAST.

    So I asked - we need a POTS line for emergencies - can you provide this?
    Sure no problem. They padded my bill by 50%, sent out a tech with a converter box that plugged into the digital line and said "there ya go."

    ...and that's when I got everyone a cell phone.

    And then speed dropped. Why I asked? Oh, you have many new neighbors, and that drops available bandwidth. But buy our Premium package, and we'll ensure you get bandwidth priority.

    Yeah, right. No thanks - I felt like I was talking to a used car salesman and needed to wash my hands.

    Two years later, they switch from old fashioned analog cell to the new stuff. There's a shiny new tower on a former ski hill not 2 miles from my house.
    So, buy new cell phones for everyone.

    Again, no service at the house.

    Walk down to the corner, have a signal.

    AT&T sent out a "booster box". Still no go. "Ah, you're too close to the tower, signal is going over you" they said.

    Many folks said "oh! Try Verizon - they have towers everywhere. Best provider in the state!"

    So Verizon said "sure, we can fix you right up."

    And still, no signal at the house. Walk down to the corner, have a signal.
    See, out where we lived, Verizon used AT&T's tower.

    20 years later, my former neighbors STILL cannot get digital or cell in many locations, their POTS lines have been digitized to save infrastructure upgrade costs, and basic packages where they do have some form of cable is 200/month and that's even if they use satellite.

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