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!
Sign In or Register to comment.