End of the landline: BT aims to move all UK customers to VoIP by 2025

20 Apr 2018

Image: ptystockphoto/Shutterstock

BT aims to move its UK customers to IP telephony by 2025.

BT is shutting its traditional telephone network in the UK, according to an email seen by The Register.

The public switched telephone network (PSTN) closure is part of the company’s plans to move in a fibre network direction in terms of its infrastructure.

All phonecalls will eventually be made over broadband using VoIP systems, which means the company’s existing wholesale line rental products, which are reliant on the PSTN, will need to be removed.

BT Openreach runs the network used by all but one of the telecoms providers in the UK.

A legacy technology

Openreach will be opening a consultation in May to discuss transition strategies with UK providers. A switch to VoIP will mean BT will have one less network to maintain, and therefore be able to funnel its efforts into improving broadband standards rather than continuing to manage a technology with a declining number of users.

VoIP-only necessitates that every home in the UK has the internet capacity required to submit voice, and this may take some time to organise. Openreach is regulated by Ofcom, and the body will likely have many caveats in place.

From analogue to digital

Openreach explained the change to communications providers in an email: “This is a truly significant change for the industry and represents a move from an analogue to a digital, fibre-led future. These changes will affect how you do business with Openreach.”

A spokesperson for Openreach said: “We’ll be working with our communication provider customers over the coming months as we consider the move to IP voice services, where broadband rather than voice becomes the primary service.”

While the end of the landline may evoke some nostalgia in people, the focus on improving and expanding fibre-optic infrastructure is a crucial step in terms of keeping up with the pace of digital transformation elsewhere.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects