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Communications United Kingdom

End of the Landline: BT Aims To Move All UK Customers To VoIP by 2025 ( 101

BT aims to move its UK customers to IP telephony by 2025. From a report: 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.
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End of the Landline: BT Aims To Move All UK Customers To VoIP by 2025

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  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @12:45PM (#56471899)
    Landlines work in a lot of cases where the power's down, at least in the States. Not sure about UK.
    • Landlines work in a lot of cases where the power's down, at least in the States. Not sure about UK.

      And the voltage on a land line can be useful for recharging USB devices in no power situations.... []

      • In our case, we opted to have fiber rather than a copper landline (Verizon Fios) - so aside from a small backup battery there is no phone service during a power outage. Over the last 10 years, I've found our cell phone service to be 100% reliable during power outages - including extended outages due to disasters like Sandy and Irene. Cell phones are easy to charge via power packs, generators, or car chargers. Our alarm system uses a cell phone backup, and it has worked in every power outage (I know because

        • by PPH ( 736903 )

          The Verizon provided FiOS battery backup only supports the phone function. They drop broadband (and TV?) when the power goes out at your home interface. So I ended up plugging the FiOS interface into my router/PC UPS anyway.

          • that is interesting. Is not the phone a VOIP? Because if so, it simply means that they are choosing to block the broadband.
            • by PPH ( 736903 )

              Is not the phone a VOIP?

              For my FiOS, if I were to buy their phone service, they would use a VOIP converter built into their network interface device (the box on your wall). When the power goes out, their battery continues to power their VOIP line and the copper loop into your residence, but not the broadband Ethernet and CATV interfaces.

        • So why have a land line at all?!
          • Excellent question! In my case it serves as a redundant line for the alarm, but we really only have it because it comes "free" with our internet bundle.

            We also call internationally fairly frequently, but for that I have a VOIP phone hooked up to the house wiring through an Obi device. This also lets us call the house with our cell phones and then forwards our international calls (though I use an Android SIP app if I have a decent internet connection). For my wife it's easier to just call the house, and besi

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If you use the phone line to charge something, especially during power outages, you're an asshole. That power is limited and needed to keep the PSTN working. The more current you draw, the quicker it runs out.

    • Landlines work in a lot of cases where the power's down, at least in the States. Not sure about UK.

      That's why VOIP and Radio Local Loop hardware for standard telephone service in the UK includes a battery.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Thing is, a lot of people don't even want a landline any more. I don't, I just want broadband and mobile.

        How about instead of mucking about with VOIP on landlines, BT offer gigabit fibre to everyone and stop making me pay for a phone service I don't want?

        • by mikael ( 484 )

          Because the UK has a "window tax" on fibre optic cabling:

          The Tax Valuations Office considers fibre-optic cabling a value-added asset to a company. The more kilometers and strands of fibre-optic cabling to your premises, the more thousands of pounds of tax your company has to pay each year (starting at £2000 for the first km). For BT and Virgin Media, that runs to billions of pounds of tax each year. Thus the pressure to gets as much cap

      • Same thing in the US. It just doesn't last very long if your outage is prolonged... maybe 8 hours on standby.

      • but in America poor rural areas might be a couple weeks without power following a major disaster. Heck, parts of Puerto Rico still don't have power...
    • If your power goes down that often that this becomes an issue, perhaps the powerdown is the issue, not the move to VoiP.

    • "Old" landlines do work when the power's out.

      My neighbour with respiratory problems and daily care visits got a battery backup installed along with the other box when they switched him to fibre. I didn't, but I think it's an optional extra for anyone who wants one.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @01:10PM (#56472059)

      That is assuming you still have a direct wired phone.
      Most people who still have a LAN Line, often will just have a cordless phone. Which doesn't work with the power out anyways.

      I remember watching a friends child play with Doll house parts. There was a toy telephone (from the 1990's) her parents coudln't convince her that it was actually a telephone and not an iron.

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        I keep a wired phone around for just that reason. It also has a light under the buttons which is handy to tell if the line is live. Had mice chew the line under the house before and assumed the no dial tone was due to wire thieves as usual.

    • Landlines work in a lot of cases where the power's down, at least in the States. Not sure about UK.

      My VOIP setup works w/o power just fine. Of course I have a couple of UPS's that keep the network equipment running to make this happen. The wireless phone system won't work though so I keep a wired handset plugged in just in case.

      Land Lines work just the same in the UK as in the US and won't depend on the power being on in your house to work. The power to run the phone comes from the central office, assuming you have a wired handset...

    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      Back in 2001 or so, the copper in the alley behind my house went to crap. I actually lost analog phone before the DSL gave up, though I learned then and since that TCP/IP isn't very happy with more than 25% or so packet loss.
    • My cell phone works when the power is out. The towers have back up power.

      Nothing works after there has been an earthquake (I'm in California) because the land lines and cell phones are both swamped with calls. So I'm not convinced there is a perfect solution for reliable emergency service.

    • Around three years ago, we had a power outage here (northeast Louisiana area) that lasted two and a half days. The old fashioned "POTS" line was down the entire time also, no dial tone (I have a wired handset phone on my home office desk). That's when I decided to start saving around $30/month by switching to a Voip service. I figured, "Hey, if the expensive landline fails during an outage also, what's the difference?"

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        I've had lots of 3 day outages (far enough out that we're last on the list to fix) and only once did the POTS go down. The phone lines are a lot more stretchy then the power lines. After a storm. I've gone into town and seen the tree on the lines that broke the power lines, the phone line would just be stretched to the ground.

    • Power outages are still a thing in the States. Not sure about the UK.
      • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

        Very rare, usually they only last a couple of minutes and there's less that one outage per year that I've noticed.

      • I suppose it depends were you live. Small villages in the middle of nowhere may still get them, but I can't remember in which decade we last had a power cut.

  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @12:53PM (#56471947) Homepage Journal

    high quality audio conversations

    • High quality audio conversations over the traditional POTS? Are you serious?
      • We still have a landline, and the quality is invariably better than my cellphone or the VOIP at work. Plant quality varies.
    • high quality audio conversations

      300Hz to 3300kHz.... "high quality" ... I can only assume the rap music has wreaked your ears or your brain for you to come up with that post.

  • So.. if you can't afford broadband, or don't want it for whatever reason, you're going to be without a phone line?

    Back in the day, a landline was $8 a month and would give you data via dialup. Good luck finding a broadband replacement for double or triple that.

    • by darkain ( 749283 )

      You're funny. Today, at least in the Seattle area, a POTS line is ~$60/mo after taxes/fees. Broadband internet is much cheaper than a POTS line now.

    • You forgot the 20 some dollars in taxes/fees/line charges.

    • If you can't afford broadband, you can't afford a BT phone. We have their FTTP service, but are required by them to pay for a landline service that we don't even have a phone plugged into. Their line rental costs more than both of us pay for the mobile phones that we actually do use. If you actually make calls on the BT phone, it becomes even more expensive.
  • what about elevator / lift phones?

    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      Do you think they're going to force the entire on-premises wiring to be all fiber right up to the phone? Are you actually retarded or just pretending? They only care about what goes up to the point of presence, where it ends in a VoIP box with a local power supply (with a battery if you're lucky) and a standard analog phone jack.
    • by gigne ( 990887 )

      this doesn't affect last leg, it's the core network. The inter-exchange network. Have three PSTN cables to the lift if you want, that hasn't changed.
      I appreciate you thinking up a scenario I hadn't considered (considering the hard time you seem to be getting). At work we are going voip, and having a massive PSTN tear out. I'd better check some regs on power continuity.

  • That's not the end of land lines. It's the end of POTS [] service. You can have a land line that uses VOIP and doesn't require a general purpose internet connection. I've got one sitting right next to me in my office. It's a phone but it uses it's own routers and isn't connected to our office computer network in any meaningful way.

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      It might not require a 'general purpose' internet connection but it obviously does require an internet connection. [Shrugs.]

  • By 2025, no one will be using traditional voice phone, even for mobile. All communications will be via SSL via end to end encryption and majority will be via custom apps (WhatsApp, Snap, FaceTime etc). Numbers will be used only as an identifier for the source and target devices. Many people already prefer such apps over phone number as they don't want to share phone numbers. The apps provide much richer control than standard telephone provides. What we lack is standardization and legal aspects (I have to pr

    • This prediction makes Kurzweil seem sane. Simple and good enough almost always win out. That and the vast majority of people do not share that level of interest in privacy or security.

  • Here in Norway 85% of the PSTN/ISDN customers are gone since the peak in the early 2000s. Fiber is now biggest and growing, cable is second and holding steady through upgrades so replacing the last mile is not necessary while xDSL is third and dropping. Pretty much all new installations are now fiber, no matter who does it. Our main telecom operator already suggested this once before, I think mostly to see how much resistance they'd get and get the ball rolling. The problem are those where it's not cost eff

  • by Harvey Manfrenjenson ( 1610637 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @02:34PM (#56472853)

    I know this story is about the UK, but clearly the US telecoms are moving to VOIP as well, and I wonder about the legal implications. If phone service is now considered an "online service", does the FOSTA/SESTA legislation apply to it? Will telecoms be required to monitor the content of phone calls in order to make sure that no one is committing a crime? How will this affect the ease with which LEOs can monitor or record your phone calls?

  • Did all VoIP use GSM ? Didn't just use landline differently ?

  • Er "Landline"...means a phone connected to the wall.
    I have a VOIP phone on my desk - it's connected to the wall, it's still a landline despite being VOIP.
    "Switching to VOIP" doesn't mean "getting rid of landlines" at all.

    *PERSONALLY* while I can see the compelling reasons for not having essentially 3 parallel wire-systems to residences (phone, electrical, cable/internet), living in rural America where the power goes out at least a handful of times a year, we find it helpful to KEEP a pots phone account just

  • Collect Calls (Score:3, Informative)

    by FuzzyFox ( 772046 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @04:05PM (#56473565)

    Land lines can accept Collect Calls. Where the person calling you might be stuck in a situation where they are far away, and can't afford to pay for a call (such as a pay phone, stuck in a prison, in jail for some reason). They can ask the operator to reverse the charges, so that you, the one receiving the call, can talk to that person.

    VOIP phones don't have the billing infrastructure and laws/regulations that require they have this ability. As a result, loss of land lines means less and less ability for a family member to be able to reach you in an unexpectedly harsh emergency.

    The only reason I still have a land line is because this happened to me. A family member ended up in jail, and the only way that they were able to call and let me know was because I had a land line. If I hadn't had one, I suppose I would have found out... eventually? Somehow? It's hard to say.

    I really feel like we're losing something, and not many people are giving serious thought to this particular service, because it's so rarely used, and hard to predict what conditions would have to happen for it to be useful.

  • So... does this mean BT will actually introduce IPv6 for consumers or will it be a VPN type of deal for the VoIP channel and we'll still be praying for IPv6 in the year 3000?

    • They've already deployed IPv6 to their entire consumer customer base.

      (Unfortunately the routers they used to give out don't do v6, so if you have a "Home Hub 5" or earlier then you'll need to get that replaced, which is why only 35% of their users are actually using v6 rather than the 93% or so that Sky are at. But they are in fact providing it.)

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