Millions of elderly and vulnerable people will be impacted as BT prepares to phase out landlines.


Millions of elderly and vulnerable people will be affected as BT prepares to phase out landlines.

Landlines are scheduled to be phased out by BT, putting millions of elderly and vulnerable people at risk.

BT’s plans to replace traditional handsets with digital handsets, according to campaigners, could effectively isolate millions of vulnerable pensioners.

As part of BT’s digital transition, which is set to start in 2025, the handsets will be phased out.

According to Jan Shortt, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, the proposals have a major flaw.

“This digital phone line will stop working if there is a power outage – and a potential lifeline for elderly people will be cut off,” she warned.

“Those who use a health pendant to make an emergency call or raise an alarm may be left stranded, unable to call for life-saving assistance.”

According to Ofcom, approximately 6%%20of%20households%20-%20or%201.5%20million%20homes%20-%20do%20not%20have%20internet%20access.

People who live in these homes will almost certainly need an engineer to come in and set up the new technology, and those who have older phones will almost certainly need to upgrade.

Ms Shortt, on the other hand, warned that millions more people lacked access to or were unable to use a mobile phone effectively.

“BT has no idea that many older people don’t want or can’t afford a fancy smartphone – and rely on their landline for survival,” she said.

“Discriminating against those who aren’t online, especially the elderly, is wrong.”

“This could be a particular problem for our oldest citizens,” said Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK, “given that about half of older people over the age of 75 are not online.”

Telecommunications companies must ensure that all households have access to emergency services, which they can do by providing a free mobile phone.

The safety of Openreach’s most vulnerable customers is “absolutely paramount,” according to the company, which manages the majority of the UK’s wire and cable infrastructure.

The company aims to have installed ultra-fast full fiber broadband in 25 million homes by the end of 2026.

BT’s Digital Voice switchover began in 2019 and has already converted two million landlines.

Customers must be able to contact emergency services if there is a power outage that lasts longer than an hour, according to Ofcom guidelines.

“News from the Brinkwire.”


Comments are closed.