A note about what is happening to the phone lines in Downton
You may have noticed a lot of activity from Openreach and other Telecom companies of late. New telephone poles have appeared, extra junction boxes are on the top of most poles, coils of cables are hanging on the poles, there has been much peering into manholes, etc etc - all to do with upgrading the Downton part of the UK phone system. Essentially, all the old copper phone lines are being replaced with new fibre-optic cables, and a new connection box will be needed in your house. The next section is a set of questions and answers (those in italics are from BT), then we have some notes about the pros and cons.
What is Digital Voice?
Digital Voice is our new home phone service. With Digital Voice you'll get top quality calls with HD calling, together with all of the features you get today, like Call Protect and Voicemail.
Why are we moving to Digital Voice?
As your household becomes more connected, we're bringing all our technologies together onto one smart network to improve the
quality of the service you get from us.
Digital Voice is our next generation home phone service. We're upgrading our network to enable future technologies and to make it easier for you to connect on any device at home or on the go.
Over the coming years we'll roll out this new home phone service to our customers across the UK.
What does this mean for me?
For most households, upgrading to Digital Voice will have no impact on how you use your phone today. Digital Voice will give you the same reliability, trust and familiarity of your current home phone service and it will enable new benefits and features, such as crystal clear calls and the ability to block nuisance calls at the touch of a button.
Do I have to switch over to Digital Voice?
We aim to finish the upgrade by 2025 and you'll be switched over from your home phone service to Digital Voice when it's available to you.
How much does Digital Voice cost?
The cost of the new Digital Voice and broadband service is all included in the your single package price. There's no extra charge for Digital Voice. It also includes many inclusive calling features.
How do I get converted?
When BT need to convert your house phone line, they may need access to your house to install the new cable and a new connection box (called a
"Smart Hub"). This hub also needs to be plugged into the mains, so it must be reasonably near to an electric socket, and reasonably near to your
router if you have one.
As long as your phone is reasonably new it will plug into the hub or your router and should work exactly as it has always done. If your phone is a bit older, BT will normally supply a new one. It is possible to also connect your mobile phone and computer to the router.
So whats in it for me:
- With BT some paid for services come as standard.
- You get some new free services eg ability to make two calls. The phone’s contact list is shared automatically between the handsets.
And what are the problems?
- If there’s a power cut you have no phone, and you must rely on your mobile. If you live in an area with poor or no mobile then BT are exploring a backup phone system.
- All suppliers have said that if you use third party services eg alarm monitoring or personal alarms that use the analogue phone line then the owner must contact their supplier. Unless they are upgraded it is likely they won’t work.
- You’ll need to check your next couple of bills carefully to confirm that you’re not being charged for the new, now free, services.
- BT are exploring how the landline service would be provided if you have no broadband.
If you want more details have a look at: