Update on BT Digital Voice

I’ve previously noted that the existing PSTN copper-wire telephone network is due to be retired by the end of 2025.  Although this may seem impossibly ambitious, given that’s only 3½ years away, it seems that the intention is not to rip out the copper network – this will remain in place for years to come – but to provide the telephone service over the broadband signal, which might come via the existing copper network or via fibre to the premises if you have that fitted.

Openreach Retiring the copper network say that there are 221 locations where they will stop selling ‘copper’ products between now and the end of the year, and from September 2023, you’ll only be able to get a digital phone, although delivered via the copper network where full fibre isn’t available.

They’re planning to connect 20 million homes to full-fibre, including 3.2 million premises in ‘harder to reach’ areas.

Salisbury was the first ‘fully-fibred’ city in June 2020, taking a year to reach more than 20,000 premises. By ‘reaching’ premises, it means that there is a connector on the building, but it will not be until 2022 that everyone is switched over.

But the thing I just don’t get is the cost of the ‘landline’ service.  In fact, their website no longer has ‘landline’ as a headline service – it comes under ‘Broadband’.

‘Pay-As-You-Go’ is £21 a month ‘line rental’ plus 21 p a minute for calls.  You can get 700 minutes of calls for an extra £7 per month.  But I remember getting stung by this some years ago when our only use of the landline was my partner making a 2-hour call to a friend once per month.  After the first hour, the cost went up to 20p a minute, so cost an extra £12!  So 120 minutes once a month cost £19.  Their prices just aren’t competitive with a mobile phone deal – they’ve lost interest in their traditional business, and must be trying to price it out of existence.


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