Telecoms companies in the UK are replacing the technology they use to provide landline telephone networks. Your pendant alarm might be affected by this. Our Q&A quide is here to help you. Please also read the government’s guidance on this.
When are BT analogue phone lines being switched off?
By the end of 2025 all analogue telephone lines will be replaced with digital lines as BT and other communication providers transition customers to new digital services. It means the internet will be used to carry telephone calls, similar to Whatsapp or Skype. Upgrades are already taking place for new customers and BT and other providers are completing upgrades geographically. You can find more information on the BT website.
Why is this upgrade happening?
The digital telephone switchover is happening as analogue legacy networks are aged and becoming harder and more costly to maintain and there is also a demand for faster networks and connectivity and a wider spread of connectivity, especially in areas that have not had adequate connectivity previously. Europe and worldwide this type of upgrade has already happened. Careium ‘s headquarters are in Sweden, so we have many years of expertise to support the UK’s transition.
What services will be affected by this upgrade?
It’s not just personal alarms that could be affected by this nationwide upgrade, this could affect cash machines, lifts, security alarms and more as many of these applications use current analogue telephone infrastructure.
When will my phone line be upgraded?
This will ultimately depend on your telephone provider. There is a lot of work to do in the lead-up to 2025. As early as this year, 2023, BT and other providers could stop selling analogue phone lines to new customers. If you already have a telephone line, your service provider will be in contact when it’s time to move you over to a new service. We would however recommend being proactive and making the call to your telephone line provider to get more information.
What will a new digital line cost me?
Ultimately this is down to your telephone line provider. Your telecare alarm just utilises this line but we would recommend getting in touch with your telephone line provider to notify them that you have a telecare alarm and to ask whether there would be a cost implication if and when you are migrated to a ‘digital voice’ line.
Do I need to do this change over?
Some telephone line providers will allow you to request to delay your transition, but you will need to arrange this directly with your telephone provider and you can notify them that you are in receipt of a special service personal alarm. A transition to a digital service may well be mandatory moving forward as ultimately the infrastructure nationwide will no longer support the current services.Your telephone line provider may write to you in advance to notify you of a transition in your area, but we would always recommend being proactive and contacting them regarding any future change.
About your personal alarm
Will my personal alarm still work after the digital upgrade?
If you have a digital personal alarm that does not connect to a telephone landline then your personal alarm service will be unaffected. If your alarm connects to an existing telephone socket then it is analogue and may be affected by the upgrade.
How do I know if I have an analogue or digital device?
Many of the personal alarm devices in the UK are analogue but many customers are now going through the process to change to digital. If you are unaware of the type you have then please feel free to contact our Customer Services team for support and we can assist with ascertaining and providing options as required.
If you have a unit that looks like one in ‘option A’ it is already digital and you will not need to do anything. If you have a unit that looks like one of these in ‘option B’ below then you have an analogue unit.
Will I need to change my personal alarm device if it’s analogue?
In some situations you won’t need to change your device. Some of our customers already have digital capable telecare alarms. However, some do not. Industry testing has identified that analogue telecare devices can fail a percentage of the time over the new networks and these failures can take shape in many different forms. Therefore, the safest option (that is recommended by communication suppliers and providers like ourselves) is that it would more reliable to use a digitally enabled device. Read more information about our digital personal alarms.
Will I have to pay more for a digital device?
Possibly yes. This is dependent on the device you currently have and the service we deliver to you currently. Technology as a whole has increased in price in the last 12 months due to the nationwide increase in components and associated shortages. As a business we will try and prevent passing these costs onto our customers but it’s not always possible. If there is a requirement to change your monthly cost we will communicate this with you beforehand.
Please be assured however that if there is a price increase that the benefits of digital devices are that they provide security, speed, future proofing, remote maintenance capabilities and much more. There has been a substantial rise in costs of technology components and although we will try our best to prevent this being passed onto our customers we cannot guarantee this longer term.
If my telecare device needs to be changed will someone pay me a visit to install it?
Digital technology decreases the need for someone to come into your home. It is much easier to set up via ‘plug and play’ and issues can also be resolved remotely in many cases. We offer a self-set up postal option where the device is simply plugged in and tested by you or a helpful relative/friend. If you have an old device it can be sent back to us in a reply paid envelope. Alternatively, if you do need engineer support to set up we can offer this in certain areas at an additional cost.
Our priority is to make sure that your pendant alarm continues to work for you and keeps you safe. If you have any concerns about this issue please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be able to help.