By 2025, analogue telephone services accessed by the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will be switched off as the UK’s telecoms infrastructure is upgraded to digital connectivity. The switchover has implications for the telecare and TEC sector, and the 1.8 million people who rely on those services in the UK.

All traditional devices that connect to the PSTN, such as telephone handsets, ATM’s, traffic light management systems and telecare units, will need reconnecting, with some needing upgrading or replacing irrespective of what plans that telecare providers have to develop their service.

The PSTN is a privately-owned copper wired based telecoms network and the decision to upgrade it has been taken by the telecommunications industry. Fixed-line operators – such as Orbicomm will replace analogue telephone services with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which carries voice calls as data using internet technology. The upgrade will be delivered by the telecoms industry in a phased approach over the next couple of years, with the UK network expected to be fully upgraded to VoIP services in 2025. The switchover will happen on a telephone exchange by exchange basis and not on a regional basis seen in relation to the switchover of analogue television.

While the PSTN upgrade is an industry-led process, the Government, through the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Office of Communications (Ofcom) are working together to ensure consumers and sectors are protected and prepared for the upgrade process, including from a power resilience perspective.

Local government also has a critical role to play in the digital switchover to implement the solutions required to support residents and prevent impact on day-to-day life.

2025 is the endgame – the switchover is already taking place.”