The UK telephone network that weaves throughout the country is going through a major technological change.
This national network has been the backbone of our communications for over a century, linking our homes and businesses across every village, town, and city. However, we have now reached a turning-point where we need to move away from the 140-year-old copper-wire network and bring everyone onto a modern internet-based network. This new network will eventually use fibre optic cables instead of copper wires to transmit your telephone calls and internet traffic far more efficiently, enabling additional services to operate.
Original announcement stated that everyone needs to be migrated to internet-based telephony by 2025 when the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will be switched off. If a premise hasn’t got fibre optic cables in time, then a hybrid system of fibre and copper will be used to provide broadband to premises around the UK to enable internet voice services. This huge change will affect everyone in the UK, and we will all have to adapt.
Recently, BT announced a revision to its timetable for migrating all customers off the PSTN and onto digital landlines. The closure of its PSTN network has been delayed until 31st January 2027, and Openreach has responded in kind to CPs indicating that WLR services will also be withdrawn around this new date.

Guidance for customers

If you use a landline telephone in your home or business, this consumer’s guide to the telephone switchover will give you more information to help you:
  • Understand the details of what is happening to the telephone network
  • What this means for your telephone service – including your phone number and telephone handset
  • Get your house/business premises set up for the new system
  • Communicate with your current telephone service provider
  • Ensure that you can continue to access the emergency services during a power cut


Guidance for service providers

If you are a service provider, our industry guide to the PSTN switch-off will give you more information and guidance on:
  • Properly preparing your customers for the change
  • Working effectively with your provider/Openreach
  • The long-term business implications and the change and how to remain effective in the new environment