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Committed to keeping customers safe through the switch-off

The PSTN switch-off is well underway and we are working to a revised timeline

Many individuals and businesses have already moved to a fully digital network and we expect nearly all to have migrated by January 2027.


Moving onto the digital network streamlines business communications and better connects the people, devices and the systems that keep our economy moving forward. While most businesses can be easily switched over to all-IP, some have certain devices that rely on the features of PSTN or ISDN, so it’s crucial that the industry provides a bridge between analogue and digital, to ensure every customer’s wellbeing. 

Review, test and switch

At BT Wholesale, our message to the channel is simple: act now to futureproof your operations and reap the rewards of being a digital business. To do this, partners must review, test and switch.


We’re encouraging partners to review their own and their customers’ connectivity estate to identify what’s still connected to the PSTN. As well as traditional landlines, this might include non-telephony devices such as CCTV, lifts and payment terminals. We have a team of experts to support, and any business can test their equipment for free at our R&D test centre at Adastral Park in Suffolk. Where possible, partners should then proceed to switch any legacy equipment to an all-IP alternative. 

The Charter of Obligations

Furthermore, to show our commitment to the safeguarding of all, BT Group has signed the Charter of Obligations and we have launched Pre-Digital Phone Line (PDPL).


The UK Government, through the Department of Science and Technology (DIST), created a Charter of Obligations in response to concerns around the safeguarding of vulnerable people and telecare services throughout the switch-off.


BT Group signed this in December 2023, meaning BT Wholesale adheres to it. Through this, we agree to meet certain criteria before we support any migrations that may impact vulnerable people. The Charter and criteria can be read in full on the UK Government site

How we are helping partners support vulnerable customers

We’ve got your back in supporting vulnerable customers and have introduced a range of support services and solutions, including Pre-Digital Phone Line (PDPL).


The PDPL is an interim technical capability that helps to move customers off the PSTN, where there is no alternative digital solution yet. PDPL solutions closely emulate the features of a traditional phone line within a modern network.


The PDPL shouldn’t be deployed as a long-term solution or alternative to all-IP, but it will enable the transition from legacy networks. For further information, check out our PDPL FAQ or contact your account manager.


Alongside the PDPL, we’ll also support you in invoking the Prove Telecare process (an upcoming Openreach initiative where engineers will test telehealth devices before migration), and we’ll provide white-label battery back-up units to support routers belonging to vulnerable people during outages (launching 24/25).

What you can do now to support vulnerable customers

1.      While voluntary, all the major communications providers have signed the Charter of Obligations and we’re asking all of our partners to uphold its principles too.


2.      Identify possible vulnerable individuals and edge cases in your customer base that may be unable to transition, and then arrange for devices to be tested for PDPL via our Digital Services lab. The type of customers to look out for include:


a.      Telecare users

b.      Vulnerable users (Ofcom currently defines vulnerable customers as those with physical or mental health problems, specific characteristics such as age or literacy skills, or changes in personal circumstances such as bereavement, job loss or changes in household income)

c.      Landline dependent customers

d.      Customers that support vulnerable users


3.      Use the Prove Telecare process when it’s launched later this year.


4.      Be prepared to offer customers further support, in sales, order management and battery backup.


The move to all-IP is accelerating at full pace, and we need to make sure everyone comes on the journey with us.


For further information on any of the above, reach out to your account manager. 

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