Telecommunications

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 14th March 2022.

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Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

Between now and 2025, the way landlines work in the UK is changing. Providers are moving from the old Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. The PSTN is a privately-owned telecoms network and the decision to upgrade it has been taken by the telecoms industry.

As this is an industry-led migration, communications providers will contact their customers with information ahead of their line being upgraded. The exact migration process will depend on the provider and the type of equipment the customer has at their premises.

We are working together with Ofcom to ensure customers receive appropriate levels of communication and vulnerable consumers are protected. Ofcom requires that providers must engage in effective communications to ensure all vulnerable customers understand the risk in the migration to VoIP. We are also ensuring the telecoms industry is engaging with priority sectors such as Critical National Infrastructure and Telecare providers ahead of time.

Ofcom has set out initial proposals for the process for retiring the fixed copper broadband network. This is a separate process to the PSTN migration and we do not expect to see copper retirement in the next three years.

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