Landline phones set to switch to digital-only by 2025 as analogue signal axed

Following a huge digital shake-up by the telecoms industry, 2025 is predicted to mark the end of traditional landline phones.

If people want to make a landline call, they will need the internet in order to do so.

As a result, millions of people across the country will be forced to either make the switch to online or use a mobile phone instead.

Some elderly people without access to the internet will need an engineer to visit and get them set up.

The move has been compared by experts to the switch to digital television in 2012, after the transmitting of analogue to aerials was terminated by broadcasters.

In response, experts have warned that there could be many older and vulnerable people in Britain left behind because they are not online, don't have a phone or live in a remote area with poor connectivity.

Around 6 percent of households, which is approximately 1.5 million homes, do not have access to the internet, according to Ofcom.

Director of Age UK Caroline Abrahams said: "Given that about half of older people over the age of 75 are not online, this could be a particular problem for our oldest citizens.

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"Given the threat of fraud, telecom providers also need to take steps to prevent anyone who is in particularly vulnerable circumstances from becoming victims of digital scams."

And if the internet was ever to go down, Ofcom are insisting that telecoms providers will have an obligation to their customers to provide all households with the relevant emergency services.

Martyn James, of the dispute service Resolver, has spoken out against the switchover decision.

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He said: "The telecoms businesses risk causing considerable distress to those many customers who find the online world hard to navigate.

"It's vitally important landline customers do not end up paying more and that cheap or subsidised broadband services are available for people forced online."

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A spokesperson from Openreach said: "Protecting vulnerable customers is an absolute priority for us. We are working with communications providers to identify vulnerable customers early on."

Ofcom are reassuring the public and have stated that they are working towards a solution to ensure vulnerable customers continue to get the relevant support.

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