BT Group announces streamlined digital switchover to full fibre network


The BT Group has refined its strategy for the UK's transition to a full fibre digital network, aiming to modernise the nation's telecommunication infrastructure.

As part of this initiative, BT will significantly reduce the number of local telephone exchanges from around 5,600 to just 1,000 by the early 2030s. This reduction aligns with the shift from traditional copper networks to more efficient fibre networks, which require less equipment and can serve more customers from fewer locations.

The transition includes a pilot program to exit three initial exchanges by March 2025, followed by a broader plan to decommission 100 exchanges by December 2030 and most of the remaining exchanges soon after. The first three pilot exchanges are in Deddington (Oxfordshire), Kenton Road (Greater London) and Ballyclare (Northern Ireland), with respective exit dates set for March and September 2024.

BT's new home phone service, Digital Voice, will replace traditional landlines, utilising broadband connections to make calls. BT offers Voice Over IP (VOIP) products for business customers that integrate traditional phone system features with cloud flexibility. These services are designed to be reliable and efficient, ensuring a seamless transition for our customers.

The transition to BT's full-fibre network and the introduction of the Digital Voice service will have several impacts on parish councils, particularly regarding their communication infrastructure and services provided to residents. Here are the critical areas of impact:

  • Upgrade from traditional copper-based telephone lines to fibre-based Digital Voice services.
  • Continuity of service by ensuring a seamless transition without disruption to council services will be critical. 
  • Play a role in identifying vulnerable residents within their communities. 
  • Support local awareness campaigns and events to educate residents about the switch to Digital Voice. 
  • Facilitate or host public meetings where BT representatives can address community concerns and provide detailed information about the changes.
  • Ensuring alarm systems, healthcare pendants, or other critical devices connected to traditional phone lines are compatible with the new fibre network will be essential to maintain community safety and services.
  • Coordinate with alarm and telecare providers to upgrade or replace devices that rely on old technology.
  • Budget for transitioning to the new technology and potentially seek funding or grants to cover the costs associated with the transition​ 

Find out more about the switchover on BT's official website

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