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How will the digital switchover affect my personal alarm?

Personal alarms that use a telephone landline may be affected. Find out how we can help you prepare for the switchover.

September 08, 2021

Telephone landline and personal alarm

What is happening to the old landline network?

By the end of 2025 all analogue telephone lines will be replaced with digital lines. These will use the internet to carry telephone calls, similar to how services such as Skype and Zoom work. BT have called the switch from analogue to digital phone lines ‘Digital Voice’.

Why is this happening?

It is estimated that up to 40% of the population have stopped using their analogue phone line in favour of a mobile phone. The digital telephone switchover is happening due to increasing demand for faster networks and connectivity. Existing analogue networks are also becoming increasingly more difficult and costly to maintain.

When is this happening?

The digital telephone switchover will not happen overnight. The transition from analogue to digital phone lines is being phased in region by region. Some regional pilots have already taken place in 2020 and 2021 where no new analogue lines are being installed. It is planned that by December 2025 most analogue telephone lines will have been switched to digital ones.

You can contact BT directly to find out when they intend to start work in your area.

What are the benefits?

There will be no changes to how you make and receive telephone calls but there will be other benefits. For older adults who use equipment such as personal alarms, new devices will become available that use this technology to help people stay more connected and safe.

Digital and mobile technology can carry more data, which offers opportunities as more and more of us rely on the internet for communication.

How will this affect my personal alarm?

Devices such as care alarms, smoke or security alarms may currently connect to your existing analogue phone line and may not work with the new digital network.

Your service provider will be in touch to explain if you will need any upgrades to your telephone equipment.

Personal alarms that use a telephone landline may not work on the new digital system. If they do successfully connect, they will not be able to do so if there is a power cut as the digital devices rely on mains power.

This could leave personal alarm users at risk of not being able to get help in an emergency if they do not have the right equipment in place.

What options do I have?

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that your current alarm system will work once the line has been switched to digital. 

We have been advised that customers who are considered vulnerable can be excluded from the upgrade, however they should be aware that analogue lines will no longer be maintained after 2025.

If BT provide your telephone service, they will supply a BT Smart Hub for your personal alarm base unit to plug into. Other telephone providers may supply an adapter in the short term. However, these would not be a long-term solution to ensure equipment continues to work.

The best and most reliable solution is to upgrade your alarm equipment. To find out which digital device would best suit your lifestyle, please call 0800 085 7371 or browse the links below. Our Sales Advisors are available Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm.

Digital Personal Alarm Alarm

Digital Voice compatibility

We have tested all our personal alarms at the Openreach testing lab and we know which of our own products work with new Digital Voice service from BT – we cannot vouch for other alarm providers though and so this advice only applies to our products.

How is Taking Care helping customers through the transition and ensuring their safety?

Please be reassured that we have been getting ready for the switchover for some time and have been widening our range of alarms to incorporate more digital and smart solutions, wearables, and sensors, based on the needs of our customers.

We understand that the telephone switchover can seem a bit daunting for some of our customers and we want you to know that we are here to support you and to ensure your service remains uninterrupted.

We are actively working with accrediting body the TSA, manufacturers, Ofcom and telecoms providers to understand the impacts on our service users.

Our top priority is ensuring that our customers can remain safe and independent in the homes they love, throughout the digital switchover and beyond.


Where can I find out more?

Speak with your landline telephone provider or contact Ofcom or Openreach for more information:

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

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Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure