BT Group has announced that it has delayed the shutdown of all copper-based phone lines across the UK until 2027, two years later than originally planned.

The telco made the announcement late last week, noting that it wanted to improve the switch-off program to "better protect vulnerable customers and those with additional needs, including telecare users."

BT Logo
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BT had initially planned to switch off its Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) network by December 2025.

According to BT, the delay will impact both business and consumer customers.

BT said that the decision to delay the switch-off aligns with its target of delivering full fiber broadband to 25 million premises by 2026. The telco confirmed last week that its subsidiary Openreach has so far reached 14 million premises.

The delay is primarily centered around concerns for telecare products used mainly by the elderly. Despite the fact systems can work over digital landlines, they are prone to outages, unlike legacy copper connectivity.

“The urgency for switching customers onto digital services grows by the day because the 40-year-old analog landline technology is increasingly fragile," said Howard Watson, chief security and networks officer, BT Group. "Managing customer migrations from analog to digital as quickly and smoothly as possible, while making the necessary provisions for those customers with additional needs, including telecare users, is critically important.

“Our priority remains doing this safely and the work we’re doing with our peers, local authorities, telecare providers, and key government organizations is key. But more needs to be done and we need all local authorities and telecare providers to share with us the phone lines where they know there’s a telecare user.”

Last year, BT and Sky agreed to stop the forced switchover onto the digital lines after a number of issues involving telecare devices were reported.

In September, BT confirmed it has stopped selling new voice copper telephone lines on its Openreach national network after more than a century.