The way that landline telephones work in the UK is changing

From Local government Association:

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is being replaced by Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) by the end of December 2025

It is important that all telecoms users, including councils, and third party providers identify what services they provide to residents (particularly the vulnerable) and business using the PSTN and what changes may be required.

All councils are encouraged to contact their telecoms provider(s) or service providers as early as possible to begin to understand what changes will be required.

As well as traditional telephones, currently many devices rely on the PSTN for routing calls or services. This may include emergency phones in lifts, intruder alarms, payment machines, identifying traffic light faults, remote health monitoring devices and many more. It is possible that some of these devices will not be compatible with replacement Voice over IP connections.

Network Providers – including Openreach, KCOM and Virgin Media – are replacing legacy copper-based telephone services delivered over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) with services which rely on Voice over IP (VOIP) technology. The new services carry voice calls and data over an internet connection at the same. Unlike the legacy copper network that would operate in the event of a failure in the local electricity supply the new full fibre network relies on an electricity supply.

Support and information is available from telecoms companies. Many Communications Providers and Network Providers are offering a range of services to support migration including support for auditing existing use of PSTN technology and ‘test labs’ for trialling equipment with new VoIP lines. While this change is industry-led, Government is working with Ofcom, and the telecoms sector to identify issues and solutions, including the sharing of best practice, and identifying opportunities for communicating the change with customers and communities.

Further information and resources:

Local Government Association: https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/sector-support-offer/supporting-financial-resilience-and-economic-recovery/digital/switchover

Ofcom: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/future-of-landline-calls