What’s Happening? Who Am I?

I’m an independent telephone engineer based in North-East England, blogger of some experience  However, I have no crafty intent to try and sell anything.  Recently, some of my customers have asked questions about Digital Voice.  I thought folks would appreciate an attempt to make  things simple

What’s Happening? After over 100 years of service, the technology running land-lines is changing.  Customers will still have a landline, their old number, and the ability to have multiple phones in their house. However, the way it is delivered will change.  Therefore, there will be a few issues to be aware of. That’s it. 

Deliver Us From Jargon

Frequently, I dislike the industry I work it.  It makes the simple very complicated, and then confuses matters further by using terms like, (ISDN, PSTN, CLI, DDI, etc., etc).  Therefore, in this Digital Voice FAQ, I’ve made sure that we avoid these at all possible.,  Here’s some common ones:-

PSTN. “Public Switched Telephone Network”. The old stuff – the classic telephone network that has served the public since the late 19th century.  Voltage running over a pair of wires, with transmitter/receivers at both ends (analogue telephones).

“Digital Voice”. (Actually a BT brand name, but used broadly for other operators). It is replacing PSTN, and is delivered via digital signals, then adapted at your premises to work on old-style phones. Therefore, digital replaces analogue, and nothing much changes. (well, sort of…)

“VOIP” – Voice over internet protocol – The technology that allows voice calls (good ole fashioned telephone calls) to be carried over your internet (“broadband”) line. It’s what’s replacing your analogue service.

Still with me?   Good!   Here’s some Digital Voice FAQ

No More Landlines After  2025?

Incorrect!   You will have a landline. However, it will simply be delivered by a different means than before.

Why Change Things?

There is a cost to maintaining ageing traditional telephone equipment.  With the rise of mobiles, Skype, Zoom, Teams, etc., traditional telephones are used less and less.  Remarkably, some of my customers don’t know their own telephone number. They never give it out as no-one uses.it.

Do I Get a New Connection To My House?

Probably not.  Your broadband service might still arrive via the pair of copper wires that once carried your telephone calls. However, they won’t be able to carry traditional phone calls, though. Why not? The stuff that used to make that happen is no longer connected at “the other (“telephone exchange”) end”.  Meanwhile, at your end, your provider will supply a new box (router/hub) to use which will decode your telephone calls and allow you to plug in your previous phone.  It will also provide Wi-Fi, internet, and perhaps a built-in cordless phone transmitter. You have to do very little.

What Happens If the Power Goes Off?

Good point.  Your broadband service stops working. Therefore your phone service does too. This is the biggest weakness of this new service.  My customers can’t believe this when I tell them. Battery back-up devices can be employed which will keep the service up for a limited time.

What About Fibre?

Your provider might supply a fibre-optic service to your house.  Yippee!  A new, high-speed connection. This will give you very fast internet. This is not to be confused with a service which relies on your old-style copper cable coming into the house, but uses fibre for part of its journey. Read more here.

Will My Extension Phone Still Work?

Yes it will.  A socket on your new “box” will allow you, via means of an easily obtained cable, connect your old extension phones to the new service. There is much on the internet about this. You may need an independent engineer to help if your set-up is unusual.

My Master Socket is Redundant.

Only if you have fibre to your house.  If not, then it remains the demarcation point for your supplier’s service, arriving via a copper cable. It’s not redundant. However, there are no signs of life, like a dial tone. More about master sockets here.

I’ve Heard That Some Devices Won’t Work.

Carecall devices, intruder alarms.  Fax machines. Analogue modems.  Whoever provides these services will help.  This switch-over to Digital Voice has been over five years in coming, so they should not be surprised!  Warning – don’t let sharp salespersons bamboozle you into buying expensive new equipment using the “threat” of disconnection.  More in an earlier blog here.

What Do I Need To Do?

Very little – your provider should be in touch to let you know about the change, and send any new equipment required.

Help!  I Think I need an Independent Engineer!

There are plenty available across the U.K. Drop me a line with your postcode, and I may be able to find one.

More reading

An excellent article by “Which” Magazine

Readable technical information from the legendary Bob Freshwater.