The Digital Switchover – All you need to know

The Digital Switchover – All you need to know

At Red Button, we are here to provide support and reassurance to our wonderful customers in all the latest telecom updates and systems. As you read on, you will find a full explanation of what the Digital Switchover is, how it will impact you and more importantly, what you need to do next.
By 2025, big changes are coming and analogue telephone services (PSTN) will be switched off as the UK’s telecoms infrastructure is upgraded to digital connectivity.
This will impact everyone who currently plugs their phones and alarm systems into a socket in the wall rather than into your broadband hub. So if you need further support or guidance on this, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team to provide peace of mind.

The Digital Switchover explained

Essentially, this Digital Switchover means that our national telephone network is going digital. In 2017, BT announced that Openreach will be switching off the analogue telephone network by 2025 and replacing it with a fully digital network. In simple terms, all calls will be made using the internet, more specifically, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology.

This shift has significant implications for those in the technology-enabled care (TEC) sector (i.e. Red Button) and the millions of people who rely on telecare in the UK (i.e. our customers) – this may be you, your partner, your parents or other loved ones. 

The change, whilst impactful, isn’t surprising. Public switched telephone network (PSTN) has been a huge part of our society for decades; however, with the continued developments in telecom technology, particularly within the last couple of years with Zoom, smartphones etc., this is now officially being turned off.

What and who the Digital Switchover affects

In truth, everyone who uses a traditional landline telephone will be affected by this change. In order to make calls on a home phone, you will need to have a phone that plugs into your broadband hub instead of the socket on the wall.

People moving house or getting new home phone lines will also be affected. In 2021, BT stopped offering analogue lines to new customers. 

But this doesn’t just affect how you call and communicate with people over the phone. 

Lifeline alarm users with equipment plugging into a master telephone socket on the wall will be affected. With this Switchover, the equipment will need to be plugged into your smart hub or broadband router instead. Your internet provider should provide any analogue to digital connectors.

When you will be upgraded 

Now is the time to move away from PSTN and embrace the boundless possibilities of digital. Although it may seem scary for some, this will offer many benefits in the future and we are on hand to guide and advise, providing peace of mind for all. 

In fact, the transition has begun already, with many telecom exchanges having converted over to fully digital. 

This impact of this Digital Switchover has started to affect functionality and connectivity and will even more in 2023 when BT no longer sell analogue devices. 

As a matter of fact, action and careful planning need to begin now so that the reliability and safety of telecare and social alarm services are not compromised. Many in the sector have already started the process or completed it. Red Button are fully trained and knowledgeable about this big change and how it impacts our customers.

The deadline is 2025, as Openreach aims to finish the upgrade of all lines by then. To ensure a smooth transition, we know that BT will be upgrading their landline customers using a phased approach as and when the digital service becomes available in your local area. They will be in touch to let you know exactly when your switchover day is.

If you are with a different service provider, such as Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin, you can expect to hear from them directly to let you know when your switchover will happen.

All providers are now taking the opportunity to upgrade their customers, when possible, during service visits as well – so please be sure to check with your provider if you have had any fault/service visits from Summer 2021 onwards, if they have already upgraded your line.

What do I need to do now

If you have not yet received a letter from your telephone provider with a date for your switchover, there is no need for you to do anything at the moment. Just keep the link to this page handy for when you hear from them; we can be on hand to help when the time comes.


If you are a Red Button customer, please wait until you receive a date for your switchover from your phone service provider. Once you have received your switchover date, get in touch as quickly as possible and let us know.

We will then be able to identify your account easily – all we will ask for is the name of the service user and your postcode. Customers of other lifeline services (i.e. not Red Button Telecare) should contact their lifeline service provider.

If you have had a telephone fault visit recently or have been visited by your phone supplier, maybe to have broadband installed etc., they may have taken the opportunity to upgrade your phone line as well. 

They should have explained this to you at the time, but in these instances, it is worth getting in touch with us to allow us to check that your service has not been interrupted.

Most monitoring centres have given the major phone providers a list of their programmed numbers (i.e. the number your lifeline unit/Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) calls when an alarm is raised). This allows phone line providers to check their connections to see who has called these numbers, putting them on a ‘priority list’ as Telecare/TECS users. These number checks will be done regularly by major phone providers, which is also why it is important to ‘test’ your telecare regularly.

Testing is becoming ever more required now, as in addition to ensuring your system is working optimally, it now acts as a means for major phone providers to track who uses their lines to contact Telecare/TECS monitoring centres and prioritise how they approach the Digital Switchover to best suit that customer.

As a Red Button customer, we advise that you test your service once a month to ensure it is working effectively by pushing the alarm on whatever wearable you have – the monitoring centre will answer, and you can just tell them you are “testing the system”. Don’t ever worry about speaking to a member of the team, they will be happy to receive this call and will mark it down as a test. It is suggested you do this whilst near the lifeline unit to ensure you can hear them clearly.

You can upgrade to a fully digital solution at any time. 

If you do not have internet present in your home, for a more robust TECS service, we do advise you to get it installed. However, we do also supply a GSM only digital solution, which does not require broadband or a phone line within the home and runs off the 4G Mobile network. Contact us

specifically for this.  The ideal solution is that you have broadband installed in your home. If you already have broadband installed, there is good chance the router will already be digitally capable – if you are unsure, however, then contact your provider to check.

GSM only digital TECS – This digital lifeline unit only uses the GSM 4G network to communicate and therefore doesn’t have any additional redundancy. This will, for the vast majority of the time, be perfectly adequate, however, if the mobile signal is unreliable or intermittent in your home, you could find the lifeline unit struggles to communicate clearly and/or at all with the monitoring centre in those instances. As with the fully digital TECS it can be unaffected by short-term power cuts.

Fully digital TECS – This Lifeline unit will connect to your home broadband and/or Wifi and has a GSM 4G sim in it as well. This means that the lifeline unit will switch between the two connection methods, whether the internet signal is interrupted or the mobile (GSM 4G) signal is interrupted. This gives this particular unit more redundancy if/when encountering signalling issues. 

Additionally, if there is a short-term power cut within your home, due to the connection to the GSM 4G network, the lifeline unit’s battery backup will keep the connection to the monitoring centre (if there is a power-cut your broadband router will not work and therefore neither will your home internet).

Both options are available from Red Button, so get in touch to properly future-proof you and your TECS, by speaking to one of our team.

Your analogue lifeline unit should work seamlessly with a digital connector to your broadband router. However, there are a couple of situations to be aware of: 

1) If the broadband signal is lost, or you have a fault with your internet or router, this will halt the connection of your lifeline unit to the monitoring centre, until that signal/fault is restored or rectified.

2) If you have a power-cut at home, the internet and router will go offline. Although the analogue lifeline unit has battery backup, your router will not and therefore, the connection to the monitoring centre will be paused until this is restored.

To be clear, these are normally rare events but never the less something to be mindful of. With a Digital GSM or a Fully Digital solution, power cuts and broadband internet issues pose almost no threat at all.

At Red Button, we pride ourselves on both keeping up with the current trends and increasing our knowledge levels to advise better and guide our customers. If you would like to contact us about the Digital switchover, please call us on 0800 0086277 (office hours) or email us at You can find all our contact details here.

If you have any other questions regarding the Digital Switchover feel free to email us at or call our team on 0800 0086277.
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