BT ‘changes the way our fixed lines work!’ Pensioners affected by huge changes in homes | Personal finance | Finance
The broadband and communications provider is currently moving away from traditional landlines as part of a huge digital shift. BT’s new digital phone will be used instead of a landline. This will have the effect of pushing households to go online ahead of the switch that will take place in 2025. Compared to a traditional landline, the phone will be powered by electricity and will require an internet connection to make calls.
BT has previously reassured customers that the rollout will be slow and that landline customers will be supported every step of the way.
When announcing the launch, the telecommunications company promised to contact customers about the change before it was implemented.
This was to keep consumers informed as soon as possible to ensure they knew how they would be affected.
Despite this, consumer experts warn pensioners across the UK are being left isolated following the ruling, as many older people rely on a traditional landline.
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Consumer watchdogs Angela Rippon, Gloria Hunniford and Julia Somerville are among those pushing for change.
Earlier today, the hosts of Rip-Off Britain addressed the unintended impact of the switch to the digital model on older households in the UK during their appearance on BBC One’s Morning Live.
Appearing on the news programme, Ms Somerville told the story of a pensioner whose health pendant stopped working after going off a landline.
She explained: “BT is completely changing the way our landlines work. They’re basically moving from an old copper wire system to a new digital internet-connected thing.
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“It’s fine if you have a good internet connection and nothing else in your life is complicated, but I went to meet the family of a man who had been diagnosed with dementia and who has one of these alarms pendant.
“It cost a lot of money, costing almost £4,000 to buy it and they’re supposed to last five years.
“But three years later BT got in touch to say this whole new system was about to happen and the pendant stopped working.”
She added: “It’s just a typical example of people suddenly feeling alarmed.
“For example, this man has lost his independence because his wife and daughter don’t like him going out alone if he doesn’t have a working pendant.
“This is just one example. We have others but I also have a message from BT since we did the filming.
“They apologized for the inconvenience and concern the upgrade has caused thus far and have decided to temporarily suspend the rollout of new digital lines until they are ‘convinced that the right products and solutions are in place “.”
In a statement on BT’s website, Marc Allera, CEO of the company’s consumer division, said: “We underestimated the disruptive impact this upgrade would have on some of our customers.
“Looking back, we went too soon, before many customers – especially those more dependent on landlines – understood why this change was needed and what they needed to do.
“We also recognize that we still have work to do to implement better backup solutions when events disrupt service, such as storms and power outages. we’re sorry.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, a BT spokesperson said: “Following recent feedback, we have taken the decision to put a major rollout of our Digital Voice program on hold.
It is clear from what some customers tell us that we underestimated the impact this technology upgrade would have on certain customer groups. We made a mistake by leaving too early, and we are sorry. We will work to restart the program once we are more confident that the right products and solutions are in place to deliver more resilient connectivity.
“Upgrading rapidly aging analogue landline telephones is a critical national industry program that brings very important and significant long-term benefits to the UK. Digitizing the future of the UK is a critical mission for the industry , and we are determined to do it right.