BT suspends plans to switch off analogue landlines in Hampshire – and apologizes for worrying vulnerable customers

BT has announced that it will no longer turn off analogue landlines.

The telecoms provider announced earlier this year plans to switch all landlines to digital, with the Hampshire rollout to be completed by 2025.

He said ‘digital’ phones would replace traditional landlines, but despite campaigners’ concerns, saying the plan would cause ‘unnecessary’ worries for thousands of the most vulnerable customers.

However, the company has now backtracked and said it is putting its plans on hold.

A BT spokesperson said: “Following recent feedback, we have made the decision to put the 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 were wrong by leaving too early, and we are sorry for that.

READ MORE: BT under fire over plans to switch all Hampshire landlines to digital by 2025

“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.

The move has been welcomed by the Country Land and Business Association, which represents thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses in Hampshire and the south.

However, the association warned that many rural communities in the region still suffer from a connectivity gap.

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Regional manager Tim Bamford said: “We are delighted that BT has heeded our calls to abandon plans to remove traditional fixed lines from homes and businesses.

“With many areas still struggling to receive basic mobile and internet connectivity, landlines continue to be a lifeline for many people in isolated communities.

“The answer to that is simple. If BT wants to phase out landlines in the long term, it needs to ensure that every part of the country is fully connected.

“Unfortunately, this aspiration seems a long way off for many rural communities. We call on BT to redouble its efforts to ensure comprehensive nationwide coverage, so that the social and economic benefits of modern technology can be felt in every village and every home.

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