BT just extended the PSTN switch-off deadline — here’s what you need to know

BT logo and branding pictured at the telecoms giant's Warrington office.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

BT has announced the PSTN switch-off date will be moved back by two years to the end of January 2027, as the firm cites a revised approach aimed at better protecting certain customers.

This new approach will take the form of a “single switch” for the majority of customers, both business and consumer, with the expectation that everyone will have transitioned off analogue services by the new date.

BT is looking to ensure that vulnerable customers are better catered to, and cites this as the reason for the change in date, which was originally set as the end of 2025.

BT just recently restarted switching zero-use landline customers to its ‘Digital Voice’ service following an industry-wide pause and an introduction of a governmental charter to “protect vulnerable customers … while making the switch from analogue to digital landlines”.

During this pause, the firm continued to raise awareness about the impending digital switchover, with focused events designed to enhance customer communication in individual regions. 

BT also spearheaded the formation of the ‘Telecare Action Board’, a collaborative effort bringing together 30 separate organizations to identify telecare users with additional needs ahead of the switch to digital.

The firm is now proactively contacting customers and offering digital landline transitions over full-fiber broadband, though with the exclusion of landline-only customers those who use telecare and those who have additional needs. 

Despite forecasted delays, BT urged customers to “engage early” with the PSTN switch, especially in circumstances where new equipment is required, or in which existing equipment may require testing. 

“Managing customer migrations from analogue to digital as quickly and smoothly as possible, while making the necessary provisions for those customers with additional needs, including telecare users, is critically important,” Howard Watson, chief security and networks officer at BT Group, said.

The PSTN switch-off has been a drawn-out process

Originally announced in 2017, the PSTN switch-off has been many years in the making and, assuming this new deadline is met, will have taken a decade to complete. 

The idea behind the switch-off was to organize a full migration away from the antiquated PSTN landline system to make sure that both businesses and consumers alike are running on speedier and more reliable digital networks. 

“The urgency for switching customers onto digital services grows by the day because the 40-year-old analogue landline technology is increasingly fragile,” Watson said.

As the deadline has approached, businesses have expressed concern about the programme, with research suggesting that 54% of businesses don’t think the switch-off has been well publicized.

George Fitzmaurice
Staff Writer

George Fitzmaurice is a staff writer at ITPro, ChannelPro, and CloudPro, with a particular interest in AI regulation, data legislation, and market development. After graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Language and Literature, he undertook an internship at the New Statesman before starting at ITPro. Outside of the office, George is both an aspiring musician and an avid reader.