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Why some older people may need to prepare for Digital Switchover

Published on 19 May 2022 10:25 AM

Changes to our landline telephones taking place across Wales  

Between now and December 2025 the UK’s telephone network is being upgraded, so the technology we currently use to make landline calls, called ‘analogue’, is being replaced with an internet-based system, called a Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP for short.  

Many of the services that lots of older people use via their landline such as telecare, personal alarms, burglar alarms and fax machines may be affected by the change. However, if people’s devices are relatively modern, they should still work fine but older ones may need to be reconfigured or replaced. Very old handsets may also need to be changed.  However, your phone provider will be able to provide advice on all these matters.   

For many people, the change will be as simple as plugging a phone into the provider’s router to link into their system. And in most cases, people will still be able to keep their existing numbers. 

However, if there’s a power cut people may lose access to some of their services. Therefore, speak to your current provider to make sure you have a suitable back up in place such as a mobile phone, a battery back-up, or some other solution.    

Be scam aware   

The digital switchover will be free of charge, and no one should ask you for any payments. If they do, please report them to the Police using 101 and to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. If your bank account was used in a scam, contact your bank as soon as possible.     

If somebody tries to sell you equipment or get you to sign up to expensive contracts as part of Digital Switchover, don’t rush into any decisions, seek a second opinion, and speak to your phone company who will be able to advise you about what you need.  

Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd says: “Digital Switchover should be a simple process in most cases. But I would advise older people to contact their telephone provider if they run services off their landline or are worried about any aspect of the switchover. And of course, I would urge older people to be wary of potential scammers who may try to trick you into paying them a fee.  Remember that the actual switchover is completely free of charge.”   

Carmarthenshire pensioner Sandra Llewelyn says: "I recently had a VoIP phone system installed. It is just a different technology and nothing scary. The process was very simple. I called them, agreed a package and then we arranged a date for the work to be done. 

“There was a period of about four weeks between agreeing to change and when the work would take place. I was updated at every stage with details such as delivery dates for the new equipment and what work needed to be done and when.  

“On the day of the installation the engineer installed a new junction box outside then installed the equipment inside and that was that - it took no more than an hour.”  

For more information    

Your current phone provider should be in touch with you to let you know when your services are due to change and what, if anything, you need to do. You can always contact them too, at any time, using the customer service details on correspondence such as your bill.   You may also visit Age Cymru’s website:  www.agecymru.org.uk/digital-switchover or call Age Cymru Advice on 0300 303 44 98.

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