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BT Digital


The Guildford area is due for the switch over in the next 2-3 months. We will get a letter 30 days beforehand, or possibly email if that’s how they communicate with you. Everyone will have the right to opt out of the switch over but this lasts only 12-18 months. After 18 months you will have to be switched over. The vulnerable will always be at the last to be switched if that’s what they want.

Under circumstances where the household has mobile phones and mobile coverage the switch over is relatively straightforward. A new router is likely to be sent out unless you have the latest one which is digital voice compatible. If your phone is close to the router then it will plug directly into the router, if it isn’t close by then a digital voice adaptor is needed to pair with the router. All equipment that goes via the router will need to have its password changed so it will continue to work.

If you have no mobile but do have signal then BT can supply a (large) push button phone with a built in aerial for use in the event of a power outage. This phone costs either £80 or is free for vulnerable households/subscribers. In any event some handsets may not be compatible with digital and will need to be changed for compatible ones.

If you have a router but there is no mobile coverage then BT can supply a battery pack that remains connected to your router and electricity and only needed if the power goes. It has 8 hours charge on standby and only 1 hour usage. Again this is £80 but free to vulnerable households.

If you have neither a router or a mobile phone BT have a device that can be plugged in that acts like a router but does not give internet etc. This is about 6-8 inches square the advisor said, but admitted BT do not as yet have a decent solution to the no router, no mobile, no signal situation.

The answer service will then become 1571 but If you have an answerphone as part of your phone you can have the service switched over from 1571 to your own machine, but it does need a call to Customer Services. (0800 023 2023, Option 1) if you’re lucky to get through! Or if you have a PIN code set up with BT then ring 1571 and select Option 2 to turn off their service and use your own machine.

It seems as if the onus is on the customer to contact BT to let them know about being vulnerable, opting out, lack of mobile or mobile signal, no router which is not very satisfactory.

Being vulnerable the advisor told me he thought was:

Mobility issues


Mental Health problems

Over 80

However he wasn’t sure and this has to be gone through with the customer services. If in doubt about anything contact their Customer Services.

Re alarms (burglar or health) connected by phone to the provider, the advisor said that all the providers have been notified of the change to digital and he said they should not charge for switching but some do, so it’s worth arguing the toss if you are affected.

I was also told of a charity (AbilityNet)thar’s working in partnership with BT to assist ‘older and digitally excluded people’ (their words) get set up.


The advisor said you ring someone emails them and they should send someone out to help you get set up or connected.

AbilityNet: 0800 048 7642 during office hours or email

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