The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

UK landlines are going digital by 2027

Landlines in the UK are going digital, and by 2027 most calls will be made over a broadband line.

This is part of an industry-wide change to retire the old and increasingly fragile analogue technology which has supported phone and broadband services for decades.

For most customers, the switch to BT’s new home phone service, Digital Voice, will be as simple as plugging your home phone handset to a router rather than the phone socket on the wall.

Supporting customers every step of the way

Initially, BT is focusing on switching customers who are least impacted by the move to Digital Voice, including those who do not use their landlines or telecare devices. Customers who are ready to make the switch will be contacted at least four weeks in advance.  

BT is taking extra time and will provide additional support to customers who identify as vulnerable or with additional needs to ensure they are ready to move to a digital landline.

From the Autumn, BT will offer a dedicated landline service for customers who do not have broadband, allowing them to use their landline in the same way they do today until 2030 or once a digital solution becomes available. No one will be left without a working phone line.

BT is working closely with local authorities and telecare providers, to identify phone lines with telecare devices, so they can ensure the right support is in place for these customers. If you have a telecare device, care pendant or alarm connected, you’ll need to speak to your equipment provider, and also let BT know.

Keeping rural communities connected

Your Digital Voice service needs power to make calls. If there’s a power cut, customers are advised to use a mobile phone if they’re able to do so.  

If mobile is not an option, battery back-up units are available for purchase. For customers who have disclosed any additional needs, BT will provide a free battery back-up unit, on request.  

BT is also working closely with the power companies to establish processes which help them to restore power as quickly as possible.?

It’s estimated that around 1% of BT’s landline customers’ premises currently have insufficient mobile signal to make an emergency call. This number is reducing as BT continues to invest in wider rural coverage through its EE network. Working with the government under a programme called the Shared Rural Network, mobile networks will cover 95% of the UK by the mid-2020s.

Ensuring no one is left behind

BT understand that for many, particularly those with additional needs, the landline is a lifeline, and they want to be sure everyone remains connected.

They encourage any customers with any concerns or if they identify as vulnerable and haven’t told them about their circumstances to get in touch, 0330 1234 150.

For more information, visit

The Rural Services Network is part of the BT Digital Voice Advisory Group, highlighting key issues for rural communities as part of the switchover process.

The RSN is keen to ensure that all rural residents are aware of the switchover and the implications and is therefore hosting an event along with BT, aimed at Local Authority Councillors of member authorities to raise awareness of the switchover.

This session will inform Councillors, in their role as community leaders to find out about the process, how to share trusted information with their communities and allow them to ask questions about the process.

There are two sessions on 10th July.

11.00-12.00 This session is currently SOLD OUT.

13.30-14.30 This session still has places, book your place at this link. 


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