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BT set to ditch traditional phone lines, go VoIP-only by 2025

BT has announced that it’s going ahead with plans that would see its existing public switched telephone network (PSTN) shut down in favour of having all phonecalls be made over broadband using VoIP systems. 

In practical terms, the switch will necessitate the removal of the company’s existing wholesale line rental products. BT Openreach, which runs the network used by all but one of the UK’s providers, is opening a consultation next month to work out how best to handle the transition, reports The Register.

A switch to VoIP makes sense. BT will be left with one less network to maintain, allowing it to concentrate its spending on improving broadband rather than a legacy technology that’s being used by less and less people.

Of course, going VoIP-only means ensuring that every home in the country has internet fast enough to transmit voice. However, with BT’s Openreach network being as heavily regulated as it is by Ofcom, we’d hope that the plans allow time for such upgrades to be made.

One pipe to rule them all

BT isn’t the only company hoping to one day provide all its services through one (broadband) pipe. Last year, Sky announced that it would be offering a dish-free TV option at some point in 2018, meaning that its defining satellite TV service will soon be available over broadband.

So too are people increasingly using catch up services to watch live TV rather than relying on Freeview. The BBC’s iPlayer has even started to outpace traditional TV as next generation technologies like HDR are tested over the streaming service, while being more or less absent from traditional TV.

But other transmission technologies are proving much more resilient. Despite most radio stations now being streamed for free over the internet, there are still no plans to move away from traditional transmission.

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