End of an era for North Staffordshire town as old landlines to be switched off

Kidsgrove as seen from above -Credit:Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel
Kidsgrove as seen from above -Credit:Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel

Communications giant Openreach is to switch off the old landlines in one North Staffordshire town. Kidsgrove has been named in a list of 84 UK locations where the old landlines will be removed.

Cannock is the only other town on the Staffordshire list.

It comes as ageing copper wires are being replaced with new fibre cables to improve broadband speeds as part of the switch to fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology. It means instead of using old analogue wires to ring friends and family, homes will move over to VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This service should improve call quality as well as add new features such as multi-call and call diversion to any other phone number, including mobile phones.

The Kidsgrove and Cannock switches are expected in the next 12 months.

An Openreach spokesman said: "Openreach has today announced a further 84 new exchange locations where the business plans to halt the sale of traditional copper-based phone and broadband services to encourage people to upgrade to new digital services over an ultrafast full-fibre connection. We’re moving to a digital world and Openreach is helping with that transformation by rolling out ultrafast, ultra-reliable, and future-proofed digital full fibre across the UK. This game-changing technology will become the backbone of our economy for decades to come, supporting every aspect of our public services, businesses, industries and daily lives."

The switch will boost download speeds. But some homeowners are concerned about what will happen when the internet goes offline because VOIP needs the internet to work.

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “The safety of vulnerable customers comes before anything else and that’s why I have called on the industry to listen to concerns and take action to make sure the right protections are in place.”

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