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04 Dec 2023

Industry launches national campaign in Westminster as UK faces places unprecedented risks on vulnerable citizens

Fit to Switch Stand: A74

Vulnerable people and those living in rural areas without adequate mobile network coverage face life threatening unnecessary risks when BT switches off the old copper telephone network, according to the Fit To Switch campaign.

Power supplies are at risk during storms & energy blackouts – and with them, individuals’ ability to call relatives and emergency services. Existing copper telephone lines carry their own power and can be relied upon to work during power loss & severe weather.

Recent storms have already highlighted the lack of emergency power supplies for all-IP telephone handsets.


Before the analogue TV switch-off in 2012, there was a national awareness campaign but, the comms industry says, BT and the regulator Ofcom have failed to warn companies and consumers who rely on the copper network for landlines and non-fibre internet services. Business back-up systems like emergency health care lines, burglar alarms, payment machines and emergency call-services in lifts are especially at risk, as they often depend directly on the copper network for both connectivity AND electrical power. Currently over ten million homes do not have access to a fibre internet service!

Telecoms industry analyst, and Fit To Switch Co-Founder, Adrian Barnard said: “This is a massive failure by BT Openreach and the regulator Ofcom. They need to act now. The decision to switch off the UK’s ageing telephone infrastructure means it will be up to businesses and consumers to ensure they have an alternative, such as fibre. But the vast majority of people don’t even know about it.”

The campaign is calling on BT Openreach to pause the switch-off programme and back the Fit to Switch campaign to raise awareness of this vital issue.


Fit to Switch is funded entirely by the UK’s independent telecommunications providers.

The Co-Founders of Fit to Switch are:

• Adrian Barnard, telecoms industry analyst. Adrian has founded, run and sold several telecoms businesses and appears regularly on national radio and TV discussing technology and telecommunications stories

• Chris Pateman, former Chief Executive of the Federation of Communications Services

• Mat Swift, publisher of Comms Business, the leading media brand covering the UK’s ICT Channel

Contact: Adrian Barnard

Tel: 07714 675397


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