BT recently announced plans to roll out its new home phone service, Digital Voice, on a region-by-region basis. Having started in the East Midlands in July and Yorkshire and the Humber in August, BT will now move on to Northern Ireland.
An industry-wide shift from analogue to digital landlines will see BT and many other telecoms operators in the UK provide services over a broadband line, similar to work taking place in many other countries around the world.
This once-in-a-generation upgrade to future-proof the UK’s landlines is essential and will replace technology that is fast becoming obsolete. The landline isn’t going away, and for the majority of customers, making the switch simply involves plugging your phone into a broadband router instead of into a wall-mounted phone socket, bringing new benefits such as advanced spam call blocking.
Customers in Northern Ireland will be contacted at least four weeks in advance before making the switch, to ensure they are ready to move to Digital Voice. For almost all customers, Digital Voice will have no impact on how they use their home phone. They’ll still have the same service, and price plan and bills will stay the same. In addition, more than 99% of phone handsets work with Digital Voice and for those that won’t, BT has a range of handsets that customers can order.
Vicky Hicks, Senior Engagement Manager at BT, said: “BT customers in Northern Ireland will benefit from a tried and tested service, with around two million BT customers already having made the switch and benefitting from the many advantages of digital home phones from advanced scam call filtering capabilities to crystal-clear call audio.
“For almost everyone, moving to Digital Voice will be a simple and free transition with no home installation work required. If you feel you need additional support with the transition or you think you are vulnerable, please do tell us. We will be with you every step of the way.”
Initially, BT won’t be proactively switching anyone who falls under the below criteria, where it has this information available:
- Customers with a healthcare pendant
- Customers who only use landlines
- Customers with no mobile signal
- Customers who have disclosed any additional needs
BT will take extra time and will provide additional support to customers who are over 70 and are ready to make the switch.
Engaging with the people of Northern Ireland
BT’s regional approach will be supported by general awareness communications, and advertising campaigns, delivered across local and regional media to explain to customers the simple steps required to make the move to Digital Voice.
Upcoming engagement activities in Northern Ireland include:
Townhalls: BT will be present in townhalls across Northern Ireland in September to address customer questions on the ground. Customers will be able to speak to BT advisors, test Digital Voice products as well as take part in digital skills training. The first two townhalls to be confirmed are as follows:
- 19th September, 10:00 – 15:00: Girdwood Community Hub, 10 Girdwood Avenue, Belfast, Antrim BT14 6EG
- 26th September, 10:00 – 15:00: Foyle Arena, 2 Limvady Road, Derry/Londonderry, BT47 6JY
Pop-up events: BT will be hosting pop-up stands in garden centres and libraries so customers can have one-to-one conversations with BT staff. The first locations that have been confirmed are:
- 20th September:
- 10:00 – 14:00: Enniskillen Library, Halls Ln, Enniskillen BT74 7DR
- 10:00 – 14:00: Lisburn City library, 23 Linenhall St, Antrim, Lisburn BT28 1FJ
- 10:00 – 14:00: Coleraine Library, Queen St, Coleraine BT52 1BE
- 27th September:
- 10:00 – 14:00: Ballymena Central library, 5 Pat’s Brae, Ballymena, Antrim, BT43 5AX
- 10:00 – 14:00: Newry City Library, 79 Hill St, Newry BT34 1DG
- 10:00 – 14:00: Portadown Library, Church St, Portadown BT62 3LQ
Demonstration vehicle: BT will tour nine towns and cities over the course of September to ensure customers across Northern Ireland can speak to BT staff about the switch and try out the new technology for themselves. Confirmed dates and locations:
- 1st to 4th September: Belfast, Cityside Retail & Leisure Park, 100-150 York Street, BT15 1WA
- 5th and 6th September: Antrim, The Junction Retail Park, 111 Ballymena Road, BT41 4LL
- 7th and 8th September: Bangor, Bloomfield Retail Park Bangor, South Circular Road, BT19 7HB
- 9th and 10th September: Belfast, Connswater Shopping Centre, Bloomfield Avenue, A20, BT5 5LP
- 11th and 12th September: Banbridge, The Boulevard, Cascum Road Outlet Park, BT32 4LF
- 13th to 16th September: Lisburn, Sprucefield Retail Park, Hillsborough Road, BT27 5UQ
- 17th to 19th September: Omagh, Omagh Town Centre, 1 Omagh Street, Market Square, BT78 7EE
- 20th to 22nd September: Londonderry, Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre – Limavady, Lisnagelvin Road, BT47 6DF
- 23rd and 24th September: Antrim, Junction Leisure & Retail Park, 111 Ballymena Road, BT41 4LL
Full information of dates and which towns and cities will be hosting BT events will be available on the Digital Voice website: www.bt.com/digital-voice.
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.