Berwick MP to meet Openreach after Northumberland residents raise digital switch concerns

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has secured a meeting with Openreach over their plans to switch from analogue to digital, following concerns raised in the wake of Storm Arwen.

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

Openreach plans to switch all “analogue” landlines to a digital system by 2025.

The “analogue” or PTSN (Public Switched Telephone Network) phones are able to work even if power is lost, as the exchange is capable of delivering back-up power down the line. This means even if power is lost, the homeowner is able to call for help if they need it.

In the wake of Storm Arwen, some rural dwellers who have already been switched to the new digital system, contacted Ms Trevelyan to explain how it had affected them.

“I have received a number of emails from people worried about this switch, including some who are already on the new digital system,” said Ms Trevelyan. “One gentleman was entirely cut off after his mobile phone battery ran out, leaving him unable to contact relatives or the power company.

“I am keen to discuss these concerns with Openreach to ensure their system changes do not leave our rural communities behind.”

The MP will be meeting Openreach in the first week of January to discuss her concerns.

Whittingham residents Liz and Alistair Anderson say they have received assurances from BT that their move to the digital service will be delayed until a better solution is in place for people that have little to poor mobile coverage.

“There are many people like ourselves living and working in rural Northumberland with poor mobile phone reception who need the landline in emergencies,” they said.

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