The UK’s telecommunications regulator, Ofcom has reported on the future move to landline calls being delivered over broadband and the consequent impact on consumers.
Over the next few years it will become increasingly common for landline calls to be carried over broadband rather than the traditional telephone networks as companies continue to upgrade their technology.
And, although the changes will be led by the broadband and phone companies, Ofcom as well as other organisations will have a role to play in making sure the customer experience will be of minimal disruption and they are protected from any harm such changes may throw-up.
Many phone companies are well on their way to implementing the changes. For instance, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) has led to newer digital technology known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) which carries calls over broadband connections.
Most landline calls have been delivered over the PSTN and it has been in place for years. But over the last decade telecoms companies have built their modern internet protocol (IP) networks which can support both. And of course, customers can already choose to use VoIP for such services as Skype and Vonage.
Ofcom believes the switch has major benefits for consumers, including clearer phone calls. Ofcom also believes the transition should be relatively straightforward for most customers, but it may require additional support to help them to update their service.
Ofcom’s rules mean that phone users must receive equivalent protections, however their landline is delivered. The migration also presents an opportunity for us to think about how we regulate telephone services to meet customers’ changing expectations and needs.- Ofcom: Information for Industry
The means by which people make phone calls has changed substantially over the last decade. Increasingly consumers are using mobiles as the main method of making and receiving calls in the home. Landlines though are still prevalent with around eight in ten UK households still using a landline service.
The volume of mobile calls in the UK has gone from 132.1 billion minutes in 2012 to 151.4 billion in 2017. While landline call volumes were almost halved in the same period. Falling from 103.1 billion minutes to 53.6 billion.
But despite this decline many people still rely on the traditional landline. Believe it or not there are still some 4% of UK adults who do not own a mobile phone. While 3% of households rely only a landline, without any broadband services.