BT prepares to roll out new home phone service, Digital Voice, across Northern Ireland

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BT is making plans for the rollout of its new digital home phone service in Northern Ireland with a series of information events to make the public aware of the changes ahead.

BT recently announced plans to introduce 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.

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BT says this once-in-a-generation upgrade to future-proof the UK’s landlines is “essential and will replace technology that is fast becoming obsolete”.

BT is getting ready to roll out its new home phone service, Digital Voice, across Northern Ireland. Picture: BTBT is getting ready to roll out its new home phone service, Digital Voice, across Northern Ireland. Picture: BT
BT is getting ready to roll out its new home phone service, Digital Voice, across Northern Ireland. Picture: BT

"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,” a statement from BT explained.

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 per cent 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.

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"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 says it will take extra time and will provide additional support to customers who are over the age of 70 and are ready to make the switch.

A variety of general awareness communications and advertising campaigns has been drawn up to explain to Northern Ireland customers the simple steps required to make the move to Digital Voice.

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These include ‘townhall’ events 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 will be:

  • September 19, 10am – 3pm: Girdwood Community Hub, 10 Girdwood Avenue, Belfast.
  • September 26, 10am – 3pm: Foyle Arena, 2 Limavady Road, Derry / Londonderry.

There will also be 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:

September 20:

  • 10am – 2pm: Enniskillen Library, Halls Ln, Enniskillen
  • 10am – 2pm: Lisburn City Library, 23 Linenhall St, Lisburn
  • 10am – 2pm: Coleraine Library, Queen St, Coleraine

September 27:

  • 10am – 2pm: Ballymena Central Library, 5 Pat's Brae, Ballymena
  • 10am – 2pm: Newry City Library, 79 Hill St, Newry
  • 10am – 2pm: Portadown Library, Church St, Portadown

BT will tour nine towns and cities in a demonstration vehicle 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. These include:

  • September 11 and 12: Banbridge, The Boulevard.
  • September 13 to 16: Sprucefield Retail Park, Lisburn.
  • September 17 to 19: Omagh town centre.
  • September 20 to 22: Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre, Lisnagelvin Road. Derry / Londonderry.
  • September 23 and 24: Junction Leisure & Retail Park, Antrim.

Full information of dates and which towns and cities will be hosting BT events will be available on the Digital Voice website: