The digital switch refers to the ongoing changes to the UK telecoms network and the end of analogue (PSTN and ISDN) telephone services, and the transition to fibre optic lines. This means key safety devices currently running on analogue lines will no longer be supported, including lift emergency phones.
The vast majority of the lift emergency telephones installed in the UK are analogue, so they require DTMF tones to function correctly. Fibre lines will not transmit these specific frequency tones and they also do not carry power, so during a power-cut the telephone line will fail and leave the emergency telephone useless.
The Full Fibre exchange has already been completed in 142 locations, meaning that building owners and managers need to take action now, rather than later, according to Avire. Areas within Liverpool, Leeds, London and Birmingham are among the 142 locations that have already switched to digital.
Another 366 locations are earmarked between 2021 and 2024 to switch, 380 locations between 2022 and 2025, while 1,828 location exchanges will occur between 2021 and 2026.
To help building owners and managers prepare in advance, Avire has created a map of the UK to highlight the areas that are earmarked for the digital switch.
Avire has also written a step-by-step guide (see link below), detailing how building owners need to prepare and what they need to do to ensure the building’s technology operates smoothly.
It suggests that owners consider replacing such safety telephones using mobile network technology with devices that have built-in battery back up.