McArthur leads discussion on landline switchover and connectivity upgrades

31 May 2024
Image of Stronsay, text: "Orkney Digital Forum - supporting island connectivity"

Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, today (Friday) hosted the latest Orkney Digital Forum at the St Magnus Centre in Kirkwall.

The primary focus of this Forum was the ‘digital switchover’ of landline services from the analogue ‘copper wire’ network to an internet-based system, offering islanders the opportunity to hear from BT on the delivery of this transition and raise questions and concerns about the plans.

Presentations were also delivered by representatives from Openreach and EE, who provided updates on the rollout of mobile and broadband internet services across the isles.

Commenting after the event, Mr McArthur said:

“It is crucial that the needs of islanders are taken into account in the transition away from the analogue landline network.

“Today’s session was helpful in allowing BT to provide more detail on their current plays, including a delay in the ‘switchover’ of vulnerable customers reliant on telecare systems until 2027. Nevertheless, questions still remain about how this will work in practice in rural and island areas where the risk of power cuts and poorer mobile coverage provide additional challenges.

“There is no doubt that further upgrades in broadband and mobile connectivity will be needed before many island customers can have confidence about any transition to a digital network. Today’s updates from Openreach and EE suggest such upgrades are planned but we now need to see these delivered on the ground right across Orkney.

“BT plan to hold public engagement events in Orkney in July. Hopefully, by that stage we will have a clearer picture of how this process is to be managed in our islands in a way that meets the needs of all island residents.”

Digital Voice presentation, May 2024
Openreach network update, May 2024
EE network update, May 2024

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