Openreach launches ‘Call Waiting List’ to keep businesses informed on national digital upgrade project


Businesses in the UK are being asked to consider the implications of a nationwide project which will see millions of phone lines upgraded from analogue technology to new digital-based services. The company behind the upgrades, Openreach, is launching a national campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the process, and it’s recommending organisations join its ‘Call Waiting List’ to stay informed about what’s entailed.

By December 2025, the analogue phone network will have reached the end of its life, and Openreach has built new, digital services which it expects to have taken over. That means over the next five years, more than 14 million traditional lines across the UK will be migrated onto new digital services. While this will mean an upgrade for traditional landlines, it will also see many other systems which are dependent on phone lines impacted, such as alarms, lifts, and other technology.

To retire the analogue phone network by the end of 2025 an average of 50,000 analogue lines will need to be upgraded to digital each and every week. The ‘Call Waiting List’ will provide the latest information, guidance and advice for businesses of different sizes, in different sectors and with different needs to help them make informed decisions about upgrading. This is particularly important for vital CNI (critical national infrastructure) organisations, to make sure the upgrade can be completed smoothly, and with minimal disruption for the wider public.

James Lilley, Director Managed Migrations at Openreach said: “This is an important early step in upgrading the UK. We know businesses are time-poor and the choice to upgrade may sit at the end of a long-list of other priorities that will seem more pressing. By launching the Call Waiting List we hope to help those businesses plan their upgrades effectively, with regular updates about our activities and the potential implications on their operations, as well as guidance and examples of how they can make the transition a smooth one.

“We’re also working closely with service providers to make sure any changes happen as smoothly as possible. This upgrade will ultimately provide the nation with faster and more reliable services; so we encourage all businesses in the UK to take steps now to understand what they’ll need to do.”

Matthew Evans, Director of Markets at techUK, said: “I encourage all organisations, particularly those in the CNI sectors or those that depend on services provided over analogue lines, to sign up to the Call Waiting List newsletter. The upgrade to digital services will bring us into the 21st Century as well as being a key stepping-stone on the path to full fibre. Whilst 2025 seems a long way off, it is essential that businesses and organisation start to take action today – and the best first step is to sign up to the newsletter to stay engaged in the migration and find out more about the action you need to take”.

Across the UK, Openreach looks after 192 million kilometres of network cable, 110,000 green cabinets, and 4.9 million telephone poles and junction boxes.

In a typical year, more than 9.9 million engineering jobs are carried out by the company’s 35,000 engineers, many of them in extremely remote and rural locations.

The company has also launched a new dedicated area of its website focused on the digital upgrade.