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Migrate landline to digital

candlerb

Top Member
Yep but you never know it could make a comeback (resilience etc).
For several years ONTs have been supplied without FVA ports, and Openreach wants to exit the business of wholesale fixed line telephony. So IMO it's extremely unlikely that FVA will make a comeback.

There would be hardly any benefit anyway. It's the difference between one device needing to being powered from a 12V battery backup, versus two.
 

Tony Gamble

Pro Member
Meatball. A couple of days ago you said "If you are not going to use the BT functionality then perhaps BT may not be the best ISP for you."

Every day I feel more certain you are right. I still cannot get the Sales Rep from BT Business to write me an email explaining what they will be doing, in my apartment, when they decide to move me to VOIP. I have his email address but he will not reply to my emails. I would be daft to sign a two year contract with this lack of information in writing.

I have done lots of reading since my original post here and I find lots of good reports about Andrews and Arnold. I sent them the details of what I have, and what I think I need, yesterday. I got two short replies but got the impression that they had not taken the time to read my email carefully.

For example one of their folk said "If the landline is with us, it's only to bring the broadband signal in on. Our landlines do not have the facility to make or receive calls."

Considering I had told them I wanted to retain my 020.... phone number to continue to hear from friends who used it I did not find that particularly helpful.

We are now into the Easter Break so nothing is going to happen until Tuesday. Andrews and Arnold are secretive about their email addresses. Trustpilot is full of praise for someone called Michael. Does anyone hear know anyone at A&A with whom I could re-open my chat?

Tony
 

Meatball

ULTIMATE Member
My apologies. I did not realise you were dealing with BT Business and not BT Consumer (Residential). They have different processes and drivers, Whilst technically they utilise the same BT VoIP infrastructure they are both aimed and different. Your reference to "friends" incoming leads me to think you just need incoming calls to you current geographical number to continue with really no other business services.

What is driving the change? Technical or Sales bonus?. BT Business will be driving to sell you not just a Voice Service (VoIP) but in conjunction other business services and equipment. Whereas BT Consumer would be simply trying to manage the migration of up to 9m subscribers without losing revenue (Digital Voice landline replacement) by 2025.

It would appear to me that you are being encouraged by BT Business to move to VoIP facilities and additional equipment you do not need whilst still being on a broadband product over your copper telephone line. So there may be no technical reason for this change.

You have a right to port your existing number to another provider but your broadband service will cease at the same time if you do so you need to ensure its in the correct order if the broadband provider and the voice provider are not the same.

Any exact advice will depend on more detail and your exact location (feel free to directly message me). Including any other dependencies such as email addresses.

Currently from what I think I know I would:
  • Consider changing to consumer products if the landline line really is to maintain old contacts. All business related products from suppliers will seek to include complexity you may not need.
  • If you are not in a Full Fibre area and are to remain on a copper line for your broadband then you can simply go for a consumer supplier that will continue to use the copper line for voice until forced to by a FTTP migration.
  • Alternatively (now or future)
    • Arrange a new broadband service with another ISP (initially in parallel)
    • Migrate (Port) your number to a VoIP provider (UK) that simply provides a pre-configured ATA (no DECT, No Handsets) and a very low cost service if used for incoming only so you can use your existing equipment.
      Or move to a Provider that can provide both broadband and a router providing a phone socket and a marginal cost for VOIP without a call plan. (e.g Sky £nil/m for PAYG calls).
    • Cease existing broadband service
    • Remember VoIP requires all network equipment and handsets to be powered to work.
 
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Tony Gamble

Pro Member
I will offer an update, hopefully soon, as, with Meatball's help, I feel I have found a solution.

After a considerable amount of reading and talking!

One thing that has become clear is the realization of the suppliers that they can now detach themselves from what happens once they have imported a signal to a router. So all the bells, extensions and gizmos installed in the past by The Post Office (as it was pre BT) are no longer their responsibility.

Meatball and others pointed me to VRI and companies like A&A were showing it on their web sites. This is what one of the Sky forums is now saying.

"As I mentioned, ISPs/telcos have apparently decided against offering VRI to subscribers: if I had to guess then I suspect they're very happy to disclaim any responsibility for domestic extensions going forward, as these have always been a source of support complications. You'll find various DIY suggestions online, but as they inevitably involve messing with the Openreach master socket, these should be approached with caution."

The people I am currently talking to you did offer advice on it a few years ago - but not now.

My guess is that as the country is forced into VOIP there will be engineers offering to do VRI as, for many people it is the simplest way forward - but at the moment you can forget an OR engineer doing it for you as far as I can tell at the moment.

Tony
 

Johnmcl7

Regular Member
That's me finally fully changed over to Sipgate Basic with the BT 8500's running from the Grandstream 801 and the number has been successfully ported with the BT line ceased.

I did make an error and phone to cancel the service with bt first but found it's all done through the porting company which was handled fine. When I explained to bt why I was leaving (rubbish fttc service, altnet fttp and no bt fttp) I was amused at being told how rubbish the altnets are and are so bad can ruin your neighbour's garden as well as your own. He reminded me bt fttp was coming even though they've not even started the work and likely won't be here for years. Good to see bt have trained their staff well on how to deal with altnets.

Thanks for all the help here to get it up and running which has been quite a bit of hassle and cost but it's great to now be able to keep the landline number with no line rental.
 

Pheasant

ULTIMATE Member
They’ll probably be hot-desking for the AltNet helpdesk 1st line next month, and telling those folks how wonderful their network is compared to BT….🤣
 

Tony Gamble

Pro Member
I said at the end of April I would post an update. Here it is three weeks on.

I have two Panasonic DECT hubs. One in use and one spare. I like the model I bought as it also connects to our two mobile phones.

My concern was how my installed one would work when I was obliged to give up my copper landline and move to Voip.

I found a Grandstream 801 on eBay for £40 which I felt was a good price. The plus about the one I bought was that it was pre-configured to link with Premitel who were offering a free trial month's worth of phone calls. After that they will charge about six pounds a month for a basic UK service. Naturally they charge a bit more when one dials overseas.

The Grandstream arrived. I plugged it into a Devolo homeplug device feeding broadband. I then connected my spare DECT hub.

It worked. Outgoing and incoming calls. That means then when I am obliged to migrate my existing landline number to Voip the Panny DECT will accomodate it.

I can now effectively put the Grandstream back on in its box and wait for the fateful day when Voip becomes compulsory. For six pounds a month I am tempted to sign up with Premitel though what I will do with that number I am not sure.

Now I am out of contract for my BT broadband it is way over priced. I will review alternatives in the light of the money saved against the hassle of porting the old landline number to a SIP provider and the risk of something going wrong.
 

Pheasant

ULTIMATE Member
The plus about the one I bought was that it was pre-configured to link with Premitel who were offering a free trial month's worth of phone calls. After that they will charge about six pounds a month for a basic UK service. Naturally they charge a bit more when one dials overseas.
Don't fall for that old trick Tony.

There's very decent providers like Sipgate (Basic) that will give you a landline number of your choosing with no one-off or ongoing monthly fee. Setup a few quid in credit for outbound calls or buy a modest call bundle if your spend hours and hours making calls. You can port-in your existing landline number to them for around £30 one-off, takes around 7 to 10 days to effect.
 

Tony Gamble

Pro Member
Good advice Pheasant.

However, as people will have realized reading my posts I am a novice in this area of technology. I am paranoid about losing the landline number we have had for thirty plus years - or losing my broadband and ability to send and receive emails for more than a day.

All in all, unless for example one is paying tons of money for a satellite service that is no better than Freesat, telecoms are pretty inexpensive these days.

I'm old enough when 'waiting in for a long distance call' was part of life if you had relatives in Australia. Now it is a WhatsApp freebie!

So far I have had conversations (yes verbal not email) with BT Business (local), BT Business (proper), A&A, The VoipShop and Premitel. The level of confidence that they would help me sort out a problem was dramatically different. I am not saying SipGate would not - but I'd want to be sure before I moved to them.

Six pounds a month is, spread over a year, around what I pay to go out with my wife for a local curry. What I am paying over the odds for my BT Broadband is, over a year, the cost of two reasonable theatre tickets. I am not mega rich but security and confidence that I am in the right hands is what prioritises my decisions.

Another poster has kindly shared private emails with me and that sort of help is most appreciated. By contrast some of the emails sent by my initial point of contact, BT Business Local, would make you gurus weep.

But thanks again Pheasant.
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
My transfer to Sipgate was uneventful, loaded the account with £10 and 3 years later its at £9.84. On the same day of the transfer my ADSL was ceased but I had 4g up and running for some months previously. I can now change data provider as often as I want and not issues with the old landline number. Sipgate are based in Germany and not going anywhere.
 

Tony Gamble

Pro Member
A positive tale then K828.

You transferred your landline to SipGate I assume? Presumably that just takes incoming calls and you make all your outgoing on your mobile phone?

Tell me about 4g broadband. Who supplied it? Is it reasonably fast?

EDIT. As an experiment I used my phone to run SpeedTest on the broadband from my BT line and then on 4g o2. The download and upload speeds were about half from o2. Maybe BT is much more than I need?

Yes, I could Google but I do place value on first hand recommendations as you can tell.
 
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kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
I run a custom setup, I have a dual Wan Draytek 2925 router which takes two isp connections and using load balancing makes them appear as one connection to any users. Not as good as bonding but to a household no discernible difference.
As the 2 ISP's I started off with 3G Three on a phone plus ADSL, then went local area wifi with ADSL, then 4G router with ADSL, did the VOIP transfer and finally two 4G routers. These point at 2 different masts and two providers so if there is a powercut to one mast I still get one. As the masts are 5 miles apart then the powercut would be over a large area before I was cut off completely.

Tell me about 4g broadband. Who supplied it? Is it reasonably fast?

The 4g routers have been a B525, B715 and a B818. All work and give much the same downloads. From Three and EE combined I get 150mg down and 50mb up. Three are cheap but variable, EE are expensive but consistent I buy the router separately and sims are sim only contracts. All a bit geeky but the screams & howls when the ADSL wet string went down were loud and frequent ;) . FTTP is on its way to replace Three, will keep EE for a few months and once the FTTP is confirmed as working will drop that also.

You transferred your landline to SipGate I assume?

Yes, filled in a form, emailed it and paid £20

Presumably that just takes incoming calls and you make all your outgoing on your mobile phone?

Yes. plus one of the 4G routers is VoLTE enabled so with Three I can make calls with a handset plugged into the router (B715) and use the call allowance on that sim card.

With Sipgate I get emails of all incoming call details and if voicemail is left a sound file with the recording for playback. Never answer the landline as all the info comes through for return call if needed. You can access the caller list on a webpage and add any numbers to a blocklist,
 

Tony Gamble

Pro Member
Thanks K828,

I get the hang of what you are doing.

How do you get the 150m down and 50m up when I only got 35.1m down and 4.48m up on my 4g phone? Is it because you are combining the results of the two routers in that Draytek device?

Are you able to tell me what you paid for the Three and EE sim contracts?

Fascinating. A new world for me.

Tony
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
Thanks K828,

I get the hang of what you are doing.

How do you get the 150m down and 50m up when I only got 35.1m down and 4.48m up on my 4g phone? Is it because you are combining the results of the two routers in that Draytek device?

Are you able to tell me what you paid for the Three and EE sim contracts?

Fascinating. A new world for me.

Tony
Tony, unless you're in the same location as him is pointless to compare speeds. They depend heavily on a number of factors: router, distance from mast, line of sight, concurrent users on the mast, mast backhaul (uplink) and so on.
It's all very, very variable.

Ps: I'm on a sim only unlimited contract with both three and ee, I pay £28 for Ee and 16 (11 after cashback) for three. As I get 5g from both the combined theoretical speed would be 800-1000 Mbps down, 100 Mbps up. In reality I don't combine them, one is just for failover.
 

Tony Gamble

Pro Member
Thanks Lucian,

Are the sim card holding devices strategically placed for good reception?

My router is on the floor of a corridor near the access point for our landline but quite away from a window. The next door apartment block is laden with aerials and I am sure some will be 5g but I have no way of testing my reception speed as I have a relatively old 4g phone.
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
Thanks Lucian,

Are the sim card holding devices strategically placed for good reception?

My router is on the floor of a corridor near the access point for our landline but quite away from a window. The next door apartment block is laden with aerials and I am sure some will be 5g but I have no way of testing my reception speed as I have a relatively old 4g phone.
Yes, position of router can be very important, even an inch can make a difference in some scenarios.
One of my routers is on the roof, the other one in the loft, however the best speeds from Three I get near the first floor window sill, so there you go, higher is not always better.

I would get in touch with the neighbour, talk to him about his 5G setup etc.
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
My routers are in the eaves in an attached outbuilding, 2 direction antenna, both of which have line of sight to their masts, are on poles on the outer brick wall. Connection from the two 4G router is via 25m network cables. One mast is 8 miles away the other 5 miles. Both are rural and do not get overloaded unlike the more urban ones.

Three is £17 a month, EE is £28 a month.

150mbs/50mbs is combined. A pixel 3a in the right position close to the antenna can just match the speeds, always worse anywhere else.
 

Tony Gamble

Pro Member
Thanks guys.

You are both in a totally different environment to me. I live in a solid built (1900) block of flats with no access to the sort of places you are using.

I have learnt a lot but it will not be an option for me.

Thank you for all the advice and pointers.

I shall now focus on who provides the most reliable cable service as fibre to my front door is not going to happen for quite a while yet.

Tony
 

Johnmcl7

Regular Member
Good advice Pheasant.

However, as people will have realized reading my posts I am a novice in this area of technology. I am paranoid about losing the landline number we have had for thirty plus years - or losing my broadband and ability to send and receive emails for more than a day.
That's very understandable and it was my main worry as well as I didn't want to lose a landline number my family have been using since before I was born. However I was on FTTP and it wasn't worth paying BT a load of line rental so keep the number so I took the risk and ported to Sipgate.

Handily if you go with Sipgate basic you can set up and try it all out for free as you'll get a number allocated and you can port later. I went with a Grandstream 801 and Sipgate Basic since they're free unless you use the service and they have good guides for configuring a number of devices including the Granstream and mobile phones.

After getting it up and running with the Sipgate allocated number I proceeded with the port, Sipgate's communication throughout the process was excellent and the number ported without issue. What's handy now is that I'm not tied to the ISP at all and can easily use the number with any service both within or outwith the house.
 
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