SAVE IRELAND’S NATIONAL LANDLINE TELEPHONE NETWORK

This petition is only 170 signatures short of progressing and we know the patrons wakeupeire.comcan really push this over the bar, The Communications Regulator ComReg will be making a decision on a framework switch-off of traditional copper telephone lines very soon.

(1)  If this move goes ahead, it will mean replacing our existing copper landlines network with a fibreoptic network which rely on broadband using the less reliable Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology or other broadband based digital phones. The new proposed system relies on both broadband and electricity, which will inevitably put many lives in danger where either one of them fails.

(2) There are many reasons why this switch-off should not go ahead: 

– The switch-off would seriously disadvantage and isolate elderly and vulnerable people who rely on traditional copper landlines as they don’t have or want broadband or are unable to use a mobile phone as an emergency alternative for various reasons including chronic diseases, poor eyesight, arthritic fingers, dyslexia or cognition issues etc. The changes to a new technology will be confusing and worrying for many.  

– Traditional landlines are essential to many elderly and vulnerable people living alone because it is connected to their emergency health pendant alarm system which alerts family or friends in the case of a fall or other accident or emergency. This system relies on the use of the copper network which would not work with a broadband enabled landline if there is a power cut or the internet goes down. Vulnerable people would not be able to call for help in this situation or call 999 and family members would also not be able to make contact.  A changeover would also impact burglar alarms and other systems connected to landlines;

(2)  – The alternatives in case of power cut or internet disruption are to have a mobile phone, which some older and vulnerable people don’t want to or are unable to use (and may not have enough charge in emergency situations), or battery backups for the landline for such events.

  – Our existing landlines are the most reliable form of telecommunication we have; they are not dependent on broadband services. This is very important in the event of a power cut and consequent loss of internet for a variety of reasons, such as maintenance work, being cut off by electricity suppliers, sabotage, hacking, or major weather events, which due to climate change are becoming much more frequent.    

– In any of these events, a broadband-reliant system would not work even to call 999 or emergency numbers, whereas copper landlines have more often than not stayed working during power outages as they are independent of home/premises and the main electricity grid and have their own exchange and power generators;   

– The plan if implemented would leave many in already isolated communities even more isolated without a reliable form of communications, as good broadband connections are not available everywhere in the country;    

– Traditional landlines provide clearer, cleaner reception and sound quality than mobile calls or calls through broadband, which generally have interference and poorer sound and a lot of data traffic. Good clear reception is important for everyone and especially the hard of hearing;   

– The copper landline network is already fully in place and has worked successfully for decades. It doesn’t make economic or environmental sense to remove it and it would be extremely wasteful to discontinue and rip out this national, efficient, safe and important service. Maintaining the existing network, alongside the fibre network, would be more beneficial for the environment, our security, safety and health, than a network that needs to be plugged in and requires more data and energy consumption; 

 – A complete switchover to high speed fibre optic internet/VoIP network would seriously disadvantage and isolate some people, especially anyone already sick and suffering adverse health symptoms from wireless and other sources of EMF radiation (EHS).  There are reports from some people of increased symptoms where high speed fibreoptic broadband is installed.

(3)  Most rely solely on landline telephones for making and receiving calls, and for emergencies, and would not want to have a broadband connection that potentially causes more problems, which then has to be on all the time to make and receive calls. Also most would not possess, use, or want to use a mobile/smart phone as an alternative.

   – It’s very important to have the option of turning off electrical appliances, including our internet routers (and wifi) at night or when not in use, as a safety measure and to avoid wastage of energy. The proposed new system would mean either that when people turn off their routers, they would also be turning off their home phone and personal alarm systems, or there would be no option to turn it off at all, neither of which is acceptable. 

 – Calls on traditional landlines are more secure than broadband-enabled landlines, which can be hacked more easily, thereby breaching our privacy. 

Please sign this petition so that we can make our case to the Irish government, ComReg and Eir that it is essential that we keep our existing copper landline network.   

(1) ComReg publishes regulatory framework to allow Eir to switch-off legacy copper network https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2023/1101/1414129-comreg-on-eirs-copper-network/ EU urges Ireland to speed up copper switch-off https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2023/0925/1407123-copper-switch-off/  (2) Advice from ComReg – Home phone and broadband service upgrades : https://www.comreg.ie/advice-information/service-upgrades/home-phone-and-broadband-service-upgrades/ What other devices do I need to consider? Certain devices such as care alarms, personal alarms, security alarms and fax machines may be connected to your landline. If you have a device like this, it might need to be replaced or reconfigured to continue working once you move to a VoIP service.

What happens in a power cut? If there is a power cut to the home and the internet stops working, the phone service and devices dependant on the broadband connection will not work either. Your mobile provider should clearly disclose any limitations and impacts of the service including in the event of a power failure within the terms and conditions of your contract. One option available to you to mitigate against a risk of temporarily losing a telephone or internet access during a power cut, is the use of a mobile phone. It is important to ensure the mobile phone is kept charged. In addition, you can use a battery backup device to power your modem to be able to continue to use your home landline telephone service to make and receive calls, on a temporary basis, during a power outage. There are currently battery backup devices available on the market that you can purchase or your service provider can advise you.

(3) Why Do Fiber Optic Installations Increase Electrical Sensitivity? https://www.emfanalysis.com/fiber-optics-increasing-electrical-sensitivity/  

8th November 2023: Half of Australia left without internet or phone as Optus crashes. ‘The reason why it brought down not just internet but also landline and mobile services, Tett said, was because networks were now IP-based and when the internet protocol network had an issue, “absolutely, it will take down all their systems”.’ https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/nov/08/half-of-australia-left-without-internet-or-phone-as-optus-crashes

  More information:   Brussels slaps down ComReg’s approach to copper switch-off https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/brussels-slaps-down-comregs-approach-to-copper-switch-off/a1056264409.html 

UK  : BT to end landline phones sparking fears for millions of vulnerable and elderly people. BT ditches traditional landlines despite fears for elderly users  https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/news/bt-ditches-traditional-landlines-despite-fears-for-elderly-users/ 

Campaigners brand BT’s digital landline switchover a ‘horror story’ as pressure mounts on telecoms giant to fix growing problems with pensioners’ phones https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/bills/article-12860281/BTs-digital-landline-switchover-horror-story-problems-pensioners-phones Pensioners launch boycott of forced digital landline switchover https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12922083/Pensioners-launch-boycott-forced-BT-digital-landline-switchover-Brits-told-DONT

UK Petition:  https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-uk-2025-copper-landline-upgrade-by-bt?redirect=false 

USA: Phone companies want to eliminate traditional landlines. What’s at stake and who loses? https://eu.usatoday.com/story/money/2024/02/22/att-phone-companies-eliminate-landlines/72574152007/ ‘I deserve to have a phone that works’: The effects of phone companies removing landlines  https://www.deseret.com/u-s-world/2024/2/22/24080207/phone-companies-removing-landlines     https://www.change.org/p/save-landline-service-in-california   ES-Ireland.com (NB We are not fundraising for this petition.  Donations are to Change.org and will help promote our petition however.  Thank you) Support now Share this petition.

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