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Orange pulls plug on copper phone system

Telecoms firm Orange is to switch users from the analogue copper wire telephone network – réseau téléphonique commuté (RTC) – and turn to an all-digital system to update and improve the telecoms network.

From November 15 this year new customers for a ligne fixe landline-only service will not be able to plug a phone directly into the T-shaped phone wall socket but will be given a ‘box’ to do so and convert the new All-IP signal, which will become the norm from 2023.

Orange said: “This is not the end of ligne fixe or the copper network, but it is decades old, fragile and costly to maintain.

“Internet protocol IP technology underpins the internet and using this for our telecoms will give better service.

“It does not mean customers must take an internet forfait to make it work – but most people already use All-IP for TV, internet and phone packages.”

Orange and other operators are fitting fibre optic cabling across France and from 2023 to 2030 communes will swap to the digital All-IP system in an area-by-area programme.

About six million homes with a ligne fixe will be offered a box to give “equivalent” service but, like the bulk of phones, it needs separate power so will not work in a power cut.

The change will not affect people using ADSL to connect via the copper network but they should already have seen improvements with the government’s plan for full fibre-based high-speed broadband by 2022.

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