BT has said it will no longer be switching off analogue landlines.

The telecommunications provider announced plans earlier this year to switch all landline phones to digital, with the Hampshire roll out being completed by 2025.

It said that "digital" phones would replace traditional landline handsets, however despite campaigners raise concerns saying the plan would cause “unnecessary” worry for thousands of the most vulnerable customers.

However the firm has now backed down and said it is pausing its plans.

A BT spokesperson said: “Further to recent feedback, we’ve taken the decision to pause the major rollout of our digital voice programme.

"It’s clear from what some customers are telling us that we underestimated the impact this technology upgrade would have on certain customer groups. We got it wrong by going too early, and for this we’re sorry.

READ MORE: BT under fire for plan to switch all Hampshire landlines to digital by 2025

"We’ll aim to restart the programme, once we’re more confident that the right products and solutions are in place that will provide more resilient connectivity.

“The upgrade of the rapidly ageing analogue landline phones is a critical national industry programme that carries very important and significant long-term benefits for the UK. Digitising the UK’s future is a crucial mission for the industry, and we’re determined to get it right.”

The move has been welcomed by the Country Land and Business Association, which represents thousands of farmers, landowners and rural businesses in Hampshire and the south.

However the association warned that many rural communities across the region are still suffering a connectivity divide.

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Regional director Tim Bamford said: “We are pleased that BT has listened to our calls to scrap plans to remove traditional landlines from homes and businesses.

“With many areas still struggling to receive basic mobile and internet connectivity, landlines continue to be a lifeline for many people in isolated communities.

“The answer to this is simple. If BT wants to scrap landlines in the long term, it needs to ensure every single part of the country is fully connected.

“Sadly, this aspiration feels a long way away for many rural communities. We call on BT to redouble their efforts to ensure full coverage for the nation, so that the social and economic benefits of modern technology can be felt in every village and every household.”

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