As the UK strides forward into the digital age, one can’t help but wonder about the implications for certain segments of the population, especially the elderly who might find the digital landscape challenging. The ambitious move to retire the traditional copper-wire landline by 2025 in favour of broadband’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has certainly caught the attention of local and nationwide residents.
How might this impact the residents of rural villages in and around Consett?
One internet commenter voiced a sentiment felt by many:
“I live in an area plagued by regular power outages. Power cuts spanning days equate to zero internet, rendering my landline and mobile completely useless. The concept is inherently flawed.”
However, even without these power woes, Consett and several neighbouring villages are battling another beast – an undependable and lethargic broadband connection. The lofty promises of VoIP’s unparalleled clarity fall terribly short in the face of such inconsistent connectivity.
Amplifying this sentiment, another social media commentator weighed in:
“Brilliant, already the elderly struggle in this digital world, this is just the icing on the cake tbh. 👎”.
Indeed, the challenges of the older generation are especially worth noting. A demographic already battling to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology is further sidelined, making them more vulnerable.
While the ancient copper network might not be the epitome of modernity, it has been a reliable staple, especially during power disruptions. The proposed shift to VoIP not only exposes the frailty of our digital infrastructure especially in more rural area, but risks isolating those least equipped to navigate this new terrain.
In the rush to be hailed as digital pioneers, it’s crucial for the government and telecom behemoths to remember: progress that doesn’t serve all members of the community might just be a step backwards.
Q&A: Consett’s Digital Transition and its Implications
Q: What is the UK’s new plan for the digital age?
A: The UK plans to phase out the traditional copper-wire landline network by 2025 and transition to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), a broadband-based system.
Q: Why are some Consett residents concerned about this shift?
A: Many residents, particularly those in areas with power outages, are concerned that without power they won’t have internet. No internet means no phone calls, which leaves them isolated, especially when both landlines and mobiles become unusable.
Q: Are there any other technological challenges facing Consett and its surrounding villages?
A: Yes, besides power outage concerns, many areas around Consett suffer from unreliable and slow broadband connections. This jeopardises the consistent functioning of VoIP and its promised benefits.
Q: How might this transition impact the elderly population?
A: Many elderly individuals already find it challenging to adapt to the fast-paced digital world. This transition could exacerbate their struggles, making them feel more alienated and left behind, perhaps even putting them in danger of being unable to call for help or support using their landline phone.
Q: Does the older copper network offer any advantages over the new VoIP system?
A: While the copper network is outdated, it has been notably reliable, especially during power outages. VoIP, being internet-dependent, lacks this resilience in areas with power disruptions or weak broadband connections.
Q: What are the sentiments on social media regarding this digital transition?
A: The feelings are mixed, but a notable comment highlights the challenges faced by the elderly: “Brilliant, already the elderly struggle in this digital world, this is just the icing on the cake tbh. 👎”.
Q: Could this technological change deepen the isolation of certain community members?
A: Indeed. As we march towards modernisation, there’s an underlying worry that the government and major telecom players may unintentionally overlook individuals less familiar with digital advancements. Additionally, the potential rise in broadband costs could be burdensome, especially for elderly residents who might not utilise the comprehensive features of broadband internet.