First Areas Where Copper Phones Lines Won't Be Available Announced

First Areas Where Copper Phones Lines Won't Be Available Announced by BT

First Areas Where Copper Phones Lines Won't Be Available Announced

Openreach (BT) has announced that they’re accelerating plans to move away from their old analogue phone (PSTN / WLR) services and on to a new all-IP network, which will see more than 118 UK exchange locations receiving over 75% coverage via their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP technology by June 2021.

At present there’s a lot of work going on behind-the-scenes in order to prepare the UK for two major changes. Firstly, the gradual migration of traditional voice (PSTN) services to all-IP technology (e.g. VoIP) by December 2025 – essential on “full fibre” lines where electrical signals are no longer used. Secondly, the complete switch-off of the copper network in favour of FTTP (phased but unlikely to be fully completed across the UK until many years after 2025).

Openreach have already started to adapt their existing copper line network to cope with IP based voice traffic (e.g. SOGEA), which should help to start the transition even before “full fibre” networks have become fully available to everybody. At the same time their FTTP network – currently covers 2.6 million premises (rising to 4.5m by March 2021) – is being backed by an investment of £12bn to reach 20 million UK premises by the “mid – to late-2020s” (here).

As part of this they’ve been conducting trials – Mildenhall (Suffolk) and Salisbury (Wiltshire) – with Ofcom of how the related migration processes for both of aforementioned changes could work. For example, in Salisbury the process for moving from copper to FTTP lines begins once 75% of premises in an exchange are able to receive their full fibre (target for this is 24 months after roll-out starts and copper switch-off might then occur c.3 years after / on top of that).

Under this approach such a process could start with a “no move back” policy for premises connected with FTTP, followed by a “stop-sell” of copper services to new customers and ultimately full withdrawal. One other result of this is that the operator will also stop providing their own voice products after around 2025 (i.e. shifting the responsibility for delivering this and VoIP on to broadband ISPs and wholesale providers).

openreach copper switch-off migration path

However today’s announcement appears to go beyond those trials and suggests that Openreach are now confident enough in their new approach and FTTP roll-out to accelerate their plans, which has meant that they can bring forward their migration efforts at 118 selected exchange areas (i.e. where they plan to stop selling their legacy analogue services and instead focus on providing people with full fibre).

Mark Logan, Openreach Director of Products, said:

“We’re working with Communication Providers right now to support them and their customers – and to keep them updated and informed as we work through their migration plans. We’ll also be working closely with local authorities, councils, charities and trade organisations to help spread the word to consumers and businesses and our online fibre checker tool will be available to provide the very latest information – at a post code level – about when and where full fibre is ready to order.

We’re excited about this, but it’s just another step in what is a hugely complex national upgrade programme. We’re well aware that there’s a lot more work to do, so we’re here to help the industry make this migration a reality and work with our customers to deliver new products that meet their customers’ demands for decades to come.”

Under this plan Openreach said that, in June 2020, they intend to give 12-months’ notice that “we’ll no longer be selling copper-based products” in those exchanges areas, which will start the clock on their migration process toward the retirement of legacy phone services and, ultimately, copper withdrawal too (see illustration above). It’s expected that more than 75% of homes in these locations will be covered with FTTP come June 2021.

Various new products have been created to help ISPs and consumers deal with this process, such as a special low speed 0.5Mbps FTTP tier (here) that can be used to help cater for those homes which just require a voice-only service. However some people will no doubt find such a transition difficult (change is rarely easy) and much will depend upon whether or not customers are hit with any extra costs or hassle, as well as how ISPs handle it all.

Nevertheless the move to all-IP and FTTP networks is happening right across the world, where similar challenges have been faced and overcome. The UK is only at the beginning of this process (partly because our full fibre roll-out is so far behind other countries), but that should at least mean we can learn from any mistakes made elsewhere.

Gants Hill Greater London LNGHL
Tile Hill Coventry CMTIL
Highbury Birmingham CMHIGH
Bishopsworth Bristol, City of SSBIS
Pinhoe Exeter WWPINH
Cantley Doncaster SLCLY
Kilmarnock East Ayrshire WSKIL
Failsworth Greater Manchester MRFAI
Claughton Wirral LVCLA
Ewell Epsom and Ewell LSEWE
Burgh Heath Reigate and Banstead LSBURH
Gosforth Newcastle upon Tyne NEGF
Sherwood Nottingham EMSHRWO
Westbury-On-Trym Bristol, City of SSWOT
Trentside Rushcliffe EMTRENT
Toothill Swindon SSTHL
Boreham Chelmsford EABOR
Bearwood Birmingham CMBEAR
Horsforth Leeds MYHSF
Hulme Hall Greater Manchester MRHUL
Whitefield Greater Manchester MRWHI
Rock Ferry Wirral LVROC
Keresley Coventry CMKER
Cressington Liverpool LVCRE
Solihull Solihull CMSOL
Hatch End Three Rivers LWHAT
Mayals Swansea SWMYS
Harborne Birmingham CMHARBO
Allestree Park Derby EMALLES
Gateacre Liverpool LVGAT
Sully Vale of Glamorgan SWXUU
Prestwich Greater Manchester MRPRE
Belfast Malone Belfast NIMAL
Belfast North Belfast NINTH
Belfast Ormeau Belfast NIORM
Belfast Stormont Belfast NISTM
Carryduff  Northern Ireland NICF
Dundonald Belfast NIDLD
Belfast East Belfast NIEAS
Belfast Balmoral Belfast NIBML
Be/City Belfast NICTY
Whiteabbey Antrim and Newtownabbey NIWBY
Childwall Liverpool LVCHI
Beacon Birmingham CMBEAC
Radford Coventry CMRAD
Kenton Road Greater London LWKROA
Birchfield Birmingham CMBIR
Swinton Greater Manchester MRSWI
Walkden Greater Manchester MRWAL
Sheldon Birmingham CMSHEL
Salisbury Wiltshire STSALIS
Stoneycroft Liverpool LVSTO
Gedling Gedling EMGDDLI
Sefton Park Liverpool LVSEF
Eccles Greater Manchester MRECC
South Bristol, City of SSSOU
Whitchurch Cardiff SWWXC
Stechford Birmingham CMSTE
Corstorphine City of Edinburgh ESCOR
Earlsdon Coventry CMEARD
Dagenham Greater London LNDAG
Abbeyhill City of Edinburgh ESABB
Harehills Leeds MYHHL
Radcliffe Greater Manchester MRRAD
Wallasey Wirral LVWAL
Merton Park Greater London LSMEPK
Great Crosby Sefton LVGRE
Streetly Birmingham CMSTRE
Morley Leeds MYMOR
Swansea Swansea SWSX
Headingley Leeds MYHEA
Springfield Birmingham CMSPR
Be/Ballysillan Belfast NIBYS
Belfast Knock Belfast NIKNK
Belfast Cregagh Belfast NICRG
Belfast Fortwilliam Belfast NIFWM
Daviot Highland NSDAV
Bridgemere Cheshire East WMBGM
Bonvilston Vale of Glamorgan SWBJY
Wettenhall Cheshire East WMWET
Chineham Basingstoke and Deane THCHN
East Marden Chichester SDSTMRD
Lempitlaw Scottish Borders ESLEM
Llandegla Denbighshire WNLDA
Boreland Dumfries and Galloway WSBOR
Arley Cheshire West and Chester MRARL
Tresillian Cornwall WWTRES
Lanreath Cornwall WWLANR
Achnasheen Highland NSASN
Tudweiliog Gwynedd WNTUD
Rumford Cornwall WWRUMF
Crookham Northumberland ESCRO
Coads Green Cornwall WWCOAD
Sutton Chichester SDSTTN
Great Bernera Eilean Siar NSGRE
Otterham Station Cornwall WWOSTN
Aultguish Highland NSALG
Burleygate Herefordshire, County of WNBGT
Crosthwaite South Lakeland LCCHE
Catforth Preston LCCAT
Padstow Cornwall WWPADS
Bontddu Gwynedd WNBON
Belsay Northumberland NEBLS
Ringford Dumfries and Galloway WSRIN
St Buryan Cornwall WWSBUR
Harewood End Herefordshire, County of WNHAE
Altnaharra Highland NSALT
Canworthy Water Cornwall WWCANW
Southwick Dumfries and Galloway WSSOK
Canon Pyon Herefordshire, County of WNCP
Parbold West Lancashire LCPAR
Cranfield Central Bedfordshire SMCR
Tarporley Cheshire West and Chester WNTAR
Flockton Kirklees MYFLO
Caergwrle Flintshire WNCAG
Mickle Trafford Cheshire West and Chester WNMT
Kentford Forest Heath EAKEN
Deddington Cherwell SMDD


What's Your Reaction?