• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Youtube
Forgotten Password | Remote Support
Get in touch

PSTN Switch Off News – Openreach Stop Sell

Posted on 10th August 2023 at 10:49

The telecommunications industry is on the brink of a significant transformation. Openreach, a division of BT, is set to make a significant stride towards the complete switch-off of their old copper-based Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) by December 2025. This change is set to hit a major milestone on 5th September 2023, when Openreach places a UK-wide “stop sell” on sales of new Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) and related broadband ISP products.

This move will not impact existing users of these products until the 2025 deadline. However, it means that anyone looking to buy a traditional analogue copper phone line rental service from a provider for the first time, including any linked broadband services, will no longer be able to do so. This stop sell is part of a wider and longer-term effort to gradually retire copper lines and shift consumers onto Openreach’s full fibre (FTTP) network.

However, there is an exception to this rule. Fully unbundled (MPF) lines, such as those sold by various ISPs like TalkTalk and Sky Broadband that have invested to gain more control over BT / OR’s lines, will be able to continue selling related products to new customers post 5th September 2023. But this won’t last forever, and eventually, even the old exchanges will be retired.

The stop sell move is most relevant to ISPs with a large base of regular phone and broadband lines, such as BT, Zen Internet and many others. But the good news is that Openreach has spent the past few years developing alternative copper-based broadband products that don’t need to depend on the old PSTN/WLR services.

Openreach’s ultimate goal is to get everyone moved onto their gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) lines. However, not everyone is covered by that yet. Consumers in those areas will still be able to take broadband via special versions of the ADSL (SOTAP), FTTC (SOGEA) and G.fast (SOGFast) products. These are essentially standalone copper-based broadband lines, albeit with no analogue phone service attached.

The key difference is that anyone in a WLR/PSTN “stop sell” area who orders or upgrades to one of those new broadband-only lines may not get a phone service included by default. Customers who want to retain a home phone service will need to ensure that their ISP has launched a digital (IP-based) phone solution.

Digital phone services are a bit different and often involve customers needing to plug their existing phone handsets into the back of a broadband router or Analogue Terminal Adapter (ATA) device, rather than the old BT/OR Master Socket on your wall.

Some providers, such as BT, have already run into problems with their Digital Voice service, which highlights some of the caveats with the new approach and its extra complexity. This is why it’s so important for consumer-facing ISPs to have the right solutions in place to ensure a smooth migration when the time comes.

The industry has known this change was coming since before 2017, thus there’s really no excuse for a retail provider not being prepared for it by now. But as BT’s example shows, other providers are still likely to experience some problems and complaints during the transition.

The future of telecommunications is here, and it’s fibre. As we move away from copper-based systems, it’s essential for businesses and consumers alike to understand these changes and prepare for the future. The shift to fibre is not just about faster internet speeds; it’s about creating a more reliable, efficient, and sustainable telecommunications infrastructure for the future.

#Telecommunications #Openreach #FibreFuture #DigitalTransformation

Case Studies

View all