Comms providers not prepared for the September 5th stop-sell – which saw Openreach end the sale of WLR across the UK – will need to act fast and get on track with the move to all IP, warned James Lilley, Director of Managed Customer Migrations, Openreach.
He said the stop-sell marks an important step towards the UK’s digital transformation and is a reminder that the PSTN network will be switched off by the end of 2025, a move first announced in 2017.
“The PSTN is outdated and difficult to maintain,” said Lilley. “Skills and parts are increasingly difficult to come by and new digital services like VoIP, video conferencing and a whole range of apps have become more popular.”
The stop-sell means that when CPs’ customers sign up to a new contract – or when they switch, upgrade or re-grade their service via their provider – they’ll be moved onto a new digital line rather than an analogue one.
“We’ve collaborated with CPs for years to help them prepare for the change,” said Lilley. “We’ll continue to work with our CPs to upgrade vulnerable customers and those using Critical National Infrastructure as safely and smoothly as possible. We have the processes in place to ensure this happens.”
The preference is to deliver digital services over a full fibre network. Lilley noted that Openreach has so far made fibre available to 11 million homes and businesses nationwide.
“Since 2020 we have gradually stopped selling copper services in exchanges where we have built full fibre,” said Lilley. “This covers more than 500 of our exchange areas, that’s 4.6 million premises so far and will continue at pace.”