Two trials proposed by Openreach will prepare the industry for an upgrade to all-IP technology, claims the infrastructure provider.
In what Openreach calls a 'hugely complex task', the upgrade of customers onto full fibre broadband and digital voice services in Salisbury and Mildenhall will set the stage for a wider migration across the UK ahead of the withdrawal of wholesale products and services that run over the traditional telephone network, with the PSTN shutdown planned for 2025.
Openreach intends to work with CP customers – such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk – to build out the project into other regions.
Openreach expects four million homes and businesses to have access to its FTTP service by April 2021.
"A consultation will run until 31st July 2019, after which Openreach will confirm the trial details and timescales with industry, with a view to launch in October this year," said Chief Strategy Officer Richard Allwood.
A previous consultation, which focused on an exchange-based approach to upgrading the UK’s digital infrastructure, concluded that the majority of customer upgrades should be voluntary, that the roll out should be done area by area, exchange by exchange, that CPs should have more input into how Openreach selects areas to upgrade, and that a customer charter should be developed that commits to protecting customers through the upgrade process in trial areas.