To Switch Off or Not to Switch Off: Is It Really a Question?

Although I’m from Yorkshire and stereotypically we are recognised as a dour lot, I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of chap. The question that is on my mind and one I would like to pose to the Channel Corner readers is: Are you witnessing a resistance to the WLR switch off?

Over the past few months, Eclipse Wholesale has worked tirelessly to migrate hundreds of PSTN and cooper-based broadband services over to full fibre products. This migration was carried out thoughtfully with due consideration for the end users and our Channel Partners, but with an overriding principle of getting our significant volume of analogue services down at each phase of the project.

I wasn’t surprised with the challenges this project dropped in our lap, however I didn’t think the majority of dialogue would be that people just didn’t want to do it.

My overriding thought about the end of WLR and analogue broadband as the Managing Director of a telecoms company is mainly about the opportunity it presents to deliver customers a service in line with the demands of the 21st century. In my eyes, FTTP is better than ADSL and VOIP or SIP is better than ISDN. So why would you not want to offer this to your customers? Is it because of the complexity of the switch off or the lack of clarity with some services still using the PSTN network or is it the ever-expanding exception list?

Recently I noticed a network contact quoting the switch off had been pushed beyond 2025. The headline didn’t quite match the article as the extension only referred to a limited number of consumer-based services, however again it felt like a desire for the project to fail as opposed to any actual reason to delay the switch off.

I feel like I should conclude the Channel Corner column with some simple tips which I obtained during my own WLR Switch Off project. Hopefully, these will prove helpful, so when (not if) the time is right for you to assist your customers with the Switch Off, you should be in a better position to do so.

  • Identify the assets in your estate that will be affected by the Switch Off.
  • Ask any engineers attending customer premises or the end users to make a list of all the devices currently plugged into the master socket and any extensions (e.g. phones, alarms, lifts, card machines, medical equipment, etc).
  • Check each asset for calls, broadband markers or block terminals.
  • Work with your provider on the migration paths available for each asset.
  • Investigate if any alternative networks are available at the asset address.
  • Use bulk migration tools if the size of your WLR estate is sizeable. Read More Here with James Drake Openreach has previously stated that to retire the analogue phone network by the end of 2025 an average of 50,000 analogue lines will need to be upgraded to digital every week.


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