British telecom regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation on proposals to support a trial being undertaken by BT’s infrastructure unit Openreach, in which it aims to migrate customers to full fibre – and then withdraw copper services entirely. The trial is scheduled to take place in Salisbury, ahead of which Openreach has requested changes to existing regulation to facilitate the early stages of the trial. The infrastructure operator is understood to be targeting the withdrawal of copper services there by the end 2022.
Ofcom’s consultation sets out its proposals in relation to these requested changes, with the regulator stating that it ‘recognises the importance of supporting a smooth transition to full fibre networks while ensuring vulnerable consumers are protected’. Further, the watchdog noted that it recognised that further changes will be required to support Openreach’s longer term plans to withdraw copper services in Salisbury, and in future around the country. As such, it said it plans to consider such matters as part of its single Fixed Telecoms Market Review, on which it will consult at the end of this year.