BT spearheading talks on copper switch-off with government, other infrastructure providers

19 Sep 2019

British fixed line incumbent BT Group and other local broadband infrastructure operators are reportedly in talks with the government regarding a timetable for the switch-off of copper broadband connectivity, Sky News claims. The news outlet says it has learnt that BT is spearheading an initiative which has been under discussion with other operators, regulators and ministers for ‘a number of weeks’. It is understood that under plans developed by BT CEO Philip Jansen, full-fibre broadband would replace existing copper networks on a region-by-region basis over the next six years. A final switch-off date of 2027 has been mooted for customers using the remaining copper lines, as part of the negotiations between the various parties, with residential users and businesses expected to be given two years in each area of the country to move their service to a pure-fibre-based alternative. According to unnamed sources who were said to have been briefed on the companies’ proposals, the proposals would see copper broadband lines terminated on a staggered basis, once fibre infrastructure had been fully rolled out in each region. For their part, infrastructure providers would, meanwhile, be obliged to commit to building pure fibre networks in rural areas, as well as in towns and cities.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach)