Openreach, the network arm of UK fixed line incumbent BT, has published information regarding the next batch of exchange locations where it plans to switch away from copper-based connectivity and move to an all-IP network. According to ISPreview, Openreach has identified a total of 77 locations, covering around 700,000 premises, where it plans to stop selling copper-based services from 29 April 2022.
This latest announcement from Openreach brings the total number of exchange locations where it has detailed plans to terminate the sale of copper-based services to 297, covering a total of 2.9 million premises. Previously, in May 2020 the company listed 118 UK exchanges where it would stop selling copper-based services by 29 June 2021, before adding a further 51 locations to the list in October 2020 (where sales will cease from 5 October 2021) and 51 more in January this year (sales ceasing from 25 January 2022). Notably, however, alongside announcing the latest identified areas, Openreach also confirmed it was pushing back the ‘stop sell’ date for 104 of the initial 118 locations named in May last year, to 5 October 2021. According to the report, the decision is linked to the impact on the rollout of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology resulting from lockdown restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the matter, Openreach’s s Director of Managed Customer Migrations, James Lilley, was cited as saying: ‘This is a really big deal for our industry as it marks the next step in the digital revolution. Whilst we’re building more and more Full Fibre infrastructure across the country, we’re also working closely with our Communications Providers customers to plan the withdrawal of legacy services and make upgrades from copper to fibre as smooth as possible. This is the next step on that journey – a further commitment that we’ll stop selling copper products in areas where Full Fibre’s going to be widely available. Just three years from now, we’ll stop selling analogue products nationwide and we’re already working to upgrade some 14 million analogue lines to digital by 2025.’