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Openreach to Stop Selling Copper Phone in 118 Areas – Go FTTP

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020 (1:41 pm) - Score 45,578
splicing fibre openreach

Openreach (BT) has today announced that they’re accelerating plans to move away from their old analogue phone (PSTN / WLR) services and on to a new all-IP network, which will see more than 118 UK exchange locations receiving over 75% coverage via their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP technology by June 2021.

At present there’s a lot of work going on behind-the-scenes in order to prepare the UK for two major changes. Firstly, the gradual migration of traditional voice (PSTN) services to all-IP technology (e.g. VoIP) by December 2025 – essential on “full fibre” lines where electrical signals are no longer used. Secondly, the complete switch-off of the copper network in favour of FTTP (phased but unlikely to be fully completed across the UK until many years after 2025).

Openreach have already started to adapt their existing copper line network to cope with IP based voice traffic (e.g. SOGEA), which should help to start the transition even before “full fibre” networks have become fully available to everybody. At the same time their FTTP network – currently covers 2.6 million premises (rising to 4.5m by March 2021) – is being backed by an investment of £12bn to reach 20 million UK premises by the “mid – to late-2020s” (here).

As part of this they’ve been conducting trials – Mildenhall (Suffolk) and Salisbury (Wiltshire) – with Ofcom of how the related migration processes for both of aforementioned changes could work. For example, in Salisbury the process for moving from copper to FTTP lines begins once 75% of premises in an exchange are able to receive their full fibre (target for this is 24 months after roll-out starts and copper switch-off might then occur c.3 years after / on top of that).

Under this approach such a process could start with a “no move back” policy for premises connected with FTTP, followed by a “stop-sell” of copper services to new customers and ultimately full withdrawal. One other result of this is that the operator will also stop providing their own voice products after around 2025 (i.e. shifting the responsibility for delivering this and VoIP on to broadband ISPs and wholesale providers).

openreach copper switch-off migration path

However today’s announcement appears to go beyond those trials and suggests that Openreach are now confident enough in their new approach and FTTP roll-out to accelerate their plans, which has meant that they can bring forward their migration efforts at 118 selected exchange areas (i.e. where they plan to stop selling their legacy analogue services and instead focus on providing people with full fibre).

Mark Logan, Openreach Director of Products, said:

“We’re working with Communication Providers right now to support them and their customers – and to keep them updated and informed as we work through their migration plans. We’ll also be working closely with local authorities, councils, charities and trade organisations to help spread the word to consumers and businesses and our online fibre checker tool will be available to provide the very latest information – at a post code level – about when and where full fibre is ready to order.

We’re excited about this, but it’s just another step in what is a hugely complex national upgrade programme. We’re well aware that there’s a lot more work to do, so we’re here to help the industry make this migration a reality and work with our customers to deliver new products that meet their customers’ demands for decades to come.”

Under this plan Openreach said that, in June 2020, they intend to give 12-months’ notice that “we’ll no longer be selling copper-based products” in those exchanges areas, which will start the clock on their migration process toward the retirement of legacy phone services and, ultimately, copper withdrawal too (see illustration above). It’s expected that more than 75% of homes in these locations will be covered with FTTP come June 2021.

Various new products have been created to help ISPs and consumers deal with this process, such as a special low speed 0.5Mbps FTTP tier (here) that can be used to help cater for those homes which just require a voice-only service. However some people will no doubt find such a transition difficult (change is rarely easy) and much will depend upon whether or not customers are hit with any extra costs or hassle, as well as how ISPs handle it all.

Nevertheless the move to all-IP and FTTP networks is happening right across the world, where similar challenges have been faced and overcome. The UK is only at the beginning of this process (partly because our full fibre roll-out is so far behind other countries), but that should at least mean we can learn from any mistakes made elsewhere.

Gants Hill Greater London LNGHL
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Highbury Birmingham CMHIGH
Bishopsworth Bristol, City of SSBIS
Pinhoe Exeter WWPINH
Cantley Doncaster SLCLY
Kilmarnock East Ayrshire WSKIL
Failsworth Greater Manchester MRFAI
Claughton Wirral LVCLA
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Burgh Heath Reigate and Banstead LSBURH
Gosforth Newcastle upon Tyne NEGF
Sherwood Nottingham EMSHRWO
Westbury-On-Trym Bristol, City of SSWOT
Trentside Rushcliffe EMTRENT
Toothill Swindon SSTHL
Boreham Chelmsford EABOR
Bearwood Birmingham CMBEAR
Horsforth Leeds MYHSF
Hulme Hall Greater Manchester MRHUL
Whitefield Greater Manchester MRWHI
Rock Ferry Wirral LVROC
Keresley Coventry CMKER
Cressington Liverpool LVCRE
Solihull Solihull CMSOL
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Mayals Swansea SWMYS
Harborne Birmingham CMHARBO
Allestree Park Derby EMALLES
Gateacre Liverpool LVGAT
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Prestwich Greater Manchester MRPRE
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Radford Coventry CMRAD
Kenton Road Greater London LWKROA
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Swinton Greater Manchester MRSWI
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Sheldon Birmingham CMSHEL
Salisbury Wiltshire STSALIS
Stoneycroft Liverpool LVSTO
Gedling Gedling EMGDDLI
Sefton Park Liverpool LVSEF
Eccles Greater Manchester MRECC
South Bristol, City of SSSOU
Whitchurch Cardiff SWWXC
Stechford Birmingham CMSTE
Corstorphine City of Edinburgh ESCOR
Earlsdon Coventry CMEARD
Dagenham Greater London LNDAG
Abbeyhill City of Edinburgh ESABB
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Radcliffe Greater Manchester MRRAD
Wallasey Wirral LVWAL
Merton Park Greater London LSMEPK
Great Crosby Sefton LVGRE
Streetly Birmingham CMSTRE
Morley Leeds MYMOR
Swansea Swansea SWSX
Headingley Leeds MYHEA
Springfield Birmingham CMSPR
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Belfast Cregagh Belfast NICRG
Belfast Fortwilliam Belfast NIFWM
Daviot Highland NSDAV
Bridgemere Cheshire East WMBGM
Bonvilston Vale of Glamorgan SWBJY
Wettenhall Cheshire East WMWET
Chineham Basingstoke and Deane THCHN
East Marden Chichester SDSTMRD
Lempitlaw Scottish Borders ESLEM
Llandegla Denbighshire WNLDA
Boreland Dumfries and Galloway WSBOR
Arley Cheshire West and Chester MRARL
Tresillian Cornwall WWTRES
Lanreath Cornwall WWLANR
Achnasheen Highland NSASN
Tudweiliog Gwynedd WNTUD
Rumford Cornwall WWRUMF
Crookham Northumberland ESCRO
Coads Green Cornwall WWCOAD
Sutton Chichester SDSTTN
Great Bernera Eilean Siar NSGRE
Otterham Station Cornwall WWOSTN
Aultguish Highland NSALG
Burleygate Herefordshire, County of WNBGT
Crosthwaite South Lakeland LCCHE
Catforth Preston LCCAT
Padstow Cornwall WWPADS
Bontddu Gwynedd WNBON
Belsay Northumberland NEBLS
Ringford Dumfries and Galloway WSRIN
St Buryan Cornwall WWSBUR
Harewood End Herefordshire, County of WNHAE
Altnaharra Highland NSALT
Canworthy Water Cornwall WWCANW
Southwick Dumfries and Galloway WSSOK
Canon Pyon Herefordshire, County of WNCP
Parbold West Lancashire LCPAR
Cranfield Central Bedfordshire SMCR
Tarporley Cheshire West and Chester WNTAR
Flockton Kirklees MYFLO
Caergwrle Flintshire WNCAG
Mickle Trafford Cheshire West and Chester WNMT
Kentford Forest Heath EAKEN
Deddington Cherwell SMDD
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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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62 Responses
  1. Avatar photo joe says:

    I’ve still yet to hear a clear rationale from BT about why it takes 3 yrs from stop sell->S-Off

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      It’s about giving both ISPs and consumers plenty of time to adapt to quite a big change. Not to mention the other issues of wholesale and business line contracts, which can be longer than 24 months.

    2. Avatar photo joe says:

      But Mark they are already doing the same process abroad in a much shorter time frame. Some as little as 12 months. Given the UK is doing this later (and so can gain from other problems) they ought to be faster

    3. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I can’t speak to the complexities of country-to-country comparisons due to not being intimately familiar with all their different regulatory regimes, market structures and history etc.

    4. Avatar photo joe says:

      I know higher MDUs in Europe is not a direct comp. But Germany and Swi seem to have few issues. Ofcoms own analysis compared the migration to all IP for those and Fr/NZ which have the same tech issues at play.

    5. Avatar photo Alex says:

      Another classic case of damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

    6. Avatar photo 125us says:

      CPs have bought copper based products on contracts upto 5 (I think in some rare cases – 7) years in length. If Openreach void those contracts by closing the product then there’s the obvious breach of contract issue. More importantly though, it’s almost certain that closing a product will impact some CPs more than others and that then becomes an equivalence issue for Openreach and Ofcom.

      Other countries have different regulatory regimes and models. It’s hard to make direct comparisons.

    7. Avatar photo lexx says:

      the main problem was in the UK was the Fibre tax (and that thatcher blocked BT form doing full 100% fibre rollout in 1992)


    8. Avatar photo Meadmodj says:

      This has been well publicised and should be of no surprise. BT would no doubt move faster if it could but OR would be heavily criticised, be open to regulatory challenge if they proceeded too fast and it makes sense that they are targeting the FTTP areas as it enables other network/property consolidation.

    9. Avatar photo GNewton says:

      @less: This old techradar story has been wrongly applied here on ISPReview many times over.

      The truth is nobody but its own incompetence has prevented BT from doing fibre for more than a decade now.

  2. Avatar photo CarlT says:

    Excellent news.

    1. Avatar photo A_Builder says:

      I would tend to agree.

      Why waste OPEX on running two networks when the new network does a better job anyway?

      Better off saving the OPEX (on the copper) and increasing CAPEX on the new network. Which is then a virtuous circle of savings.

  3. Avatar photo GNewton says:

    A good step in the right direction, though BT should have reached this stage more than a decade ago.

    1. Avatar photo anon. says:

      And scrapped all LLU 10 years ago.

  4. Avatar photo a welshman says:

    3 years may seem a long time , but having worked for them for 30 years and seeing where some of these lines are i.e. huts in the middle of nowhere with no power socket and just enough electric to run a small pump and light.i have even been to properties that were so far off the grid they only had solar power and no mains. it will cost the building owner/tenant money to supply a power socket . and to get every single property ready will take time

    1. Avatar photo Stephen Wakeman says:

      Mind me asking what those huts in the depths of nowhere with barely enough electricity to sustain a small pump and light are for? Would they not also be prime candidates for a comms rethink i.e. connect via 3G or 4G instead?

  5. Avatar photo Gig says:

    I see at least 5 BT vans at least everyday, checking the optical fibre cables under.

  6. Avatar photo FibreFred says:

    A positive step, a positive BT story.

    – Quick look to see if it’s been trolled.

    I wasn’t let down, keep up the good work lads!

  7. Avatar photo ianh says:

    Do BT produce a figure/percent for how many people use their lines? I haven’t had a land line in over 10 years.

    I only have a cheapo i use to test for faults that lives in a cupboard.

    1. Avatar photo gerarda says:

      We got rid of the landline when FTTP arrived a year ago, but my partner wants to bring it back. With crappy mobile signals, and not great reliability or oice quality for VOIP (it seems very sensitive to packet loss)she is not happy being reliant on the fibre

    2. Avatar photo Simon says:

      I pay for a phone line, but no prone plugged in. I left a voicemail message to phone our mobile (without giving number).

      Ourlandline was 99% scam calls, and offcom doing nothing about it, it was just a nuisance.

      I would love to pay less for data only line

    3. Avatar photo hil says:


      Options are with your mobile phone is to get devices that support Wi-Fi calling, this essentially means your mobile is VoIP over your FTTP broadband using your mobile phone number, usually this is pretty reliable but can still have occasional issues or wobbles.

      VoIP itself is reliant on the quality of hardware, how good the provider is and how the network/router is set up, for example QoS can help resolve packet loss where your broadband is being heavily used by others at the time of a call but isn’t an easy thing to configure for most people. I’m using SipGate on a Panasonic VoIP phone and it never has any issues.

      However any VoIP solution is never going to be as reliable as the analogue phone service it will replace, it can’t be, but hopefully will come close over time, but overall VoIP is a backward step for simple voice calls on a landline compared to the service it replaces. Progress isn’t always for better for the end consumer.

    4. Avatar photo gerarda says:

      We do have wifi calling which allows us to make and receive mobile calls more reliably but they still suffer from the same disconnection and voice quality issues as the “landline ”

      I am a bit reluctant to invest in VoIP phones given this but may give sipgate a go. We currently use vonage

    5. Avatar photo Phil says:


      There shouldn’t be voice quality issues with Wi-Fi calling, here our Wi-Fi calling is indistinguishable from being on the mobile Network and if supported by the other party calls are connected using HD voice, so even better quality than a landline. Calls can of course dropout due to Wi-Fi reception issues and if you still get some mobile signal the mobile can try switching between one and the other and cause a drop. If I’m at home for any length of time (seems to be lot at the minute!) my phone goes on Airplane mode and I just enable Wi-Fi so it sticks to Wi-Fi calling.

      Vonage are pretty good so if you are having similar issues with Wi-Fi calling AND VoIP it could be issues elsewhere, possibly an issue internally with your setup or router or cabling causing packet loss.

      I agree though that VoIP is often going to have more issues or more complex issues to resolve than a standard analogue line, but are capable of working almost as well. Many businesses have been using all VoIP telephone systems as standard for quite some time and some issues at home can be due to using cheaper domestic kit or cheaper providers. Our VoIP service from Sipgate has had no issues at all, call quality is constantly okay with no dropouts or dropped calls, but that is only since investing in a Panasonic VoIP DECT phone, it was never as reliable when using the built in telephone sockets on routers, although I’ve not used any newer routers with built in VoIP to comment if they have improved in the last few years, I hope they have.

  8. Avatar photo Henry Gray says:

    Has the effect of voip been considered for people with hearing difficulties also the poor quality experienced due to contention will cause difficulties and older people will have many issues moving from traditional style handsets. I believe voip will be dependent on the customers power supply. Is this the end of a 999 service operating during power outages.

    1. Avatar photo FibreFred says:

      You can still use traditional handsets.

      Yes currently power is provided over copper. Which isn’t possible over fibre.

      To start with the product came with a small UPS but that has it’s own issues.

      I believe provider power (and backup of) is the responsibility of the customer which seems right to me.

      We have to progress at some point and it is possible to still provide 999 access with your own ups or mobile

    2. Avatar photo David Oates says:

      There are mobile phones designed for the disabled, elderly, so no issue with power cuts.

      There’s literally zero excuse for not being able to plug in a standard phone to the socket provided on the new routers.

    3. Avatar photo Sunil Sood says:

      I believe the replacement for the PTSN has its own private network do is not subject to contention in the same way another VoIP call can be.

      Also, in my experience the call quality is actually higher with digital calls

  9. Avatar photo Paddy sears says:

    This is all good if there is a competitive market to supply the customers once the FFTP is in place. I’m just coming out of a mandatory year with BT and I’m trying to find anyone who can provide a competitive service. Several say they can and then only provide business services, many can’t and the few that are left are more expensive that BT! All ideas welcome…

    1. Avatar photo Jon says:

      Sky and talk talk were due to launch there fttp products this spring, should be more options soon

    2. Avatar photo A_Builder says:

      Might be worth gritting your teeth and paying the monthly rate for a couple of months till things settle down a bit.

      More players are slated to be entering the FTTP market shortly.

      And the connectivity market has had a massive push from COVID-19 towards better connections that can support things better so it is more in the urgent radar now for the other resellers.

    3. Avatar photo joe says:

      Its a bind. have many now decided with covid that they don’t have the staff to launch their fttp but how long they delay is hard to call.

    4. Avatar photo Grem says:

      Similar situation with our FTTP. After two years we still only have a few options of provider, which are more expensive than the already expensive BT, when compared to other “mainstream domestic providers” such as EE, Virgin, Sky, Talk Talk etc. Also none of the current choices include “calls to all mobiles” as part of the package so the call charges soon mount up over a month with fewer calls made to fixed lines.
      This has been a grossly unfair situation for a good while now and I for one look forward to more options and a level playing field as soon as possible

  10. Avatar photo John says:

    But what about those left behind… Openreach have just installed underground ducting for fibre in my cul-de-sac and the broadband checker for that postcode says all properties are now able to receive ultra fast fibre, except for three,including mine, which are set back 20m from the road. This despite having a BT inspection chamber outside the three properties which has not been included. Are we to be a future casualty and cast adrift when copper disappears?

    1. Avatar photo joe says:

      No when copper goes you will have long been connected via fttp.

  11. Avatar photo Henry Gray says:

    Seems a backward step and a denigration of universal service. If we are suggesting that in order to have a fail safe 999 service you would have to depend on mobiles or provide your own stand by power. For older people this is nonsense and completely unworkable. Mobiles are still a good way off total reliability and not everybody can have Ups. It cannot be a serious suggestion to have people in high rise buildings employing standby petrol generators. I hope all these things are taken into account before we make any calamitous steps

    1. Avatar photo Space Infinity says:

      Whether you like it on not, this is happening. No amount of whining will stop it.

      If you have elderly family or friends, start to teach them how to use one of the disabled/elderly friendly mobiles (for emergency calls during extremely rare power outs). Look to get a digital lifeline setup.

      Basically instead of complaining, do something productive to help the 0.1% that have problems charging/turning on a mobile.

    2. Avatar photo gerarda says:

      @space infinity

      Until we have full indoor coverage for mobile phones you cannot consider them for emergencies. I am not sure how far off EE are in getting the new emergency network completed

    3. Avatar photo FibreFred says:

      Petrol generators?

      We have to move on.

      It’s about assessing the risk:

      How likely are you to need to call the emergency services during a power cut.

      If you think that the risk is high you get a mobile and rerun the risk again plus take into account the mobile service is down in your area.

      Power cut + emergency + mobile down you would have to be very unlucky.

      Can’t hang onto the past forever.

    4. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      Battery backup sufficient to maintain phone service for an hour is considered satisfactory.

      This is supplied only where mobile coverage isn’t available.

    5. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      Virgin Media provides at no cost their Emergency Backup Line if you have accessibility needs or don’t have a mobile phone. You need to be getting your landline via your hub 3.0 or hub 4 for this service. You get a box, fitted between the hub and handset, which has a rechargeable battery and calls can be made (automatically connected to any of the mobile networks) only to 999 or 112. On battery power alone the box has 24 hours of standby and one hour of talk time.

    6. Avatar photo 125us says:

      Mostly moot as the vast majority of people still using landlines have cordless phones which won’t work in a power cut.

  12. Avatar photo Vic says:

    Reading the post from @ space infinity it is clear that there is little understanding of the need for good voice telephony for millions of people. I am sure we have all experienced the terrible links on TV when people are being interviewed over IP. This has become even more apparent during lock down. It will have to improve greatly to be anything like the quality of PSTN

    1. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      VoIP is being used by millions with good results.

      Virgin Media haven’t been selling standard voice service in most areas for a while and it’s fine.

      FTTP-only areas were sold with VoIP which has been fine.

      In the US, Canada, RoI and many other places tens of millions receive their fixed line service via VoIP.

      Video calls via other applications are a very different story.

    2. Avatar photo Chris says:

      BT’s PSTN is fully IP and has been for years. Only the final mile is still currently converted to analogue volts for legacy customer premises infrastructure. It’s a similar arrangement now for much of the ISDN network.

      As BT can run their own segregated network to carry landline phone call traffic at the highest priority with premium Quality of Service, resultant quality is on par with traditional copper analogue networks. With telephony delivered over private network to premises via fibre, call quality should actually be better because it’s IP end-to-end with no baseband conversion until it reaches the speaker in your handset.

      By contrast, the public Internet is heavily contended, has no guarantee for the path voice traffic may take from caller to caller, and is subject to whatever weird things a VoIP provider may do at their interconnect points (including re-encode to lower bit rates to squeeze more capacity from intercontinental trunks).

      That said, a good quality SIP provider will have good quality peering with other telcos, will run a low latency, well managed core network and will offer a choice of high quality codecs for calls into the PSTN. I’ve been making calls at home and at work over SIP for years, and on a properly managed system using adequate providers, quality is equal or better than the old-school System X or ISDN30 on an ATM core network.

      The only thing which is slightly inferior is the round trip time (audio latency). Once you’re encapsulating audio in packets over Ethernet, even on a very performant private MPLS network, the intrinsic overheads of data transmission problems on top of the encode/decode cycle can’t quite compete with the computationally simpler methods BT previously used for the core network (an ATM core).

      So, you get a few more milliseconds of delay, but most people are now used to the quarter second (or more) on mobile phone calls, so landlines will still basically be instantaneous.

      Given the voice network has been IP over Ethernet since the early 2000s (21CN), people won’t really notice any difference.

      In terms of the plebby Internet audio and video over IP (Skype, Zoom, Teams et al) – once everyone is on properly decent Internet with good upload and download capacity, overall call quality should really improve. Software makers will be able to increase the bandwidth the streams use to get better video and audio at lower latencies. Much of the current delay in a video conference is due to having to design in extra buffering to deal with unstable public Internet connections.

      Some services like Discord, Ventrilo, Mumble, Teamspeak and Zoom (with the relevant options enabled) offer low latency, truly broadcast quality audio with far lower latency than the most commonly used programs. SIP and WebRTC technologies support any number of low latency, broadcast quality audio and video formats. Very flexible standards which greatly benefit from ultra-fast, stable and low latency fibre connections.

      The user experience is due to people using crap software or obsolete codecs, not any limitation of the technology.

    3. Avatar photo 125us says:

      @Chris – BT’s voice network is not fully IP. It’s circuit switched TDM at 64Kbps. The VoIP element of 21C was abandoned after a single exchange trial. The network is digital, but it isn’t IP.

      There have been announcements recently about closing that network over replacing it with IP over the next 5 years.

    4. Avatar photo Chris says:

      @125us oh, I had a different understanding. Thanks.

    5. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      ‘Once you’re encapsulating audio in packets over Ethernet, even on a very performant private MPLS network, the intrinsic overheads of data transmission problems on top of the encode/decode cycle can’t quite compete with the computationally simpler methods BT previously used for the core network (an ATM core).

      I’m not sure this is accurate. Having seen networks move from ATM to all-IP if anything latency went down.

      Encoding and decoding is done by vastly more powerful hardware than was handling the ADC and DAC in the past, and Ethernet encapsulation and placement on the wire is not something that takes a very long time.

      Where voice is being properly provisioned a 64k symmetrical channel is nailed up and dealt with with zero queuing. RSVP-TE can be used across an MPLS cloud for this.

      On a gigabit link 1500 bytes takes 12us to transmit, and voice will be going with frames less than a tenth that size.

      The network kit replacing ATM switches is able to encapsulate almost instantly. ASICs devoted to handling it in real time will be taking care of it. Even at the hardware either side encoding and transmission shouldn’t take a millisecond.

      Only intentional buffering to mitigate jitter might cause higher delay, and on a POTS replacement using RSVP-TE and separate VLAN or service flow it should be fine.

      However all that said I work with voice but am far from an expert.

  13. Avatar photo RaptorX says:

    I’m sure that the significant economic damage from brexit and coronavirus will put a big dampener on this. And to think that the brexit disaster is completely self inflicted…

  14. Avatar photo Gedas says:

    Probably I will sound as old grumpy, but new announcement new disappointment for north east. That’s sad.

  15. Avatar photo Vic says:

    Sounds like some of the previous comments are from city dwellers who have no idea of long lines. You will find out when you visit your second homes or take you tent into the country. You will only understand this if you have experience of how IP telephony works. You can forget about mobiles in many rural locations as this signal is non existent or poor at the best. It will be a long time before even a country as small as the UK can claim to have good IP telephony countrywide

    1. Avatar photo Kaitlyn says:

      I’ve experienced being at the maximum copper line length even within a city! And have many rural friends, who barely get a megabit out of ADSL2 with 20-40% dropped packets, and very crackly voice telephony service. The telephone even drops out in the middle of calls of its own accord, which is very frustrating for them after being on hold for an hour or more to a call centre. Presumably the audible crackles are also disrupting the packets.

      Mobile signal is indeed shite there, but I can only imagine fibre would improve everything else for them. Fibre has much lower signal degradation over longer reaches, since it relies on light instead of electricity to carry the signals.

      Presumably their dropped packets, slow speed and crackly phone would all be replaced with reliable, fast, and crystal clear audio. VoIP on their connections right now is already crystal clear, but when packets drop the audio feed sounds like it was replaced with the output from a reverb pedal for a few seconds until they reconnect. Fibre would also make “WiFi calling” on their mobiles feasible for once, as right now there can be a delay of up to a few hours before they receive SMS on their phones (though usually closer to 20 minutes).

      Even many suburban areas are right at the end of allowed copper line length, with mobile black spots inside all their houses and gardens. Leading to all the same issues, not enough internet bandwidth for a video call, etc.

      Basically the only thing I’m worried about is backup power, but already my rural friends have spotty phone service in a blackout. You lift the handset and the dial tone cuts in and out, almost akin to when you have a voicemail – except more intermittent, again due to the long line length. Not all of their cables are properly deeply buried due to living down a dirt road.

      If absolutely everyone who currently receives copper service is genuinely going to receive fibre, and not just those in the most populous areas, then I can only imagine it improving quality of service dramatically. However, if the rollout stops short of reaching every rural subscriber, perhaps requiring rural residents to pay up personally for the final miles, then this could entrench existing telco inequality even further.

    2. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      Given this city dweller’s wife was on TV due to being on a very long line it’s fair to say it isn’t an exclusively rural phenomenon.

  16. Avatar photo Richard Sterne says:

    Battery power for a power cut is ok but what if the cab looses power! Battery back up at home wont help then.

    1. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      On VM’s HFC network most of the distribution cabinets you are proably familiar with do not require power but I believe that the node cabinets and MSAN cabinets get power and battery backup from a nearby power cabinet. For the FTTP network I believe that the virual hub cabinets also get similar power and battery backup. However the ONU at homes are not provided with battery backup.

      For most people a mobile phone is a suitable backup in the event of a power outage or network failure.

    2. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      The distribution cabinets are powered by the same power pillar.

      The UPS only keeps MSANs alive for POTS service. On the HFC VoIP in case of power cut customers will lose telephony.

      Arrangements are made for vulnerable customers.

  17. Avatar photo Andy C says:

    I live in one of the areas covered by this announcement. Last June I was bribed to come off ADSL and take up an 18 month full fibre 50/10 product by BT at a significantly lower price as they wanted to retire the copper network. I know the 50/10 product isn’t marketed but I have it and I watched Openreach string up the new overhead line to install it. I also have the big ugly white box with its battery back up. I guess when my contract ends I might get another bribe to move over to VoIP.

    1. Avatar photo Vic says:

      Andy hope you have some spare batteries when these fail. I would be opening the box now to check what you need. Probably get them from sctewfix

  18. Avatar photo Vic says:

    Interesting to hear from Carl T as to what is in place for vulnerable customers

  19. Avatar photo Vic says:

    Interesting to hear from Carl T as to what is in place for customers who are older or disabled

  20. Avatar photo pissed off techie says:

    Great, Whilst I agree this must be done at some point it would be wonderful if I could actually get FTTP!

    I live in Basingstoke and unless you live in the fancy part you will not get FTTP so ..Nice one BT great move now get Open Reach to actually give all these towns 100% FTTP coverage PLEASE

  21. Avatar photo Phil Filby says:

    Useful article, thank you. Is there a way in which the SAUID codes can be correlated to PSTN numbers to understand which lines will be impacted as the exchange closure notices are publiched?

Comments are closed

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