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Openreach Add 46 UK Exchanges to Copper Phone to Fibre Switch – Tranche 8

Thursday, April 14th, 2022 (12:05 am) - Score 11,904
exchange fibre openreach

Openreach (BT) has today also released the Tranche 8 batch of 46 UK exchange areas where they plan to move away from copper-based analogue phone (PSTN / WLR etc.) services and on to a new all-IP network, which will occur once over 75% of premises in an area can get their “ultrafast broadband” (FTTP and G.fast at 300Mbps+).

At present there are two different, albeit closely related, stages to moving away from the old copper line infrastructure. The first starts with the gradual migration of traditional voice (PSTN) services to all-IP technologies, which is due to complete by December 2025 and is occurring on copper line (e.g. SOGEA) products (i.e. copper and full fibre ISPs are both introducing digital VoIP style voice solutions for customers).

NOTE: Openreach’s full fibre currently covers 7 million UK premises (build rate of c.50,000 per week) and they aim to reach 25 million by Dec 2026 (here).

The second stage involves the ongoing rollout of faster Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband infrastructure (see today’s other big news) – using light signals via optical fibre, instead of slower electrical signals via copper. Only after this second stage has largely completed in an exchange area can you really start to switch-off copper in favour of fibre, which is a longer process as you have to allow a few years for user migration.

The process for fully moving from copper to “fibre” begins once 75% of premises in an exchange are able to receive ultrafast connectivity. We note that hybrid fibre G.fast coverage also counts for this, but its impact will be small (the rollout stopped at 2.83 million premises) and is only relevant where speeds of 300Mbps+ are achievable.

Between the full fibre rollout and the gradual switch away from copper lines, this process will take several years in each area to complete, and the pace will vary from place to place (i.e. some areas will have better fibre coverage than others).

The migration process away from copper usually starts with a “no move back” (i.e. no going back to copper) policy for premises connected with FTTP, which is followed by a “stop-sell” of copper services to new customers (12-months notice is given before this starts and that’s what today’s list represents).

After the above comes the final “withdrawal” phase. At present, Openreach are already preparing to fully shut down and withdraw older analogue products in two trial areas – Salisbury and Mildenhall – and they’re now notifying ISPs that these products will be withdrawn in Spring 2023.

The Next 46 Exchange Locations (Tranche 8)

The 46 exchanges announced today – covering 380,000 premises – takes the total number of exchange upgrades that have already been notified as part of the aforementioned process (including trial exchanges) to around 600 – covering 5 million premises in total. The “stop sell” policy is now active across 250 of these fibre exchanges, covering c. 2.7 million premises.

NOTE: Openreach has around 5,600 exchanges, but hybrid fibre (FTTC, G.fast) and full fibre (FTTP) services are supplied via different exchanges (c.1,000 of that 5,600 total) – so up to 4,600 will eventually close (after 2030) – see here, here and here.

The operator has also added a Stop Sells Page to their website, which makes it easy to see all of these changes. Remember, the following list is tentative, so changes and delays do sometimes occur.

46 New Stop Sell Exchanges in Tranche 8 (Exchange Code)

Bagshot – THBA
Bourne – EMBOURN
Buckhaven – ESBUC
Burntwood – CMBNW
Burton – LCBTN
Chorley – LCCHO
Crayford – LSCRAY
Cross Keys – SWZKS
Dalton-In-Furness – LCDTF
Dudley Hill – MYDUD
Galgate – LCGAL
Gerrards Cross – THGX
Hartford – MRHAR
Hatfield Woodhouse – SLHTW
Hest Bank – LCHET
Hucknall – EMHUCKN
Huxley – WNHUX
Irlam – MRIRL
Llanarmon-Yn-Ial – WNLYI
Llantrisant – SWLLO
Madingley – EAMAD
Manor Park – LVMPK
Newbridge – SWNBI
Northwich – MRNOR
Paignton – WWPAIG
Penicuik – ESPCK
Pickering – MYPIC
Radyr – SWRRY
Ranmoor – SLRN
Reading Earley – THEAR
Rhos On Sea – WNROS
Rosehearty – NSRHT
Ruddington – EMRDDIN
Selby – MYSEL
Skipton – MYSKP
Snaith – MYSNH
Tattenhall – WNTHL
Tilston – WNTIL
Tranent – ESTNT
Weaverham – MRWEA
Wednesbury – CMWED
Wentworth – THWTH
Whissendine – EMWHISS
Willowcroft – EMWILLO
Wilpshire – LCWIL
Wilstead – SMWLS

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
16 Responses
  1. awelshman says:

    I was moved to digital voice last October and I’m on FTTC

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Yes that’s normal, as above, the move to all-IP is occurring on both copper and full fibre lines, and you don’t have to wait until the formal withdrawal process starts, so long as your ISP has launched supporting products.

  2. Richard the Third says:

    Serious question:

    Openreach have decided NOT to put FTTP on my street. What happens when an exchange goes digital / fibre and they have not put 100% of customers on Fibre? They keep their copper cables ?

    1. John says:

      Yes.

      Anywhere that has no FTTP will remain on copper (VDSL2/G.Fast).

      The 75% Ultrafast target actually includes G.Fast above 300Mb/s.

      They can still move customers to All IP voice and close local exchanges with customers on FTTC based connections.

    2. Alex A says:

      The copper turn off is in 2 stages, this is stage 1.

      Openreach offer PSTN using their equipment at the exchanges, this equipment is old and is being shut down since it is expensive and difficult to repair. This does not include the copper cables and FTTC cabs.

      If you are on FTTC you will use the voip port on the back of the ISP router but the Internet will come of FTTC as before.

      There is an exception to this, TalkTalk. They have their own voice equipment at exchanges instead of using openreach’s. Since they only rent the copper pair from openreach they are not affected by the switch off.

    3. Winston Smith says:

      After PTSN switch off, only the copper that runs from the cabinet to your property will be in use and will not carry power. You will no longer be connected to your local exchange and so they’ll be able to de-commission that once all the exchange only lines are dealt with.

  3. John says:

    That Stop Sells page isn’t new. It has been around for a long time now.

  4. Chris says:

    Openreach plan to keep FTTP & FTTC for next 50 years!

  5. Matt says:

    They still haven’t done the full firber hear there only siting over the road the lazy gits if you want to win me from virgin o2 your doing a poor job already bt

    1. John Lewis says:

      Well matt jfyi, problems arise within the spine I. E. A blocked duct which could involve getting civils out to unblock the duct where there could be a blockage, that’s just one out of several possibilities, point being you shouldn’t make a assumption when you don’t know the facts

    2. Paul Marsh says:

      I agree they have received Billions in subsidies and just bought a load of white van from Turkey.
      All tgey can do is block the roads . This started 10 years ago.
      Look at the Cities and towns Rhos on Why ?? Really but most Northern towns ZERO This was public money and needs investigating.

    3. 125us says:

      @Paul

      The public money wasn’t for FTTP. It was given to councils who contracted to deliver the most improvement to the most people with the funds available. That meant building FTTC cabinets in most cases.

      Would you rather your council had delivered much better broadband for 5,000 people, or fantastic broadband for 500?

  6. Miles says:

    Where I live I’m being told that FTTP isn’t being rolled out in my area. Yet people at the bottom of my street and further up the hill on my street have access to FTTP. Openreach say that they aren’t rolling out in my area. Yet again we’ve been ignored and now stuck with 17mbps at best.
    Any suggestions as to what I can do?

    1. T says:

      FTTP will be rolled out eventually although might be a way off if they’re saying that, if there are no other copper/fibre providers in your area you can see if wireless solutions like Starlink are within your budget

    2. Peach says:

      Openreach run all sorts of small scale programmes without aiming for large scale coverage of an exchange, sometimes you do also get areas which are geographically close but fed from a different exchange so there could be all sorts of reasons for that

  7. Mario says:

    12 years after installing the cabinet at the end of the street, Openreach still hasnt enabled or installed FTTC to it. OK, I live near HS2 but still so they can give that as an empty excuse but it shouldnt have taken this long (and no idea when its going to happen) when G.Network has installed fibre outside my flat.

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