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Openreach Trial Broadband Speed Limits to Nudge Users Off Copper UPDATE2

Friday, Jan 27th, 2023 (2:05 pm) - Score 22,360
copper vs fibre optic openreach engineer

Openreach has announced that, as part of their plan to retire older analogue UK phone services by December 2025, they will conduct a trial that “responsibly [adjusts] the performance of the remaining analogue services” (i.e. blocking out-bound calls and limiting broadband ISP speeds) to “encourage” customers to upgrade. OUCH.

The trials – due to take place in their existing testing locations of Salisbury (Wiltshire) and Mildenhall (Suffolk) – will see restrictions introduced that “prevent out-bound telephone calls” – with the exception of calls to the emergency services (including numbers for Alarm Receiving Centres (ARCs) and ISP contacts) – and “limit broadband speeds“, in order to “prompt customer action“.

NOTE: Openreach notified providers in January last year that analogue services would be withdrawn in the trial areas by 19th April 2023, but that deadline has now been extended to October 9th to test the new service measures.

By responsibly adjusting the performance of the remaining analogue services, it’s hoped that customers in the trial areas will be prompted to contact their provider and upgrade their line, preventing the ultimate risk of their service being switched off,” says Openreach.

We can certainly understand the logic here, but it’s difficult not to see this as being extremely harsh and liable to provoke an angry backlash, particularly as those who are typically among the last to upgrade may also be the ones who need the most help. The punishment approach to “encourage” switching could, we suspect, result in ISPs needing to handle a rise in consumer complaints, as well as some conflicts with contract terms etc.

In terms of that limit on broadband speeds, for those remaining on the legacy network who don’t have an agreed exemption, Openreach will introduce a “reduction in broadband download speeds to around 2Mbps” from 24th April 2023 in the trial areas. We’re still trying to clarify the details around this, particularly as the language is a bit muddled (i.e. broadband is already a ‘digital‘ service).

The barring of out-bound calls will then be introduced from 5th June 2023. The changes will be introduced in batches to better manage customer responses.

James Lilley, Director for Managed Customer Migrations at Openreach, said:

“With the deadline for retiring analogue services approaching, we’re working closely with service provider to migrate their customers smoothly and safely off the old analogue network.

Our trials in Salisbury and Mildenhall have been a great testing ground to identify and iron out issues, and we’ve already managed to upgrade the vast majority of customers in those areas successfully. Having said that, a small minority of customers are yet to upgrade despite several attempts by their service provider to contact them, so we’re planning some gentle measures which will nudge them to contact their provider and have a conversation about their future service.”

The operator is, however, at pains to point out that “protecting vulnerable customers during this process is a key priority” and they are working closely with providers, local councils and industry, to make sure those customers (such as people relying on vital services like care alarms that use the legacy network) are exempt and unaffected by the changes. But in reality, it can be very difficult to reach everybody.

At the end of the day, our biggest concern here is whether Openreach and ISPs have done enough to directly communicate exactly what the PSTN switch-off will mean to consumers, and what those users need to do in order to adapt to it. We’re already in 2023 and the clock is fast ticking down, but a straw poll of my own friends and family revealed that very few knew what was coming.

Put another way, we should be getting the communication side right first. On the other hand, this change has been coming for a long time and, at a certain point, there will be no good or easy options left for shifting some consumers off legacy services. Like it or not, that means upsetting a few people, which is often better than simply leaving them to be disconnected.

However, in the two trial areas, Openreach does note that there has been extensive comms activity. For example, ISPs have tried sending multiple letters to customers that advise of the change, email campaigns, press and local advertising, directly calling customers, knocking on doors and BT even ran a battle bus around the areas (as well as some town hall drop-in events). Now we just need to see all of this repeated on a national scale.

At present this is all just a trial and Openreach informs us that this isn’t something they’d necessarily do at scale nationally (i.e. it’s more about seeing how ISPs handle it and what they can actually do). The bulk of responsibility here naturally falls on the shoulders of broadband ISPs and phone providers since, short of extending the trials forever or cutting people off, there’s a limit to what Openreach can do.

Nevertheless, we do have significant concerns about the idea unilaterally of blocking out-bound calls without a legal justification, since that has many potential security and health implications for how some people need to communicate, which go beyond the welcome exemption for emergency services.

NOTE: As some people are still unclear on this, the above isn’t exclusively about shifting consumers on to full fibre (FTTP) lines, since the transition to IP based services also occurs in areas only covered by hybrid fibre (FTTC, G.fast) or pure copper based ADSL lines. So even if you can’t get FTTP yet, you’ll still be affected. But withdrawal of copper is still the ultimate end-goal, even if it may take many years to reach everybody.

UPDATE 3:44pm

Openreach has informed us that the speed limits will apply to those on their Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) lines, which we assume will reflect those on older broadband and phone line rental bundles. Under the PSTN switch-off plan, such customers will normally need to adopt an equivalent SOGEA (standalone broadband) product (i.e. FTTC but without the analogue phone service – an IP based phone alternative may be offered).

The operator added that they’re also expecting ISPs to try other / similar ways of prompting end customers to call or upgrade, such as by sending out batches of postcards to those residents identified as being active on legacy lines. Openreach will be repeatedly prompting ISPs about all this, again, over the coming months and years.

Finally, providers will have the ability to request that certain lines are exempted from the managed migration, which might be another avenue that some consumers can use until they’re ready.

UPDATE 31st Jan 2023

Added a bit more detail above on how ISPs and Openreach have been communicating the PSTN switch-off to customers in the trial areas.

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Mark-Jackson
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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Comments
121 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Alec says:

    Would love to see them dial down the 2Mb classic ADSL. back to dialup maybe?! would love to move if they actually upgrraded something to offer another option. still not on any roadmap for anything between now and 2025 according to openreach.. *golf claps*

    1. Avatar photo Bob says:

      With existing contracts BT would be in breach of the consumer rights act

    2. Avatar photo Icaras says:

      BT have to provide you at least 10Mbps under their USO Ofcom obligations.

  2. Avatar photo CC says:

    I see CityFibre’s deep infiltration unit is doing well.

  3. Avatar photo Jonny says:

    I would assume this is something that will be deployed in the final months before services are retired, and is only going to affect people who are customers of CPs that have done nothing proactively to inform their customers about what is going on. A degraded service that alerts people to an upcoming change is preferable to it being switched off one day.

  4. Avatar photo DaveG1 says:

    I wonder how Openreach are going to do that when they are only the network provider.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I can’t see that being the issue, since it’s about moving customers to more modern IP based phone and fibre-based broadband lines on the same network.

    2. Avatar photo Dave says:

      Port speed on the dslam

    3. Avatar photo Vince says:

      I’d be interesting to see what they do about situations where “VDSL” (FTTC) is available but it is slower than the ADSL service which is why some of my customers remain on ADSL – some really irritating edge cases who will be even *worse* off.

  5. Avatar photo Will says:

    This is brilliant! I have no idea why people still remain on copper services if they don’t have anything that won’t work on fibre!

    1. Avatar photo Derek says:

      Because in some areas copper is as fast as the available fibre and until recently cheaper. We had to switch to 4G we hich fortunately arrived last year

    2. Avatar photo Will says:

      I’m not sure about that. From all the fibre packages I’ve seen, they offer at least 100 Mb/s which is faster than any copper based service. Also, it’s a lot more reliable.

    3. Avatar photo Will says:

      Well, any FTTC service, yes G.fast is a thing but is very limited and is *only* up to 330 Mb/s download, most if not all FTTP providers offer 1 Gb/s download.

    4. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      People stay on copper because it works for them, some people don’t see the point in going through the hassle of getting fibre installed to get the same service. I have 36Mb./s FTTC and it does what I need.

      This does prove the point i made not so long ago, that Openreach can change muck around with their network to change people’s connection speed. I really hope it backfires and people say stick you and go for an altnet instead and openreach loses millions

    5. Avatar photo dee.jay says:

      I wondered how long it would be until you showed up, Adrian.

      And yet you were lamenting about your sluggish internet over on TBB 🙂

      Would be interested to know what the fault is when you find it.

    6. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @dee.jay, I have no idea what the problem was, it all seems fine this evening, as I said over there, the speed tests were fine, just everything seemed sluggish for a couple of days, maybe 3 days. Technology at the end of the day, sometimes things don’t work as they should, I was just curious what it could have been. It was not a problem, I could do everything I needed, just not so snappy. Streaming still worked ok, it was just when they changed to adverts and back that it seemed to buffer.
      It may not have happened on FTTP, but if the problem was with Plusnet then I doubt FTTP would have solved the problem. Unless there is some traffic management going on to try to push me to FTTP.

      i don’t mind waiting a few more minutes for a file to download. Like the idiot this afternoon who rushed past me with his 4×4 on a small bridge when I was on my bike to get past me, and yet I caught up with him in my road, sometimes rushing don’t get you anywhere

    7. Avatar photo Will says:

      @Ad47uk, the thing is you don’t get the same service on FTTP as you do with copper. Firstly, they’re completely separate technologies. Secondly, FTTP is way more reliable. Thirdly, the speed will be faster unless you purposely go for a slower package than copper could provide you, not sure why you’d do that, but anyway!

    8. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      They may be different technologies, but the end result to me is still the same, I can browse the net, get emails, watch videos, listen to music, use my smart home stuff, pay my bills, download files, changing to a FTTP is not going to change that. If I stay with 36Mb/s FTTP, then what is the point in going through the hassle of having FTTP installed? You say about reliability, well for the most part my FTTC have been very reliable, it did have a bit of a slowdown for a few days, but it is fine now and I did have a problem a few years ago where it would only sync to a Huawei modem and nothing else, even confused Openreach, but it still worked, just meant I had to keep a Huawei modem in line until it was sorted out, when ever that was.
      You say you don’t know what people would go for the same speed with FTTP they have got with FTTC, well maybe because they don’t want to pay more for something they don’t need.

      I pay £24.58 for a 36Mb/s FTTc connection from Plusnet, now I could save a few pence a month as said above if I went to FTTP at the same speed. If I wanted to go faster I could go for say 74Mb.s for £27.99, Which is £3.41 a month more than what I am paying now, which is not a lot per month, just about buy a pint from a local pub with their own brewery for that, but it is still an extra £3.41 a month I would be paying out for no reason as going for a faster speed will not make the slightest difference to me. They are also offering me 145Mb/s for the same price for some strange reason, but again it would not make any difference to me and I doubt I would even notice the speed update. I presume they think if they give me a higher speed for the same price for 24 months I would not want to downgrade as I would love the extra speed.
      Now the 24-month thing is another problem, I am sorry, but I don’t want to sign up for 24 months and this seems to be the thing with FTTP.

      I am not going to pay more for something don’t require,

    9. Avatar photo TrueFibre says:

      Hi Ad47uk you’re absolutely right people like copper because it’s works them. But with that being said in reality technology is moving forward copper can’t cope with demand I can see beyond 2040 No FTTC No G.Fast it will probably be just FTTP. Coppers time up.

  6. Avatar photo Billy O says:

    Maybe they should actually FTTP up everywhere first. In a town with FTTP, but not on my street or any of the other ones within a 1 mile radius. Hence why we’re all on .. yuck .. Virgin Media.

  7. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    But I thought according to BT alla long, that people on FTTC WERE on fibre 😉

    1. Avatar photo haha says:

      I know I get some very angry punters some days saying they are on Fibre so don’t need to move.. and that’s before I tell them about 2025!

    2. Avatar photo New_Londoner says:

      If they are only finding out about PSTN switch off in 2025 now the their service provider has done an incredibly bad job with its communications given this was announced 5+ YEARS ago!

    3. Avatar photo TrueFibre says:

      People are on Fibre with FTTC Fibre to the Cabinet that’s in the name Fibre to the Cabinet Fibre Optic from your local telephone exchange to the big Green Cabinet then from the Green Cabinet to your house aka FTTC. Not be confused with FTTP Fibre to the Premises aka FTTP or Full Fibre. Fibre optic cables use pulse of light and copper uses electricity which is more prone to electromagnetic interference aka EMI and other interference watch impact speed and performance.

    4. Avatar photo TrueFibre says:

      Fibre optic cables to the Green Cabinet then from the Green Cabinet to your house Copper AKA FTTC

  8. Avatar photo William Marshall says:

    I would love to be offered a fibre alternative, sadly nothing going to happen as I am 6km from the nearest exchange and can only get 1.5mb down and .5 up on my copper line, so much for rural upgrades!, not seen any around this part of the woods in Lincolnshire

    1. Avatar photo Kevin Salmon says:

      Lincolnshire isn’t the best place for FTTP. It will take many years until Open Reach reach this area.

  9. Avatar photo AnotherTim says:

    I can understand “encouraging” customers to move from PSTN to VoIP, but restricting broadband speeds seems very wrong to me. Lots of areas (such as mine) won’t have anything better than ADSL2+ before 2025, so there is nothing better (from BT/OR) to migrate to.

    1. Avatar photo Jonny says:

      Then you aren’t going to be affected

    2. Avatar photo Harry Sachs says:

      The briefing states anyone with an exemption, in flight order or outside an all IP footprint is out of scope. If you can only get ADSL you would not be required to migrate.

    3. Avatar photo haha says:

      I was going to say they should allow the likes of Plusnet to do VoIP seeing as they have to send people to BT – but as it’s about to be swallowed up – well. I guess does not matter. Apart to those who lost their line and didn’t want to but no one told them only BT do it in their group..

  10. Avatar photo Andy says:

    I can see one of the legal claim companies doing an advert on TV – “If you were prevented from making an outgoing phone call, sign up here” – breach of contract etc

    1. Avatar photo Jamie says:

      Would imagine their phone lines would be pretty quiet if their clientele aren’t able to ring them!

    2. Avatar photo Kevin Salmon says:

      Jamie got the point lol

  11. Avatar photo Dassa says:

    This seems like a very sensible approach. If someone won’t listen to their supplier of voice / internet services (the CPs) and they won’t listen to Openreach who will have sent them a postcard or two then the choice is between simply cutting them off or somehow making it plain to them that they need to do something. This falls into the latter camp so overall a positive move.

    There is a different argument to be had about whether the CPs need a higher level of engagement with their customers so that it never gets that far, but that is completely separate to a discussion about Openreach’s actions.

    To be blunt, if a customer get cut off unexpectedly then their CP has failed in their duty of care and deserves all the grief that will no doubt rain down on them.

    1. Avatar photo haha says:

      Really? why are you NOT living in China? seeing as you like the dictatorsip sort of approach?

      This is fudging AWFUL!

  12. Avatar photo Alex says:

    Isn’t this better than being cut off entirely, which was the original plan?

    1. Avatar photo NE555 says:

      Yes. This is called “brownout” and is a common approach when shutting off any sort of service, to give notice to users who might not otherwise realise what’s happening, before they lose it for good.

      Expect to see lots more of this in the run up to Dec 2025, when all FTTC users will need to be migrated to SOGEA + digital voice.

      It’s a *bit* unfair to penalise the data service when it’s only the voice service that’s going, but you need some way to degrade the service and make people sit up and notice – especially to realise that analogue 999 will stop working after Dec 2025. After degrading the speed, perhaps hour-long blackouts will be needed.

      The alternative might be to start auto-dialling people every week, then every day, then every hour – I suspect people would hate that even more.

      The problem is, you can’t just force-migrate people from FTTC to SOGEA. Even if they have not made a call on the line in two years, they *might* still have a phone plugged into it for emergency use, and still expect it to work.

  13. Avatar photo Harry Sachs says:

    A slightly disingenuous comment of “we assume those with ADSL based pure copper broadband lines will be part of the target audience, which reflects a group of people who already have to suffer dire speeds”

    The brief clearly states to be in scope you have to be in an all IP footprint which by default means ADSL is not your only option.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      At the time of writing, I’d only seen the vague press release.

  14. Avatar photo Meadmodj says:

    Openreach have obviously identified a scenario where they need a final warning to anyone who has continued to ignore the emails from their ISP that a service is being discontinued and that they need to re-contract their broadband or landline to IP only.

    Most will be be covered by FTTP or encouraged by price but there will be a significant percentage that still need to be converted to either SOAGEA or SOTAP. Restrictions may include using VoIP over the ADSL/FTTC. OR however will need to meet their agreement with their ISP.

    I am surprised that more ISPs are not transferring now. A recent family member renewed their Sky (18 months) this month but remained on FTTC and their landline despite now being in a OR FTTP area. Looks like there is a bow wave of work being created. Not good.

    1. Avatar photo N says:

      For some tarrifs and depending what offers are opted in and not, fttc is more expensive than fttp on some plans.

    2. Avatar photo haha says:

      Agreed. I’ve sold FTTP about 16 times so far this week where the base cost of 36/10 is cheaper than ADSL at 2/1! (£27,00 vs £35.13ish)

    3. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @N, it is not just the price, yes I can get FTTp cheaper than my current FTTC connection, slightly if I went for the same speed of 36mb/s I am on now. I would save £2.59 a month by changing to FTTP, but then they stick me into a 24 month contract and this is one of the problems I have with FTTP, the long two-year contracts, 18 months is bad enough. Having a quick look at some broadband comparison sites, I came up with three providers that offer 18-month contract on FTTP, Talk Talk, whom I would not touch with a bargepole, sky and Shell energy, there may be more it was just a quick search with a couple of comparison sites.
      no FTTP packages as far as I can see with a 12-month contract.

      While I am not expecting a 12-month contract for a decent price, it would be nice, but I am not expecting it, I would expect an 18-month one and shoving people onto a 24-month one is to be honest extracting the Urine.

      The other problem is the installation, it is not just a matter of plugging stuff in and some of us just don’t want that hassle, I had that when I first went to FTTC and ADSL for that matter, while neither needed a hole drilled though the wall or a box screwed to the wall like FTTP does, I still needed to muck around finding a date that they could come and do their job, not easy when you work and no one else is in the house.

      I don’t know, but I wonder how much pressure providers will put on people to update to a higher speed than they need, as I said I don’t need anything higher than 36Mb/s, but if I said I wanted fibre, would they try to get me to go up to a higher speed? I know I can say no.

      As I said above, the main problem is the contract, I don’t want to go into a 24 month contract, been there done that and ended up with a broadband provider that was good for the first 12 months or so and then went to pot and I had to put up with them for another 12 months.

  15. Avatar photo dave says:

    Am I the only one that finds this a totally mental approach? Just stop selling the services and move customers over to an equivalent fibre based service.

    If they go ahead with this, I think there’s going to be quite the backlash.

    1. Avatar photo Harry Sachs says:

      It would appear so, they announced it in 2018, then enforced it in 2020/21. Asking the question is a demonstration of what they are up against

    2. Avatar photo B1n says:

      Exactly right – simply stop allowing customers to recontract to copper services. Within 18 months from now they’ll not have a single copper customer who could have had FTTP. What’s so hard about this? Why *encourage* people to migrate, when you’re saying they *have to* before 2025?

    3. Avatar photo Jonny says:

      Customers don’t need to recontract to retain services – the minimum contract on their broadband service could have expired five years ago and they are paying a rolling monthly price. ISPs don’t cut people off when the minimum contract period ends, so there’s no natural date when things will stop working before PSTN withdrawal.

      This trial is about forcing people to get in touch with their providers. In practise I’d expect any provider that wants to stay in business to be handling this well in advance of any actions by Openreach being necessary, because you’re not going to stick with a phone provider that managed your service so poorly that outgoing phone calls stopped working.

    4. Avatar photo Will says:

      @B1n, the 2025 date has nothing to do with FTTP, that is the WLR switch off.

    5. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @B1n, that is fine, but providers will need to drop the 24 month contract

  16. Avatar photo JamesP says:

    Wouldn’t it just be better for Openreach to start introducing more manufactured line noise to copper once FTTP is available in an area? Users will complain about issues and then the ISPs will then offer to migrate them to an reliable faster FTTP service free of charge?

    The best way of course would be for ISPs to contact existing customers with an FTTP service available and to offer to migrate them to a reliable faster service free of charge with some sort of cashback. This would encourage take up without any underhand tactics!

    Understandably, there will still be folk that won’t want to change.

    1. Avatar photo haha says:

      Not to mention the sheer amount of faults that will be raised – all at the ISP’s expense. It’s bad enough now!

  17. Avatar photo haha says:

    Wicked – according to them no FTTP love here until 2026.. Maybe by then too many alt nets will have their business for them to matter

    1. Avatar photo New_Londoner says:

      People commenting that the altnets will somehow resolve this need to bear in mind that Openreach already covers more premises than all of them combined, and that the gap is accelerating. And that’s before you factor in the forthcoming wave of consolidation that will distract the altnets.

    2. Avatar photo GreenLantern22 says:

      “People commenting that the altnets will somehow resolve this need to bear in mind that Openreach already covers more premises than all of them combined, and that the gap is accelerating.” => Totally incorrect. Since you are comparing Altnets with Openreach you should only look at full fibre as altnets only have full fibre services. Openreach will retiring their copper network in 2025 and have already stopped selling copper services in a lot of areas. So even if you wanted to count Openreach copper coverage the advantage will not last for too long. According to the Ofcom Connected Nations 2022 report England has 10.1m Full Fibre connections. Altnets already cover more than half of that. It was 5.46 million premises at June 2022 and expected to hit 11.6m by the end of 2022. And the gap is likely to increase, Openreach can’t simply match the work of so many independent Altnets.

      https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0034/249289/connected-nations-uk-report.pdf
      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2022/06/alternative-full-fibre-isps-cover-5-46-million-uk-premises-in-2022.html

    3. Avatar photo New_Londoner says:

      @GreenLantern22
      Quote “Openreach can’t simply match the work of so many independent Altnets”

      Suggest you check again. Openreach FTTP already covers approximately 9.5 million premises, IIRC will hit around 25 million by 2026.

  18. Avatar photo dennis gange says:

    Gas and power companies would not be allowed to do this without a strong negative feedback, isn’t b/b another important part of our lives and necessary.

    1. Avatar photo Just a thought says:

      It’s slightly different with gas and electricity. You can’t say “you can have electricity to boil a kettle but not to watch the TV.” It is more akin to the power company supplying you with economy 7 and saying, “we’re withdrawing the tariff, your heaters will not switch on with the radio time signal any more contact your provider to switch” and then having the odd evening when they only give you 1hr of rather than 7 prompting you to call and ask why your heating isn’t very warm.

  19. Avatar photo Adam says:

    This push to get everyone’s phone over the broadband is completely backwards. Ours was done last year by Virgin with zero warning… the phone just went dead, so we called an engineer out. He fixed it by connecting the phone outlet to the router, and said we should have had a letter about it… but we didn’t.

    Then yesterday afternoon, my mother was on a call to a friend when the line just went dead. Turned out the router had decided to reboot itself, which takes up to 10 minutes. Now, my mother is 79 and disabled, and I’m her full time carer. In recent months, I’ve had call an ambulance or for medical advice several times; suppose this had happened on one of those calls?

    They are forcing people onto a substandard, less reliable service, and despite the potential savings for the telco’s, the costs aren’t likely to come down for the customers.

    1. Avatar photo T says:

      There’s a few reasons to question the reliability of the old system,
      Spare parts for the old PSTN equipment are expensive or aren’t readily available anymore
      Fibre is more resilient than copper so overall reliability/downtime should improve.
      Of course there will always be issues with equipment failures/power cuts but the occasional router reset is better than spending weeks with intermittent noise on the line

    2. Avatar photo Will says:

      It’s about the long term reliability, not a one off event.

    3. Avatar photo Kevin Salmon says:

      T is right, and the copper wires theft too

  20. Avatar photo Just a thought says:

    Maybe a first step would be a recorded message.

    Allow the 999 and call pendant exceptions. But you can’t exempt every carer’s and GP’s number.
    When outgoing calls are made, first play “Your type of phone line is being withdrawn, you must contact your phone provider to arrange this. Press 1 to be connected to your provider, press 2 to acknowledge and continue with your call and have your provider call you back later, for urgent calls wait on the line for 30seconds to be connected.”
    The recipient could then be played a similar message “the caller ringing you is using a legacy phone line and their connection has been delayed whist they are reminded of the need to upgrade”
    In that way vulnerable people will always get through. People recieving the call, that know the caller will may be prompted to help, or simply know they are being called by a Luddite.

  21. Avatar photo Numberite Ltd says:

    I am a little concerned with this “Force them”, “Cut them off”, etc. If BT/OpenReach know the line requires upgrading shouldn’t it be speaking with the ISP to get this done and penalise them?

    As a supplier, if “my” supplier gives me a list of do something or we will cut them off and you lose business, then I would contact them ASAP.

    Logically, most of those lagging are older people (apologies agest!) or older/low-tech companies are likely with BT so are there any figures as to if BT has done any moving clients off of PSTN or is it just those blasted, lazy LLU’s sitting on these clients and not communicating with them? I am an LLU supplier and jump at any chance to make things better for a client.

    So, who are these ISP’s sitting on this? BT?

    1. Avatar photo Oatcakes says:

      BT are actively moving customers to sogea. All new orders/regrade’s will force the change to sogea/digital voice. On top of this active migrations are restarting with advisors being given additional refresh training in the order management teams to help deal with any issues.

      Any customers being migrated over are also being provided free of charge handset’s or digital voice adapters to help mitigate issues.

      The big issue at the moment appears to be when properties are changing exchange due to fibre upgrades(over 4000 exchanges will be closing with the switching off of the PSTN network) As telephone numbers are tied to exchanges there are issues porting the number over to digital jf not done prior to a fibre upgrade request.

      Effectively as the pstn is active in a different exchange the network records will state the incorrect exchange details when compared to the broadband. Due to this port requests can fail if dates do not align on backend systems.

      Long story short, change to dv ASAP and before a full fibre upgrade. This allows the number to be ported to VoIP where the number is linked with the broadband via subscriber IDs (RVSID AND RBSID are linked together, on pstn they are not linked in this way and are independent)

  22. Avatar photo Daza says:

    Does anyone remember analogue TV being turned off. I think that would have been much worse than your phone line being turned off for most old age pensioners. As long as it’s advertised well everything should be fine.

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      But the way analogue TV was switch off was handled was a lot better than the way this changing people to digital voice is. It was in newspapers, on the news and adverts for years before it happened, you Talk to most people and they will have no idea that their voice service will need a router to work soon. The whole thing is a mess and I blame out of reach.
      don’t get me wrong, the digital TV service itself is a right mess, freeview is a total and complete waste of space, but the communication for the switch over was pretty good, which makes a change for this country.

    2. Avatar photo New_Londoner says:

      @Ad46uk
      Quote “The whole thing is a mess and I blame out of reach [sic]”

      Why? The switch off was first raised with industry over five years and confirmed in 2018. The communications providers jealously guard their relationships with their customers and generally prevent direct interaction with Openreach. Therefore any dissatisfaction with communications about the PSTN switch off should be directed towards them.

    3. Avatar photo Tonyp says:

      Analogue TV switch off – which was reasonably well publicised – did not affect 999 or other life sensitive services.

    4. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @New_Londoner, the problem is, no one told the public.

  23. Avatar photo Keith Obvious says:

    Sounds like someone wants to switch off an exchange…..

    1. Avatar photo Oatcakes says:

      4 in 5 are shutting, will be interesting how it will work with altnets renting spacs

  24. Avatar photo martyn perry says:

    Well open reach you are a joke I been waiting for the fibre to be connected for over 5 years the cables are in the ground right out side my door half my road has got it what is the problem

  25. Avatar photo Will says:

    The update says about FTTC/VDSL, but what about areas that are ADSL only that have access to FTTP (and there are loads of addresses in that boat), surely that would also be worth it?

  26. Avatar photo Lactophobe says:

    Plusnet customers are not offered a VOIP service, if present customers drop their analogue phone to switch to a third party VOIP provider – keeping their number – in preparation to switching to FTTP, Plusnet presently will cease the internet service.

    They really need to think this through.

    1. Avatar photo Dave says:

      Plusnet dies in soon and everyone will be on BT or EE

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Dave, I have been told differently and Plusnet will no doubt stay as a budget provider, if they do change, then I will certainly go as BT is awful, terrible customer service and overpriced and I just have no interest in going to EE

  27. Avatar photo Ian Wigg says:

    Perhaps it should be made a legal requirement, going forwards, for all ISPs to provide a UPS to ensure that VoIP still functions during power cuts.

  28. Avatar photo TrueFibre says:

    This just proves my point it doesn’t matter how many questions you ask Openreach they’re going to do the opposite what you ask. I simply asked the question what will to FTTC/VDSL2 beyond 2030 and said FTTC will not change but there now they will reduce the download speed I do understand there saying this Openreach has informed us that the speed limits will apply to those on their Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) lines, which we assume will reflect those on older broadband and phone line rental bundles. Under the PSTN switch-off plan, such customers will normally need to adopt an equivalent SOGEA (standalone broadband) product (i.e. FTTC but without the analogue phone service – an IP based phone alternative may be offered).

    But this may change but remember the uk government wants all Huawei equipment off 5G network and FTTC lines.

    1. Avatar photo The witcher says:

      The proposed speed reduction only applies to those in the 2 trial area where copper services will be ceased in April.
      The potential barring of outgoing calls seems extreme. Maybe an automatic message when users try make a call?

  29. Avatar photo Jack says:

    This will surely push customers… Towards signing up with Netomnia who has Salisbury in their rollout

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      I hope they do, I hope a load of people change to Alt networks and Openreach loses millions

  30. Avatar photo Phil says:

    Not allow to do this. You pay for the service FTTC 40/10, 80/20, G.fast via FTTC Pod 160/30 or 330/50.

    Openreach – YOU ARE DISGRACEFUL. I BE READY TO SUED YOU IN COURT if you do limit my speed at 2Mbps!

    1. Avatar photo The witcher says:

      Do you realise this is in the TRIAL areas only Mildenhall and Salisbury? Come April anyone still using legacy PSTN in these areas will be DISCONNECTED. They have less than 3 MONTHS to transition to another service. This is a last ditch effort to make them engage before they are disconnected.

    2. Avatar photo Will says:

      Oh, Phil… It’s for people who can order FTTP not who can’t!

    3. Avatar photo New_Londoner says:

      @Phil
      You can sue your ISP but not Openreach as you only have a contract with the foreign company.

    4. Avatar photo New_Londoner says:

      *former

    5. Avatar photo TrueFibre says:

      We all do respect phill yes it’s just a TRIAL but they can’t keep upgrading the old telephone Cooper network all the time some of those cables have been underground since 1900 or maybe longer but technology must move on. As more demand for speed increases cooper cannot cope yes the max speed for g.fast is 1Gbps at 212 MHz over very short distances and FTTC/VDSL2 Line speeds can reach 100Mbps. That’s reason Openreach has capped FTTC at 80Mbps Openreach has went for stability over speed. Because 100Mbps would be unstable conditions that why full fibre is the future did you know one fibre cable can deliver speeds over 200Tbps that crazy speeds.

  31. Avatar photo JP says:

    Shower of s***es

  32. Avatar photo Ian_M says:

    I am all for the move to an all-IP connection provided that all the required infrastructure is in place and there is not an increase in cost to the end user, this is after all a cost saving measure for BT. One aspect of this very rarely gets discussed, and that is power cuts. I live in an area that at time has had several extended power cuts. When that happens all digital phones stop working unless you have a UPS installed for all the affected items, and even then most UPS’s will run out of power in less than an hour. I have an old analogue phone plugged in so that I can still make calls (especially to the electricity provider) when that happens. I know mobile is touted as the alternative but we do not have indoor mobile coverage and even outside you have to walk a distance to get a borderline (soon to be switched off) 3G signal. There are some flimsy Ofcom rules regarding providing BBU for vulnerable customers to ensure emergency phone cover, but you need to know about it because your ISP is unlikely to provide it by default.

    1. Avatar photo Bob says:

      Bt only has enough battery power for 8 hours

  33. Avatar photo Optimist says:

    According to one of the ISPs trying to get me to sign up to FTTP via CityFibre, separate 13-amp sockets for the ONT and the router are needed, rather than just one using an adapter.

    That would mean installing extra sockets, as the room which houses my PC set up has only two sockets currently, just ONE of which powers the PC itself, the router, printer and various chargers as needed.

    I find it astonishing that the ONT and router cannot be powered from one socket – do they really consume that must electricity?

    1. Avatar photo Ian_M says:

      They should only use tiny amounts of power. I would suspect it is more to do with the general discouragement to use multi way adaptors or extension cables for what are virtually permanent installations.

    2. Avatar photo The witcher says:

      Oy provides flexibility where the router can be sited in a different location to the ONT. With many new builds pre wired with network connections it makes it easy to put the router where the owner would prefer

  34. Avatar photo Philip says:

    I don’t see how this works one can’t keep billing as normal and degrade the service. It is the responsibility of the telcos to migrate customers off a service being retired and onto a VOIP / FTTC / FTTP solution. There will always be some that decline a change of service but then there will be a published end of service date just as there was with analogue TV channels.

    Virgin Media are sweeping folks off the analogue POTS on to VOIP at a pace. One could assume they don’t want Openreach on their heals but it also brings phone issues into the hands of VM’s fault fix engineers.

  35. Avatar photo Martin says:

    The way to move people is via price adjustments.

    Make the obsolete legacy products more expensive.

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      That is kind of happening, with providers offering FTTP services at a lower price than the equivalent FTTC service. Plusnet will supply me with a 36Mb/s FTTp connection for £2.69 less than what I am paying now. Not really much of a saving. How many providers want to run the risk of losing customers by pushing up the price of FTTVC too much? Certainly not now with the increases because of inflation.
      I did notice that Plusnet will sell me Full Fibre 74 for £27.99, and also they will sell me Full Fibre 145 for the same price, granted the 145 is on offer for a couple of days or so.

  36. Avatar photo Him indoors says:

    I am sure they have thought this through on some level however it does seem a tad extreme. 2025 is fast approaching yes however there are still many exchange areas not even listed with a date for FTTP rollout. My Mother, who struggles with a VDSL line that delivers nowhere near the expected line speed is on the MYILK exchange which is a reasonably large town and is sandwiched between exchanges which have already been or have a date for the rollout of FTTP. It does somewhat feel like they have been forgotten. Maybe they should focus on the rollout rather than extra admin of reducing line speeds etc. TBH, whilst this is a massive and rather complex rollout. It’s funny as it brings to mind a conversation I had with a friend of mine who is a retired BT networks engineer who said in the 80s BT conducted an FTTP trial with TV (don’t ask me where I can’t remember) but the then Conservative government blocked the national rollout because the new Cable companies complained. Funny to think we could have had FTTP already if it weren’t for government short-sightedness!

    1. Avatar photo The witcher says:

      It’s not the 2025 date that’s fast approaching, it’s the April 2023 date when these customers will be cut off completely unless they take action now

  37. Avatar photo Tonyp says:

    Whilst I am far from opposed to Analogue PSTN services being withdrawn, I have not been contacted by either BT as my phone line provider (since forever) nor my emergency care line service provider (GBP 42 per quarter) about their plans to migrate to broadband and in particular, what provision needs to be made to overcome power outages that might affect emergency service calling. For example, if power fails and the kidney dialysis machine cannot work (an assumption) then how do paramedics get alerted to this life critical situation? If flooding trips the main power what then. Not everyone has access to a mobile phone or knows how to use them. I just think that not enough consideration is given to helping the frail and vulnerable before cut off.

    1. Avatar photo The witcher says:

      Are you in thr Mildenhall or Salisbury trial areas?

    2. Avatar photo Tonyp says:

      2025 is not that far off!

  38. Avatar photo Mr Grumpy Egg of Manchester says:

    Considering i’ve had an ongoing fibre install since October 2022, I have absolutely zero faith in openreach doing anything competently.

    Their plan for the apartment block I live in was originally *shrug* despite upgrading all the surrounding streets to fibre. They literally didn’t have an answer when I asked what their plan was.

    After being told I could order it, then not, then could, I ended up complaining to their CEO, they agreed I should be able to sign up, got my ISP to place an order. Openreach sat on it from October until December and told me they needed to cancel the order. Naturally, complained again. They agreed they needed to upgrade our underground fed apartments (which have their own front doors and no communal areas) but hey, still no connection…they’ve now been out 4 times, dug a trench and installed ducting and an ONT inside my house… but still haven’t connected to the network “in case my neighbours want a line” and now they’re messing about unsure if they need to install another node in the nearest manhole or not, despite previously agreeing on a direct underground cable run to my door (hence the trench). It’s a complete mess and nobody seems to talk to each other, nobody seems to know what’s going on at openreach. They’re useless. I’ve had so much time wasted… Unfortunately, we can’t quite get 5G where I am, No Altnets in my area either, besides HFC services on Virgin… so no chance of going elsewhere. Ugh.

  39. Avatar photo MilesT says:

    Ofcom needs to tell Openreach to “nudge” the ISPs to be more proactive to sign up customers, with a financial penalty which impacts the ISP and favours the customer.

    How to do this: In the run up to the cutover (final 6 months say), Ofcom to regulate to forcibly break all the ISP contracts and require the ISP to put the affected customers on a contract similar in cost to the social tariff. Openreach can “brownout” the existing service (I would suggest 10mbs cap, and 10 second voice warning on all inbound/outbound voice calls except to 999 and alarm monitoring, repeating the voice warning every 10 minutes for calls of more than 10 minutes duration). All other contracted services on the line to remain as is. Maybe a few spam faxes–periodically attempt a fax on the line (giving the nudge of a modem screech to those yet to change, and dropping a warning “end of service” fax to the few dedicated fax lines left).

    The ISPs will then have the incentive to “resell” the contract with the necessary engineering change orders to move to SOGEA and IP telephony.

    That said, I also think that customers should be offered the ability to continue to have analog telephony, but with transition to VoIP hardwired in the cabinet not the exchange (should be possible to develop a device to do this). This would minimise impacts on customers and provide some level of battery backup for the line outside the customers home.

  40. Avatar photo Bob says:

    Clearly BT cannot do this with existing contracts. IT would put them in breach of the contract and the Consumers Right Act 2015

    It seems a very strange way to carry on as well. The more sensible way ids to encourage people to migrate by way of offers such 3 Months for free

    I cannot see BT getting away with this

    1. Avatar photo Contracts says:

      No-one in the trial areas still on copper is under contract.

    2. Avatar photo New_Londoner says:

      @Bob
      Your contract is with your ISP and not with Openreach. Your ISP may in turn have an issue with Openreach but it is unlikely given that they were first notified by Openreach about the planned withdrawal of the PSTN in 2025 back in 2018.

  41. Avatar photo Philip says:

    My eyes are focused on the phrase…

    BT is preparing to switch off the old copper PSTN phone network by December 2025 and everyone in the UK will need to have a digital phone line before then.

    I do hope that translates as: Analogue/ADSL only areas like ours will be updated and offered an BT FTTP service by (or long before) December 2025.

    1. Avatar photo The witcher says:

      Not going to happen everywhere and not required by 2025.

    2. Avatar photo Bob says:

      It does not matter if you are in contract or not. They cannot just change the service that breaks the law

    3. Avatar photo The witcher says:

      They can’t restrict service but they can cut you off? I know now which I’d prefer

    4. Avatar photo Philip says:

      We cancelled BT Openreach in 2018, the long reach lines resulted in ADSL at 1.2/0.5 Mb/s.

      VM’s entry level M125 at 132/20 on RFoG is more than plenty for a SOHO office, just a pity about the nightmare offshore customer services.

  42. Avatar photo Kevin Reader says:

    I hate to suggest it in this digital age, but has openreach not considered “Sending a human to talk to people”.

    Nationally we’ll need TV ads (or equivalent) “If you see Sid, tell him to do one” ©. I used to be in tech, and I’d heard nothing about the Great Decoppering until I saw something here late last year.

    NB: Obviously callers would need plenty of ID to prevent impersonators defrauding the locals.

    1. Avatar photo Jamie Simms says:

      This is exactly what CityFibre and Vodafone are doing in Leicestershire where my parents live.

      The new CityFibre network went live just before Christmas then the first week of January CityFibre had a team of staff going round putting leaflets through the door and knocking on doors when people were in to discuss the benefits of their new network (This is an area where No Openreach FTTC or FTTP just ADSL up to 20Mbps and very over congested VM network)

      Then this week Vodafone field staff have been out knocking on doors and have had a branded van where you could go watch videos and find out more information about their products.

      Openreach and say BT & Sky could go out to do something similar in these areas where they want to try and get people switched over instead of cutting off services or artificial limiting what people can do.

  43. Avatar photo Rik says:

    The same thing happened when analogue TV was switched off. The degraded signal was used as a nudge to get people to switch.

  44. Avatar photo Alec says:

    I guess we are excempt as we can’t even get FTTC yet. good old classic ADSL

  45. Avatar photo Karl says:

    Are they going to assess vulnerability of all customers in these trial areas?, given blocking of outgoing calls could affect access to any number of telephone support services and personal telecare alarms.

  46. Avatar photo SherlockPhones says:

    This is unacceptable behaviour from BT!

  47. Avatar photo SherlockPhones says:

    Many of us have nothing but ADSL available for years, then they expect us to move over 5 mins after they decide to bung fiber in the ground!

  48. Avatar photo SherlockPhones says:

    They should shoot PSTN/ADSL from the PCP or the Tpole/Chamber. That will avoid all this nonsense! They should continue to provide the service that the customers are paying for! i.e. upto 24mb ADSL by using the fiber optic cable to bring the DSLAM closer.

  49. Avatar photo Tim Millin says:

    I am a pensioner, live 100 yds off the road and have no duct as our telephone cable is a four core steel-wire-armored buried in the ground.
    We have been approached by our ISP (Plusnet) and Openreach who will install fiber by trench at a cost of £3,500.
    As I can’t afford this, what is the way forward ?

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