The copper switch off seems to have moved a step closer recently as Openreach confirmed that they have ‘opened a consultation to agree a framework to switch off the country’s copper networks’.
The consultation will involve Openreach’s wholesale communications provider customers, such as BT, Talk Talk, and Sky, and will mean that Openreach will be able to invest significantly in upgrading their fibre to the premises (FTTP) connections).
Openreach are the owners of the UK’s access network infrastructure and are ‘determined to make the transition as fast and beneficial as possible’. Guiding the copper switch off consultation are several key principles:
- Progressive withdrawal of copper-based services
- Avoiding ‘not-spots’
- Quickly upgrading all customers once the new network is built
- Providing a simple range of products to support retail voice and broadband services
- The majority of upgrades performed on a voluntary basis, with a standard industry process for late adopters
- Development of a consumer charter with Ofcom and industry involvement
- Transparent communications to affected homes and businesses
- Protections for vulnerable customers
This consultation runs until May 3rd, and Openreach will then publish a summary of responses, along with the anticipated next steps. The Government’s current vision is for full fibre nationwide by 2033. The copper switch off may well not happen by the Government’s target deadline, but this news from Openreach brings it just that bit closer.
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