Openreach announces 51 more exchanges where analogue services will not be provisioned
While the core telephone network has been digital for a long time, the old copper network remained distinctly analogue and the roll-out of full fibre is being used to push towards all digital telephone services.
Openreach has announced a list of 51 exchanges where it will stop selling legacy analogue services in October 2021. These exchanges cover around 0.51 million premises and with the previously announced 118 exchanges in 12 months there will be 1.8 million premises where the old analogue services will not be available to order.
The key point to make is this is about new connections, those with existing analogue services are not expected to be moved over in exactly 12 months time, but there will be more local announcements on switching of analogue services to full fibre provisioned products. Salisbury is the exchange to keep an eye on, the stop sell applies there from December 2020 and this will be followed by a big switchover that is the trial for how well the processes work, how well the public accepts the change and discover the problems and find solutions. Salisbury is at 95.92% full fibre coverage from the Openreach network as of 8th October 2020 according to our tracking.
One of the reasons we not going into exact details of what people will see is because the move from analogue to digital and voice services being delivered over full fibre means that the voice retailer will be much more involved. At the basic level it means that rather than the telephone line plugging into the copper line that enters a property it will plug into the retailers router, something that has been going on abroad for a few years (e.g. latest Sky router has both Italian and UK phone sockets). This in itself sounds a simple enough swap, but once you add extension wiring, alarms, ringers and installing UPS for the vulnerable things do get more complex.
The list of 51 supplied by Openreach is shown below, we have added our current Openreach FTTP coverage figures. The expectation for these 51 exchanges is that they will reach at least 75% FTTP coverage by October 2021.
|Exchange Name||Location||Exchange Code||Openreach FTTP Coverage|
|Bangor||Newtownards & Bangor||NIBA||69.06%|
|Barry||Vale of Glamorgan||SWCFK||37.67%|
|How Caple||Herefordshire, County of||WNHCP||75.29%|
|Ilford North||Greater London||LNILN||80.76%|
|Llanfaethlu||Isle of Anglesey||WNLFU||74.85%|
|Newtonards||Newtownards & Bangor||NINTS||54.91%|
|Thornton Heath||Greater London||LSTHO||83.9%|
Remember that the figures are just Openreach FTTP, other full fibre providers will be available in some of these areas. Another point to remind our readers about is that with some 5,500 exchanges to keep track of there will be some where we are more up to date than others, across the UK our figures have just passed the 3 million point for Openreach FTTP but we believe there is another 0.5 million premises to be found.
The distribution plot is not incredibly useful and there are lots of exchanges with very little or no FTTP at this time, which with a target of 4.5 millions out of the over 30 million that exist in the UK by March 2021 is no surprise. We've published it now so that in March we can look back and see how things have changed when another million premises have been rolled out to.