Broadband News

Openreach in Salisbury stops selling copper based services - updated

Salisbury is the pilot for the eventual retirement of the Openreach copper network and anyone in the exchange area now upgrading, regrading or switching their broadband or telephone provider they will only be able to order FTTP (full fibre) products.

Salisbury is now one of the best-connected places in the UK and we want everyone in the city to benefit from our investment.

Full Fibre is more reliable and faster so can help us do much more online in a more efficient way. Our new network is future-proofed so will be ready for the next wave of bandwidth hungry applications which residents and businesses will demand so will serve Salisbury well for decades to come. We’re leading the way in the UK’s digital upgrade and this is just the beginning.

The traditional landline has served us well for generations, but it can’t go on indefinitely - and by December 2025 it will have reached the end of its life. By September 2023 Openreach will stop selling copper-based products nationally in preparation for withdrawal at the end of 2025.

James Tappenden, Openreach’s Fibre First Director

Openreach claims the city is the first entire city to gain access to the Openreach full fibre platform BUT our data suggests that it is not the entire city just yet, e.g. the four flats of Weavers Mews in SP1 3RF don't have access to Openreach FTTP (they do have Virgin Media cable access so are far from being slow). There are more locations without FTTP across the city and based on our number crunching run on 17th November, the total then was some 24,483 premises (96.49% of Salisbury exchange area). We looked at the exchange last week but did not re-trigger the exchange level figures, but will update article by Wednesday morning.

Update 7pm: The number crunching has finished and Salisbury is now at 96.65% Openreach FTTP coverage i.e. 24,528 premises.

Anyone who has no interest in broadband or FTTP does not need to do anything, since nothing will change for now if you remain with your existing voice provider or broadband provider. Obviously if using VDSL2 upgrading to FTTP even on the same speed tier will bring improved connection reliability and for those not getting the maximum VDSL2 speeds they will see some speed improvement. Obviously those taking a voice and broadband from Virgin Media are not affected by any of the Openreach changes.

There is an Openreach page dedicated to the Salisbury pilot, that may help to answer some questions people have. Salisbury is a pilot so there are bound to be lessons learnt and it is only through actually doing all these switches that the answers will be learnt.

Assuming the pilot goes well and problems find resolutions the plan is to implement a stop sell across the UK in 2023, with a withdrawal starting in 2025. Clearly not all the UK Openreach network will have FTTP available to it by 2025, the current plan is for around 20 million premises for the mid to late 2020's, which is around two thirds of the UK. The IP voice services though can run over VDSL2.

We suspect that the stop sell and eventual withdrawal of copper voice will see a lot of people electing to switch to a data only broadband service. Retaining the existing phone number by porting it to a VoIP provider is not particular easy at present as porting the number usually ends up causing a cease of broadband on the phone line, the solution is for more voice providers to support porting with renumbering i.e. the regulations and processes need to catch up to what we expect an increasing number of people will do i.e. move historic numbers to a cheap VoIP service that can be answered anywhere that VoIP can be made to work.

Update 7pm: As we know some people mix and match their voice and broadband providers so we asked a question of Openreach what would happen if someone in Salisbury was to switch their voice service to another provider that was not their broadband provider. The answer is that this switch would trigger the upgrade to FTTP and the existing xDSL broadband service (assuming FTTP is available) would be moved to a FTTP one (obviously with knowledge of the broadband provider). Since there can only be one GEA-FTTP service this would mean that to deliver the voice service from a provider who is different to the broadband provider the voice provider would either have to roll-out its own voice ATA (or equivalent) or rent a wholesale voice product from the broadband provider. A voice ATA i.e. hardware device that handles VoIP sounds complicated but it should be pretty much plug and play for the consumer, more research and product development from the voice provider of course. 

We suspect that this copper to full fibre switching process will see a good number of people reassess their need to retain a fixed line telephone number i.e. this will accelerate the decline of landline voice minutes.

As Salisbury is the pilot hopefully we will all learn quickly about how all the nuances will work in practice and no-one will see their broadband or telephone service unwittingly cut off.

Comments

What will happen with exchange only connections - restricted to ADSL/ADSL2 with a maximum of 17Mbps? They probably cannot be converted to VOIP as things stand. On my local exchange we have around 48 properties on Exchange-only lines. Current knowledge of Openreach projects in our area of Cheshire indicates that they will not be coming into our community for at least 3 years and that will only be to convert FTTC to FTTP.

  • mollcons
  • about 1 month ago

For those without an FTTP option, there are low bandwidths and a product such as SOADSL and of course if its just VDSL2 there are data only FTTC options too now.

ADSL and ADSL2+ should have no problems running VoIP, since it can run happily with 64 Kilo per second down and up. Higher bit rates are obviously nicer since you enter the realms of HD voice then.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 month ago

Mmm, so someone who don't have the internet but still want a normal house phone have to put up with other equipment and if they have a power cut, no phone. As for reliability, is FTTP really more reliable? i know I had some problems, but that is fixed now and the service is rock solid, also what about cost, is it going to cost people more?
i know it is nice up to date fibre, but it is putting people on something they may not want, again.

  • zyborg47
  • about 1 month ago

If they are vulnerable then voice provider should advise/supply some form of power backup. In many cases a mobile will suffice. Remember if your house is on fire you leave the building you don't pick up your landline to phone the fire brigade.

FTTP once the initial connection issues are resolved should be a lot more reliable.

Cost wise, same price as voice line rental for the voice only options.

Would visit other countries in Europe where we are told everyone is using FTTP to see what they do. We should not be the first country to this move.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 month ago

So another box just to keep the system going. This is the thing about the old copper wire telephone service, all you need is one simple phone and it works without power. I realise that some people have cordless phones these days, so they need power and more people use their mobiles, but you can still see what I am getting at.

Cost wise may be the same for voice, but if people are forced to fibre for broadband, what about cost then?

i have seen people pushed to fibre because of where they live and having to pay extra.

  • zyborg47
  • about 1 month ago

So presumably if people are nearing the end of contract with their current provider then they may end up being limited to a small number of providers if they want to switch for a better deal? Far fewer suppliers provide FTTP and therefore people will be limited as to who they can switch to, at least at the moment. Seems premature when a lot of the lower cost providers don't currently provide a FTTP product.

  • ian72
  • about 1 month ago

Yep, that what it seems like Ian, people have less choice once again.
I know we have to start somewhere, but then people must still be able to access the services they want at a decent price.

  • zyborg47
  • about 1 month ago

> Remember if your house is on fire you leave the building you don't pick up your landline to phone the fire brigade.

Very true. Also remember that intruders invariably cut the landline before entering a building, as witnessed by every cop programme from the 70s and 80s. Sadly this plot device had to be abandoned with the widespread availability of mobiles.

  • candlerb
  • about 1 month ago

zyborg47
Trouble is the PSTN equipment was deployed in the 1980s, how many electronic devices have you from then that still work all day every day !

Cost to replace is Billions and revenue is very low. OFCOM also mandate cost recovery for BT at the lowest cost replacement, that is VOIP. There is therefore no way to keep PSTN going.

  • jumpmum
  • about 1 month ago

Off-topic, but @Andrew, these new ads which cover the page when one clicks a link are incredibly irritating. I know that the site is free and you need revenue, but is there any other ad option?

  • Diggory
  • about 1 month ago

Diggory +1

  • jumpmum
  • about 1 month ago

@Diggory: These ads are related to the new google ads & I've seen the exact square ones on a few other websites too like KingOfSat. They are no doubt annoying.

I have a solution to get rid of these ads when browsing such websites. Use Opera or the new Opera GX Gaming Web Browser! They have an inbuilt adblocker that block ads and trackers. Brave also has this included with their browser.

Otherwise Google Chrome and Firefox/Waterfox need a separate adblocker. These are very useful, you need them for YouTube ad blocking anyway. Youtube ads are even more annoying. Thankfully they are gone now!:)

  • BLaZiNgSPEED
  • about 1 month ago

Good News! I just found the solution to turn off google ads from the settings!
Go here https://adssettings.google.com/authenticated?hl=en

Where it says Ad personalization
You turned ad personalization off. You can turn it back on to make your ads more useful to you.
Ad personalization is OFF

There's a small switch button to turn on and off.

Also use your activity & information from Google services to personalize ads on websites and apps that partner with Google to show ads. This stores data from websites and apps that partner with Google in your Google Account.

Remove the tickbox. Done! :)

  • BLaZiNgSPEED
  • about 1 month ago

Am i right in thinking the stop date of copper services in 2025 is only for voice? So ADSL2/FTTP will still run over copper?

  • bobblebob
  • about 1 month ago

Sorry meant FTTC

  • bobblebob
  • about 1 month ago

@bobblebob. To be specific it is only BT WLR PSTN that is being switched off by 2025. Exchange based xDSL and PSTN from alternative providers with their own MSANs can continue after 2025, though the exchange

  • ribble
  • about 1 month ago

...although the exchange closure consultation make hasten the end of those.

  • ribble
  • about 1 month ago

@ribble so for example im on SMPF with BT providing phone services and LLU from Talk Talk (through Pulse8). So in my instance the broadband side would be unaffected?

  • bobblebob
  • about 1 month ago

There should be no impact on any broadband services at this time.

  • ribble
  • about 1 month ago

@Ribbe, Bobblebob
I may be wrong but are you confusing the forthcoming PSTN switch-off with the move to fibre only services that is being trialled in Salisbury?

  • New_Londoner
  • about 1 month ago

BT PSTN network is being shut down by the end of 2025.

  • ribble
  • about 1 month ago

@bobblebob When an area achieves 75% FTTP coverage in a particular exchange by 2025 copper sales will stop. But I believe it will not stop for the 25% who still haven't been upgraded to FTTP. What will happen is those who already got FTTP will no longer be able to order an FTTC service.

Bit like how some ISP's like BT and Vodafone no longer let you order ADSL if you have FTTC available. You have nothing to worry about.

The Salisbury copper retirement applies when the FTTP migration happens. It is a trial experiment to see how successful this will be in preparation for the rest of the UK.

  • BLaZiNgSPEED
  • about 1 month ago

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