For all developers and organisations operating in construction a recent announcement from Openreach will have a significant impact on your project. It relates to the ‘switch off’ of the traditional copper network by the end of 2025. This means for all new build projects Openreach will only provide fibre services. This has major implications for projects particularly reliant on traditional copper circuits, for example multi occupancy build requiring life safety systems and commercial developments.
Why are Openreach changing the network? What’s wrong with the current one?
The current network has been around for over 35 years and has served the country well, however the equipment in the telephone exchanges is now reaching end of life.
Openreach are committed to providing fast broadband across the UK and this is best achieved by replacing the existing Copper network with an Ultrafast Full Fibre digital network. Where Ultrafast Full Fibre is available, a digital phone service will be the only one that is provided.
As you may already know, Openreach has signposted intent to fully ‘switch off’ the traditional analogue (PSTN) Copper network by the end of 2025. From now until the end of 2025, Openreach will move tranches of exchanges into a ‘stop sell’ position. This happens when we have Full Fibre coverage to 75% of addresses in an exchange which then allows us, at an address level, to stop selling WLR and PSTN products to CPs. This in effect leaves these addresses the only option of taking services over the new Ultrafast Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) infrastructure. Openreach are committed to providing fast broadband across the UK and this is best achieved by replacing the existing Copper network with an Ultrafast Full Fibre digital network. Where Ultrafast Full Fibre is available, an All-IP (digital) phone service will be the only one that is provided.
Where this isn’t yet available Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SoGEA) will be provided. This is a new product which enables users to order Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) without a phone line, the existing Copper will remain in place from the premises to the street cabinet which will be connected to the exchange by fibre for faster broadband speeds. By the end of 2025 all telephone lines will need to be digital phones lines provided over the internet.
For new sites we want to ensure that we only build one infrastructure which is FTTP. We want to remove the dependency on providing small amounts of Copper solely for the purpose of special service lines. This aligns to the fact that many exchanges are already moving to stop sell as part of the journey toward the final backstop of end 2025.
From the 15th November
• Large 20+ plot residential/mixed use sites: Any site contracting with us for FTTP will no longer be offered additional Copper for the sole purpose of service lines. Given that Openreach advise developers for at least 6 months lead time to First Service Date (FSD), this still gives you time to ensure you have an All-IP (digital phone line) solution in place for your service line needs.
• Small Sub 20 plot sites: Openreach will still offer FTTP on the national developer contribution rate card or free of charge where commercially viable. This means some small sites may still default to older FTTC or even Copper technologies where the developer chooses to not contribute on the Openreach national rate card.
• Commercial only sites: We no longer offer Copper, either as the main provide or to augment fibre infrastructure. All fibre infrastructure (FTTP/NIA) remains fully chargeable unless the site is 20+ plots thus making it eligible for free FTTP. Note that NIA is always fully chargeable regardless of site size.