Openreach Announces “Stop-Sell” Policy of Copper Broadband

British Telecom’s fiber optic broadband deployment wing Openreach has announced a “Stop-Sell” policy to its legacy broadband services thereby promoting its fiber optic broadbands throughout the United Kingdom. The decision to withdraw copper-based broadband services progressively will lead to an ultimate “Withdrawal in full”.

Richard Allwood, Chief Strategy Officer wrote in a press statement released on Openreach’s website while announcing the company’s decision to consult on upgrading consumers and businesses to ‘full-fibre’ broadband.

He wrote that Openreach is dedicated to bringing digital revolution in the UK, which is the prime reason his company has launched a consultation for the UK’s leading broadband and telephone providers asking for their views on how Openreach can upgrade consumers and businesses throughout the country onto next generation ‘full fibre’ broadband connections.

A full fibre infrastructure to connect all premises in the UK requires the deployment of more than hundred million of kilometers of optical fibers. The telecommunication trend with the onset of 5G is to build a common fiber infrastructure both for 5G and Fiber to the Home broadband. The small cells capable to deliver 20 to 25Gbps has to be installed approximately at less than 230 meters. Each small-cell needs to be connected with around 8 to 24 fibers. The new trends in telecommunication will offset all the previous estimations.

Unlike the move to digital TV, the process of upgrading broadband connections to ‘full fibre’ will require physical fiber connections to be made to individual premises, and involve significant investment from Openreach and support from Communications Providers. But the transition will also deliver huge benefits to the industry and UK in general, providing greater broadband speeds and reliability, a significant boost to productivity and competitiveness, and a digital platform that’s expected to serve homes and businesses here for many decades to come.

Openreach says it is determined to make the transition as fast and beneficial as possible and therefore asked its Communications Providers partners questions in three key areas:

1. How it builds the new network, which is growing fast;
2. How the industry should migrate customers smoothly onto the Openreach network, once it’s built;
3. How Openreach should eventually retire the existing copper network.

Openreach has outlined a number of guiding principles that are crucial to achieving a successful transition. These include:

• Building contiguous footprints within exchange areas to avoid creating new not-spots
• Working closely with CPs to upgrade every customer in those areas quickly once the new network is built
• Offering a compelling, simple portfolio of products that support new retail voice and broadband services
• Upgrading the large majority of people voluntarily, whilst developing an industry process for late adopters
• Withdrawing copper-based services progressively
• Developing a consumer charter with industry and Ofcom that encourages transparent communications to homes and businesses affected, and includes protections for vulnerable customers

Agreeing on an approach to this upgrade process is a key enabler to deliver that larger ambition, and to bring the UK closer to the Government’s aim of nationwide FTTP network by 2033.

By putting the customers at the heart of the process, Openreach will be speaking to the Government, Ofcom and key consumer, business and public sector groups as part of the consultation process.

Openreach engineers have been working in every community across the UK to make sure that the company is on track to make FTTP broadband technology available to three million homes and businesses by the end of 2020. Once the target is achieved, Openreach plans to go for connecting 10 million premises and beyond under the right conditions. There are more than 27 million households in the UK.

Openreach advocates a Stop-sell policy to its copper-based broadband services to focus more on the deployment of fiber optic broadband services throughout the UK.

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