The future of copper

free to perform

The ISDN switch off has been well publicised for several years. We’ve observed many of our partners migrating ISDN channels to SIP and hosted IP voice solutions, through platforms like eve.

It’s less well known that in 2025 the WLR network will be retired. This will include traditional, analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) lines, which will be replaced by digital, internet based IP services. This is not a removal of the copper lines, but rather a change of how the service over those lines is communicated.

This is, in part, being driven by the fact that the current infrastructure is running equipment which is reaching end of life – parts and skills to repair them are becoming scarce.

The solution

PSTN is actively used today by many business and residential users. Uses include traditional voice calls but also the delivery of various broadband services as well as alarm and lift lines. Alarm and lift companies are busy working on alternative solutions to deliver their services over IP or mobile networks, leaving broadband as the major service reliant on PSTN.

Two acronyms you will hear more about in 2019 are SoGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access) and SoG.Fast.

  • SoGEA is Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) including the copper pair as a single service. This delivers speeds of up to 80Mbps downstream and up to 20Mbps upstream – the same speeds as you can order today on FTTC
  • SoG.Fast is a faster form of FTTC. It can also be described as “Fibre to the distribution point”. The copper run is far shorter, meaning that this service will support up to 330Mbps downstream and up to 50Mbps upstream

Additionally, there is Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) which 9 offers today. Openreach announced a major investment in the fibre network in 2018. This can currently serve 650,000 premises, with the target to reach to 1.25M by March 2019 and 3M by 2020.

Openreach are also defining a product called Single Order Transitional Access Product (SoTAP), to potentially support ADSL beyond 2025. It’s currently unclear whether or not this will be available nationwide, or only in locations where SoGEA, SoG.Fast and FTTP are not available. We are working closely with Openreach and BT Wholesale on this and will keep our partners updated as plans are firmed up.

The customer impact

A need to buy – customers will be offered new services and may need to purchase IP handsets

Improved usability – video and real-time text will become a reality through the delivery of improved bandwidth control

Support for those with needs – some may face challenges and will require assistance to make the switch

Keeping you informed

9 is keen to represent partners and their customers in key industry forums. Our team is working closely with Ofcom, BT Wholesale, Openreach, FCS and others. Our goal is to understand and share the planned changes, the impact and the opportunity.

We’ll regularly communicate informative updates to our partners. Once more information is available, we can also help you to relay information about these changes to your customers so that you can promote choice, leverage opportunities and mitigate the risk of confusion.

Share your thoughts

We are really keen to hear your thoughts around the opportunities and challenges this presents for your business, so that we can help to support you. Please get in touch at to share your thoughts.

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