BT Openreach has begun consulting with communications providers as it seeks to begin the mammoth task of shifting 16 million phone lines in the UK to VoIP by 2025. Recently BT announced it would shut down its public switched telephone network (PSTN) in the country and migrate all its customers onto a fibre-based network. This means BT will no longer be offering Wholesale Line Rental products which depend on PSTN.
BT says its PSTN is a conglomerate of networks and is linked with the establishment of General Post Office telephones which took place in the late nineteenth century. BT says that the migration is a significant change for communication providers and the industry in general. More than 16 million lines will have to be shifted to alternative services by the end of 2025. This means communications providers will need to work out how customers, regardless of whether they are residential or business may need to be upgraded to support VoIP services.
Plans in place
James Lilley a spokesperson for BT says Openreach already has plans in place to shift three million premises to fibre by 2020 and 10 million customers to ultrafast hybrid fibre and copper networks. Both will be compatible with the PSTN replacement. Mr Lilley says obviously it is a huge challenge for BT since there are many WLR customers, as a result they have put together a time table of seven years to migrate 16 million lines to new services.
Communication providers will have to rethink their business model
He adds that the current proposal is for a hard cut-off by 2025. Some communication providers will see this as an opportunity to migrate their customers away from legacy infrastructure, whilst others who simply resell voice services may have to rethink their entire business model. BT says it will run the consultation until 27th July 2018 and has a number of events planned all over the country to explain what is happening to customers and industry bodies in order to obtain feedback.