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Quarter of Brits unaware of looming changes to UK networks

Saf Malik
February 3, 2021

UK’s old copper-based network will reach the end of its life by 2025, yet businesses seem ill-prepared

Almost one in four (24 per cent) of businesses are unaware of impending changes to the UK telecoms network, leaving them at risk of a communications crisis according to Research from Zen Internet.

Alarmingly, this is the proportion of British businesses surveyed who are oblivious that a range of Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) voice and broadband products – which are supported by the copper-based network – will stop being sold completely in 2023.

Known as copper stop-sell, Openreach is gradually stopping the sale of these old products and services using old copper lines in areas where the new Full Fibre network is available – so that people can switch to new products and services that use the new digital network.

Stop-sell first went live in December 2020 for the city of Salisbury with more to come in June 2021 as part of a rolling quarterly programme. This could expose businesses to a situation where their communications are at risk of being cut off in the future.

One in 10 SMEs say they are aware of the stop-sell but do not know what their next step will be, highlighting the need for greater support when the old copper-based network is finally withdrawn from service.

There is a wave of businesses who could soon find themselves bound to communication agreements which are set to become obsolete as the 2023 stop-sell date is reached.

Zen in “A look through history suggests that businesses have illustrated a pragmatic approach when it comes to adopting new communications tools.

However, there is a growing risk that many will be caught short by structural changes to the UK telecoms network which loom on the horizon. Keeping company technology up to date should be a continuous, evolutionary process, but the clock is ticking for those businesses still reliant on outdated communications tools such as traditional telephony.”


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