Openreach, British fixed line incumbent BT’s infrastructure unit, has launched a consultation regarding its plans to withdraw its PSTN network and replace it with all-IP services by 2025, according to ISPreview. The report notes that Openreach is not planning to remove the copper lines that underpin its traditional analogue fixed voice offerings, but instead is looking to change how the service over the top of those lines is communicated. At present, the company’s PSTN supports a number of wholesale products, including: wholesale line rental (WLR), ISDN, Local Loop Unbundling Shared Metallic Path Facility (LLU SMPF) and Sub-Loop Unbundling Shared Metallic Path Facility (SLU SMPF). According to the report Openreach’s planned PSTN withdrawal does not extend as far as fully unbundled (MPF LLU) lines, which alternative ISPs such as Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone have invested heavily in. Having invited feedback on its plans from all communications providers, Openreach’s consultation will run until 27 July 2018, while before the end of this month it plans to hold a series of events at venues in London, Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh to explain the consultation to customers and industry groups, and listen to feedback which may form part of their formal consultation response.
Commenting on the matter, Mark Logan, Product Director at Openreach, said: ‘We’re launching this consultation because we’re committed to play a leading role in helping the industry move from analogue to digital products by 2025. As our customers demand faster and more reliable connectivity, we’ve already accelerated our plans to build more fibre-to-the-premises [FTTP] broadband technology across Britain, and we expect to reach three million premises by the end of 2020. At the same time, we’re developing new, digital, broadband-only products that will no longer rely on BT’s ageing analogue voice platform. The move from analogue to digital opens up exciting opportunities for our CPs to develop new products and services which will drive their businesses forward and meet their customers’ demands for decades to come.’