Huge changes are coming soon to the UK’s broadband and telephone networks, which will be affecting thousands of homes across the country.
Affecting those mostly in rural areas, many will be impacted by the change, including those who still use their landlines phones.
However, the good news is that there is plenty of time to prepare for the changes as the plans of the big ‘Copper Switch-Off’ as the current date set to say goodbye is December 2025.
What is the Copper Switch-off?
In simple terms, the copper wire has run its course and can no longer keep up. OpenReach’s plan means that Copper lines are being replaced with fibre optic cables as part of the ongoing switch to more reliable network technology.
So the idea of the switch-off is to develop and replace UK’s ageing digital infrastructure with a more advanced and reliable alternative – fibre optic cables.
For over a decade since 1911, copper wire has been the backbone of telephone and broadband services – responsible for delivering networks and connections to millions of households.
Now, Openreach has started strategic planning to shut down all networks relying on copper wire, referred to as the BT copper switch-off with aims to shut down copper-wired networks completely by 2027.
Other milestones in the process include BT’s Stop Sell Phase 2023. Planned for 5th September 2023, this will be the last date that you can purchase ‘legacy’ services delivered via copper wires.
What does this mean for me?
As part of the copper switch-off, BT will cease to sell copper broadband in areas where at least 75% of the population can use fibre.
Fewer users are willing to compromise on their connection as the need to upload larger files, stream higher-definition videos and engage in online gaming continues to grow.
Such demand for high speed and reliability in our connection has continued to add pressure towards advancing digital infrastructure in the UK, ultimately resulting in the copper switch-off.
Will I Be Affected By The Copper Switch Off?
If you already have fibre, you won’t be affected. If you have FTTC, the copper lines that run from the cabinet to your home will keep working until full fibre is provided to your area.
However the thousands of homes on copper lines will be the ones affected. Switching from copper to fibre optic cables is a major undertaking – with 25 million premises in the UK needing to be upgraded at some point.
Some rural homes, and those in remote areas may not be connected to the fibre network before the planned switch off date. These people may need to switch to alternative technologies, such as 4G or fixed wireless internet.
Will standard broadband be phased out?
Standard broadband, also known as ADSL, was once considered advanced technology – but its days are now numbered.
ADSL relies on copper wire to function – so it has no future in the UK following the copper switch off. If you have a standard analogue BT line, you’ll need to switch to a different service before the planned Analogue Switch Off in December 2025.
Don’t wait till 2025 to start thinking about alternatives, as many factors go into the availability of fibre networks, such as existing infrastructure – particularly in rural areas.
Ask your broadband provider what options are available to you and whether your area supports connectivity to fibre networks.
Is the UK Getting Rid of Landlines?
Landlines will be phased out during new plans, but this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use them post 2025.
Most of the changes to your network will be happening behind the scenes and will not be noticed by most users. With Telecommunication companies reassuring customers that they won’t have to change their telephone devices or numbers.
However, you may have to plug the device into an internet router to continue making calls using your landline. Landlines that can connect to the internet will continue functioning, but don’t just hope yours will – if you’re in any doubt, contact your current provider.
Are Copper Wires Obsolete?
Copper wire has had a good run, but it has reached its limit.
We have relied on copper wire for over 140 years for most of our network connections.
However, as wireless technology, fibre optics and other innovative solutions have been developed, the need for copper wire has fallen.
The superior capabilities of FTTC in high-speed data transmission, environmental considerations, and the rise in smart devices have overtaken copper, and the copper broadband switch-off suggests this may be the last mile for copper wires.
Copper wire is old, difficult to maintain, and unreliable – most importantly, it no longer meets the demands of broadband users.
As the copper switch-off progresses, we can expect more frequent outages for connections that rely on copper wires as companies cease maintenance, alongside sales of copper wire products.
We’re Quickline, and we give our customers the digital life they deserve through lightning-fast broadband connections. Wherever they are and whatever they do online.
Prepare for the copper switch-off and find out if you can get fibre broadband here.
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