Navigating the Future: How the PSTN Switchover Extension Impacts UK Telecoms

BT’s recent announcement concerning the extension of the PSTN switchover deadline has significant implications for Communication Providers (CPs) and their customers across the UK. Originally set for December 2025, the deadline has now been postponed to 31 January 2027. This extension primarily aims to facilitate the migration of vulnerable and complex service cases, ensuring a smoother transition away from legacy copper networks to more robust and modern infrastructures like FTTP (Fibre to the Premises).

The New Timeline and Its Importance

BT’s decision to extend the withdrawal deadline provides CPs an additional 13 months to complete the migration. This extension is critical as it allows for a more meticulous approach to transferring vulnerable customer groups and addressing complex migration scenarios without disrupting service continuity.

Ongoing Migration Efforts

Despite the extension, it is crucial that CPs continue their migration efforts unabated. Openreach has made it clear that CPs are expected to maintain the momentum of migrations, aiming for the original end-of-2025 deadline for all standard services. This is important to avoid last-minute bottlenecks and ensure a smoother overall transition.

Exchange and Service Updates

According to the latest guidance:

  • Exchange exit plans will proceed, with two exchanges set for exit in September this year and another 105 slated between April 2028 and December 2030.
  • The FTTP stop-sell continues to expand, affecting a growing number of exchanges that only offer FTTP. This further emphasizes the shift towards fibre as the backbone of the UK’s future connectivity.
Options for CPs and Their Customers

For locations where exchanges are not yet marked for closure, or FTTP stop selling, Migrating to MPF (Metallic Path Facility) remains a viable option. This extends the migration window by at least four years and currently impacts only a tiny fraction of exchanges.

New Technologies and Journeys

In the coming weeks, new migration journeys involving SoGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access) and additional FTTP capabilities will be rolled out. These advancements are designed to facilitate the migration process, providing CPs with more tools to manage customer transitions effectively.

End of Life for Legacy Products

As part of the switchover, Openreach will also phase out legacy WLR products such as SMPF, EFM, CPS, and by the end of 2025, as planned. This phase-out is crucial for moving towards more sustainable and advanced network solutions that can cater to the growing demands of modern telecommunications.

The delay in the PSTN switchover is a significant development that offers additional time for CPs to manage their migration strategies more effectively. However, CPS need to continue its migration activities without delay, focusing mainly on vulnerable and complex cases to ensure a seamless transition for all. For more detailed updates and ongoing support, stay tuned to our blog and ensure your migration plans are well-aligned with the latest industry standards and expectations.

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