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Old landline switch off confirmed in 84 UK locations – check your postcode

The next batch of UK areas that are being weened off ageing copper technology has just been revealed by BT’s Openreach service with 84 new locations being switched over to much newer technology. The update, which will take place over the next 12 months, will halt the sale of legacy analogue products in more than 880,000 premises across the UK.

As the UK moves to a digital future, more and more parts of the country are seeing older wires being made redundant with faster Fibre to the Premiese (FFTP) connections being installed instead.

Along with improving broadband speeds, the change also affects landlines with homes being switched over to a technology called VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) instead. This digital calling, which connects homes via the internet, offers modern features not found on old landline services, such as Multi Call, three-way calling for conference calls, and call diversion to any other phone number including mobile phones. The call quality should also be much improved with Digital Voice, though you’ll need a compatible Digital Home phone to take advantage.

The update will mean many more homes get better broadband speeds with Openreach cables being used by a number of major Internet Service Providers such as Sky, Vodafone, Plusnet and TalkTalk.

Once the “Stop Sell” is triggered these ISPs will have to connect new users to much quicker FTTP speeds.

Openreach says “Stop Sell” is triggered when a majority (75%) of premises connected to a particular exchange can get ultrafast Full Fibre. Customers who then want to switch, upgrade or re-grade their broadband or phone service will have to take a new digital service over the Full Fibre network.

It’s worth noting that Customers in these exchanges not yet able to get Ultrafast Full Fibre at their premises won’t be impacted, and can stay on their existing copper-based service until Full Fibre becomes available.

Here’s the full list of areas that copper cables are being switched off

Portlethen • Aberdeen • Addingham • Alderminster • Appleton Roebuck • Ashington (Northumberland) • Greater Manchester – Wigan • Greater Manchester – Wigan • Sheffield • Greater London – Barking and Dagenham • Doncaster • Bishop Auckland • Bridgend • Burnham-on-Sea • Glasgow • Buxton (High Peak) • Carlisle • Gillingham (Kent) • Chesterfield • Trefor • Coalville • Heage • Rippingale • Saintfield • Rugby • Greater Manchester – Manchester • Leicester • Exeter • Flamborough • Ispwich • Grimsby • Rayleigh • Cannock • Houghton-le-Spring • Huddersfield • Ilkeston • Ilkley • Kidsgrove • Luton • Leven • Haywards Heath • Llanbrynmair • Cardiff • Wakefield • Mareham le Fen • Chatham • Moore • Greater Manchester – Tameside • Motherwell • Greater London – Southwark • New Mills • South Cave • North Kelsey • Greater Manchester – Oldham • Penistone • Pontardawe • Raunds • Rearsby • Craigavon • Ross-on-Wye • Rotherfield • Chelmsford • Rugby • Scotter • Scunthorpe • Sherburn (County Durham) • Skegness • Solihull • Blackpool • Southend-on-Sea • Stotfold • Stratford-upon-Avon • Antrim • Leicester • Torquay • Tregynon • Ellington (Northumberland) • Bradford • Greater London – Havering • Waltham on the Wolds • Rotherham • Brighton and Hove

Speaking about the changes, James Lilley, Openreach’s Managed Customer Migrations Manager, said: “We’re moving to a digital world and Openreach is helping with that transformation by rolling out ultrafast, ultra-reliable, and future-proofed digital Full Fibre across the UK. This game changing technology will become the backbone of our economy for decades to come, supporting every aspect of our public services, businesses, industries and daily lives.

“Already, our Full Fibre network is available to close to 14 million homes and businesses, with more than 4 million premises currently taking a service. Taking advantage of the progress of our Full Fibre build and encouraging people to upgrade where a majority can access our new network is the right thing to do as it makes no sense, both operationally and commercially, to keep the old copper network and our new fibre network running side-by-side.

“As copper’s ability to support modern communications declines, the immediate focus is getting people onto newer, future proofed technologies.”

There has, of course, been some concern about switching off old copper wires as it could leave older and vulnerable people without a way of communicating. If the power goes off, VOIP can stop working and if people don’t have mobile phones or a strong signal they won’t be able to call for help.

The UK government recently stepped in to make sure suppliers will keep all users connected with ministers saying the new agreement with telecoms firms will better protect those using personal alarms, known as telecare, which offer remote support to elderly, disabled, and vulnerable people – with many located in rural and isolated areas.

“The safety of vulnerable customers comes before anything else and that’s why I called on the industry to listen to concerns and take action to make sure the right protections are in place,” said Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan.


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