Openreach to Launch Consultations on Digital Switch

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Openreach has announced it intends to consult with customers and businesses as it continues with its analogue-to-digital migration process.

Openreach has launched a consultation with its Communications Provider (CP) customers and a host of industry groups about its move from analogue-to-digital voice services. The company says the  consultation will “help prepare the industry for the upgrade to Voice Over IP technology” and prepare the industry for the withdrawal of products and services that run over the traditional analogue telephone network.

The company, which provides voice and broadband infrastructure to more than 30 million homes and businesses, made the announcement after parent company BT signalled plans to migrate customers from its traditional analogue phone network to internet-based services by 2025.

This move to digital is part of a growing worldwide trend amongst telecoms providers to modernise infrastructure and move away from traditional analogue platforms like the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Openreach has made great strides in the acceleration of its ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) programme in recent months, announcing in March that it is recruiting over 3,500 new trainee engineers across the UK.

Openreach Digital Migration

The consultation period will run until the 27th of July and will seek feedback from customers on a new transitional product – known as the Single Order Transitional Access Product (SOTAP) – which will allow customers and businesses that are currently connected to copper lines to order a broadband service which doesn’t rely on the analogue PSTN platform.

In the last year, Openreach has been trialling two ‘broadband-only’ services which are due to launch later in 2018. The Single Order GEA (SOGEA) and Single Order Gfast (SOGfast) services both offer the same connectivity to existing Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) services, yet without the requirement of an analogue voice product in the bundle.

Before the end of May 2018, Openreach says it intends to host a series of events in Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham and London to explain the consultation to customers and industry groups in an attempt to gain feedback that may form part of their formal response.

Mark Logan, Product Director at Openreach said:

“We’re launching this consultation because we’re committed to playing 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.”

“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.”

David Wilkinson, Director of Technical Services at the British Security Industry Association said:

“We are encouraged to see Openreach consulting with industry in preparation for the migration of analogue telephone services to an internet-based system.”

“We recognise that the switch to digital will affect a number of important applications that are not directly related to the delivery of voice, such as security alarms as well as fire and personal care alarms.”

“We’d like to see the whole industry engaged on this issue so that these services remain operational, or are replaced in good time.”

 

 



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