Friday, 17 August 2018

Copper network switch off vital for UK's digital future

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Thursday 19 July 18

The UK government has said that it will intervene if the industry does not come up with a date to switch off the country's old, copper telecommunications networks

The UK must set a date to switch off its copper telecommunications network in order to encourage investment in full fibre network infrastructure, according to CityFibre CEO, Greg Mesch. Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, Chancellor Phillip Hammond said that the government would intervene and impose a final "…

The UK must set a date to switch off its copper telecommunications network in order to encourage investment in full fibre network infrastructure, according to CityFibre CEO, Greg Mesch.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, Chancellor Phillip Hammond said that the government would intervene and impose a final "switch off" date, if the industry did not act soon. Mr Hammond said that switching off the legacy copper network was crucial to streamline the country's transition to full fibre networks.

The recently commissioned National Infrastructure Report advised the government that the industry should prepare for copper switch off by no later than 2025.    

Mesch is a long term, vocal advocate of full fibre networks. In a recent exclusive interview with Total Telecom, he said that there should be no role at all for copper-based architecture in the UK's digital future.  

"Consumers must not be misled into thinking they can get full-fibre benefits on a copper broadband network - they can’t: copper is dead," he said.

Speaking in response to the government's announcement, the CityFibre CEO said that copper switch off was imperative, urging the government not to leave the decision to the UK's incumbent operator, Openreach.  

“Switching off the copper network is a vital part of moving the UK to a full fibre future but leaving decisions on how it is done in the hands of the incumbent risks imposing costs and delays on consumers.

“As Clive Selley’s comments on the Today programme (17th July 2018) make clear, Openreach’s approach to the switchover would result in unnecessary and unwelcome price rises for both consumers and internet service providers.

“To put consumers and businesses at the heart of the full fibre upgrade, the Government needs to harness the competitive benefits of new market entrants and set out a carefully managed copper switch off process that prevents Openreach from hijacking the migration process, as this would re-establish its monopoly position and hold back the UK’s digital economy,” he said.

 

Also in the news:

CityFibre CEO: There is no role for BT in the UK's FTTH rollout

UK Minister: Rural communities must not be excluded from 5G rollout

Could the UK ever be a European full fibre champion?

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