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BT OpenReach are shutting down the copper wire telephone network

BT Openreach are phasing out the copper wire telephone network

What does this mean for you and your business or school?

BT Openreach has announced they are phasing out the copper wire telephone network across the UK for homes, businesses and schools. This means that if you wanted to retain your current copper-based phone system, you will need to upgrade it to accept a SIP connection. However, there is a strong adoption of cloud based systems … and there is a reason why.

Our aim is to fill you in on the facts and let you understand your options. We’ve done many free of charge telephony reviews over the last few months, and found some interesting facts:

  • If you have a multi-site business or Academy Trust, you could work as if you had one system. No more charges for calling between sites and you can transfer calls etc.
  • Many of the reviews meant that the new system and handset upgrade was cost neutral, based on the savings made on the line rental and call charges.
  • If you had an aging system and needed to replace it, the numbers really stack up and it wouldn’t make sense financially…
  • Many of the new build sites, no longer supply copper. Fibre is the only option. This means you couldn’t get a copper line, even if you wanted one.

What are we use to working with and what is changing?

For over 20 years we have been using the current traditional telephone network for our all our calls, and more recently our internet. This network uses copper wires to transmit analogue and digital signals.

For this set up the user has a traditional phone line, PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), and then to get internet access either an analogue ADSL line (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) – mainly for home and small business use or a digital ISDN line (Integrated Services Digital Network) –

mainly for business or school use.

BT Openreach has announced that by 2026 they will have started the shutdown of the ageing copper wire telephone line network. Current copper wire networks using ADSL or ISDN are being replaced by fibre optic networks. New sites are no longer provisioned with copper either.

The download speeds users experience with ADSL or ISDN vary depending on how far their premises are from the phone exchange. Reliability also varies with connections dropping out very easily.

In 2000, we saw the start of the fibre optic broadband rollout. This network uses underground fibre optic cables to transmit data much, much quicker and with fewer reliability issues than with copper wires.

Fibre also gives users much more flexibility because of their breadth and speed. Meaning you can do more; cloud computing, video conferencing, internet phone calls etc.

Where are we at with the switch to fibre?

Some users currently have fibre cables to the exchange cabinet and then copper wires from the exchange to their premises, this is called FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet). Some have fibre cables to their front door, this is called FTTP (Fibre to the premises). And some don’t have fibre at all as yet and are still relying on the copper network.

The rollout of fibre across the UK has taken longer than anticipated but now BT Openreach has announced that 2026 is when they will start to phase out the copper network; they are going to have to work very hard to complete the implementation. So even if you have an FTTC set up, this won’t be enough. All homes, businesses and schools will need to have FTTP.

As already mentioned, no copper is being installed at new build sites. Provision is made for cost-effective, high speed fibre.

The cost of these high-speed fibre networks has significantly reduced over the last few years. Speeds of up to 1Gb is now available for bigger businesses and secondary schools. Even at home or if you have a primary school or small business, FTTP (fibre to the premises) can deliver up to 300Mbps.

What to think about:

You need to understand your current set up, what you’ll potentially need to change and what you might be able to change now. If you are thinking of changing anything anyway or you have contract end dates coming up, now would be a great time to explore future-proofing your organisation.

  1. Consider if your current system is still delivering what you need and is it based on copper?
  2. If you are using a VoIP/Cloud system, are you on the most competitive per user rate. Ours start at £7.99 per user per month with new handsets available at £1.74 per handset per month.
  3. If you are not already using a VoIP telephone system, check if your current internet connection is based on the latest technology and best value pricing.
  4. Is your current phone system fairly new and you’d like to keep using it but it isn’t a VoIP system? A SIP solution might be able to work for your business.

As part of our service we are offering:

  • A free telephony review. Some systems we have replaced and it was actually cost neutral
  • Great choice of Handsets. We mainly use Polycom and Yealink and can offer the entire range including conferencing options.
  • Ability to buy out right or use our cost-effective lease scheme.
  • A detailed scoping process with all your stakeholders to ensure we get it right first time and everyone has their input.
  • Completely project managed, on-site install by an experienced, DBS checked Engineer.
  • Alternatively, we can provide a remote setup option and your team deploys the handsets.
  • Ongoing support directly from Breathe!

Get in touch with us to explore your options or if you’d like a free of charge telephony review and a comparison to cloud system costs.

Alternatively you can contact us on 01223 209920 or email It’s highly likely that you will save money and end up with a better system and better connectivity …

Click here to download our brochure detailing the handset options that are available.