An update on the PSTN Closure and WLR withdrawl programme



Last year, in 2018, OpenReach announced the closure of the telephone network in six years’ time at the end of 2025.  Since the announcement, a series of consultations have been taking place with Industry.

The impact of the removal of the copper network, including tail circuits, telephone lines and more will be the biggest shakeup for UK telecoms since the privatisation of British Telecom in 1984. The rush to get Britain fibred is being led by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and is becoming increasingly important in the event of Brexit to ensure that the UK is ready to take on the world.

In this episode we try to bring to up to date with the progress so far.



Ross Comfort

Ross Comfort

Head of Operations, Adept

Ross joined AdEPT in October 2003, four months after the company started. Ross is based in the Tunbridge Wells office.  His current role includes overseeing the day to day operations at  Tunbridge wells as well as supporting process and strategy at a group level.

I have seen a lot of changes over the 15 years including the inception of Wholesale Line Rental.  When AdEPT started, you still had to rent your line from BT and Adept only provided the calls element of the service. 

I have been attending the industry forums on behalf of AdEPT and Innopsis to ensure that our voices are heard and make sure that we are all aware of the facts.




Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas


Mike is the Managing Director at Innopsis.

Mike produces the podcasts at Innopsis, falling back to his early career as a Sound Engineer.

About this Episode



About the PSTN Closure programme:-


In 2018, OpenReach announced the plan to close the Public Service Telephony Network (PSTN) in the UK. BT has long spoken of their desire to migrate users off their traditional phone PSTN network and switch them to IP-based voice services (e.g. VoIP). 

As usual there are a number of reasons for why this change is becoming necessary, aside from being a preparatory move to support the eventual migration to a pure fibre optic network. One other reason is because fewer and fewer people are using the old phone service to make calls and most of us only use the related copper line for our home broadband connectivity.

In response copper phone lines are changing. The forthcoming adoption of new services, such as Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SOGEA and SOGfast), will make it possible for consumers to order a hybrid copper and fibre optic line based standalone FTTC (VDSL2) or “broadband-only” service without the bundled analogue phone service. Further changes by 2025 mean that the FTTC product will be replaced by FIbre to the Premises (FtP)

About Wholesale Line Rental:-


OpenReach, the infrastruture part of BT, provide Wholesale Line Rental products to give Communications Providers the ability to offer their own branded service to end-users using the Openreach telephony products of Wholesale Access, Wholesale Digital Access and Wholesale ISDN30.

The Communication Provider has responsibility for the commercial relationship with the end-user but Openreach will supply and maintain the lines to the end-user premises on behalf of the Communications Provider and will bill the Communications Provider.


WLR Withdrawl programme:-


In May 2018, as part of the PSTN Closue programme, OpenReach annoounced the withdrawl of the WLR product set. The timetable is set as:-

  • July 2018 – Consultaion closed
  • December 2018 – Formal notification to stop selling
  • May 2019 – Early Market Deployment Launch (EMDL) of new interrim services – Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SOGEA) and SOGFast services
  • March 2020 – Single Order Transitional Access Product (SOTAP) will be available for commercial trials
  • December 2020 – Five year reminder that WLR is being withdrawn
  • September 2023 – Stop selling new supply of WLR
  • December 2-25 – WLR withdrawn




The slides from the lastest Openreach presentation –  OR_11142_FTTP_upgrade_consultation_event_slides_250319_JJMLRA_FINAL_4-1

OpenReach’s Fibre Upgrade Infographic  – Fibreupgradeinfographic_final