BT is going ahead with plans to shut down its existing public switched telephone network (PSTN) in favour of VoIP systems, meaning all phone calls will be made over a fibre broadband network.
The idea is to have all UK customers moved over to the new technology by 2025 and will see the company closing a bunch of its exchanges as a result.
While it's not been made official just yet, the news comes via communications between BT's broadband division Openreach and its providers. According to emails seen by The Register, Openreach will open consultation next month on the withdrawal of its Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) products, which are reliant on the PSTN.
"This is a truly significant change for the industry and represents a move from an analogue to a digital, fibre led future. These changes will affect how you do business with Openreach," the email read.
The impending consultation will apparently look to discern when and how the process will take place as well as how long for.
An Openreach spokesman said: "In May, we'll consult with industry around the process of withdrawing WLR and related products.
"This follows plans by BT to upgrade its customers from analogue (PSTN) to digital (all IP) telephone services by 2025.
"We'll be working with our Communication Provider customers over the coming months as we consider the move to IP voice services - where broadband rather than voice becomes the primary service."
As for broadband, earlier this year, BT Openreach pledged to bring high-speed internet to three million UK homes and businesses by the end of 2020 as part of its new 'Fibre First' programme.
The firm said that it'll recruit and train 3,000 engineers this year in order to reach its new target of three million homes and businesses by 2020. Previously, it had committed to reaching two million homes by that date.
Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester will make up the first phase of the roll-outs, "which will connect up to 40 UK towns, cities and boroughs".
Openreach, whose FTTP network currently covers 500,000 homes, said it expects the cost of the ramped-up rollout to be around £300-£400 per premise passed. µ
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