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On March 21, 2019, the UK network operator, Openreach, launched a consultation over switching off its copper network. The consultation seeks input on three key areas, outlines several guiding principles, and runs until May 3, 2019.


  • The continued reliance over many years by incumbent operators on copper, rather than investing in FTTP networks, is a barrier to achieving the transition from legacy copper networks to full-fiber infrastructure.

Features and Benefits

  • Outlines Openreach's consultation on switching off its copper network.
  • Identifies key challenges faced by network operators in transitioning away from a copper network toward a full-fiber network.

Key questions answered

  • How does the UK's approach to switching off the PSTN compare to the rest of Europe?
  • What approach should network operators take in their migration strategies?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • Retiring the copper network must coincide with the rollout of fiber to reduce the impact on customers
  • Reliance on copper is a major factor in delaying the switch-off in the UK
  • Migration to full fiber works best when customers choose the service voluntarily


  • Further reading
  • Author