Network infrastructure supplier Openreach has launched a new consultation that will seek input from internet service providers on how best to migrate users to full fibre networks.
Moving away from legacy copper services to full fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) is now a top priority for both government and the industry, with the aim being to have every premises in the country connected to FTTP by 2033, which will allow legacy copper networks to be finally switched off.
To help ensure this migration works as quickly and efficiently as possible, Openreach is therefore seeking input from the firms that use its network about how it should approach three key areas.
These are: how it goes about building the new full fibre network; how the industry should migrate customers smoothly onto this network, once it is available; and how Openreach should eventually retire the existing copper network.
Because upgrading to FTTP will require physical deployments of cabling to each individual property, the migration process will require significant investment from Openreach and support from communications providers.
However, Openreach noted the benefits of this will be huge, with faster broadband speeds and better reliability providing a significant boost to productivity and competitiveness, delivering a digital platform that will serve homes and businesses for many decades to come.
The consultation was supported by digital minister Margot James, who said: "Upgrading to gigabit-capable connections will benefit homes and businesses all across the UK. I welcome Openreach's consultation on how to make this process as simple and efficient as possible whilst ensuring a competitive market is in place for all consumers and infrastructure providers."
Katie Milligan, managing director for customer, commercial and propositions at Openreach, added the consultation will be "crucial" to the process of migrating users to FTTP and eventually retiring copper cabling solutions, and will support investment throughout the country.
"Our new network will place the UK at the forefront of the global digital race and provide a major boost to the UK economy, so we’re determined to create a plan that will benefit of every UK community, by upgrading customers quickly, smoothly and affordably," she said.