Salisbury becomes first UK city to drop copper for new services

Salisbury becomes first UK city to drop copper for new services

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Openreach has announced that Salisbury has taken a step closer to being the UK's first "fully digital" city, as the provider will no longer install copper connectivity in the area.

As of December 1st, customers in the city looking to upgrade, regrade or switch their broadband or telephone provider using the Openreach network will not be able to buy a traditional copper landline or broadband product.

Instead, they will only be able to order full fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband technology, which will provide speeds of up to 1Gbps. This makes it the first location in the UK to fully move away from legacy technology.

Salisbury has been serving as a pilot location for Openreach's Full Fibre programme of investment in digital infrastructure. The company has been developing and testing new ways to upgrade the UK’s landline network to FTTP technology throughout the city. 

Since March this year, more than 22,000 homes and businesses have been able to take advantage of Openreach’s revolutionary full fibre technology.

James Tappenden, Openreach's Fibre First director, said this has made Salisbury one of the best-connected places in the UK.

He added: "The traditional landline has served us well for generations, but it can't go on indefinitely - and by December 2025 it will have reached the end of its life. By September 2023 Openreach will stop selling copper-based products nationally in preparation for withdrawal at the end of 2025.

Mr Tappenden noted that full fibre not only provides a much faster connection, but is also far more reliable than outdated copper cabling. This will also ensure that customers are well-equipped for tomorrow's increasingly-demanding connectivity needs.

"Our new network is futureproofed so will be ready for the next wave of bandwidth-hungry applications which residents and businesses will demand so will serve Salisbury well for decades to come," he stated.

The efforts taking place in Salisbury are just a small part of Openreach's ambitious, £12 billion Full Fibre programme, which is aiming to deliver full FTTP connectivity to some 20 million premises throughout the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s.

Openreach also highlighted that while copper cabling primarily supports analogue landline services and the last mile of fibre-to-the-cabinet connections, it is also used for a variety of other less-obvious applications, such as burglar alarms, health pendants, telemetry and CCTV. 

These will all need to be moved to new infrastructure by December 2025, so there is still a lot of work ahead in the coming years.

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