BT outlines plans ahead of exchange closures

BT has outlined plans for customers ahead of Openreach piloting the closure of three exchanges by March 2025.

The pilot will allow BT to test its approach and to support customers as they switch from copper to fibre (FTTP and FTTC) and as they move from analogue to digital.

The three pilot exchanges are: Deddington, Oxfordshire, which is scheduled for March 2024; Kenton Road, Greater London, scheduled for September 2024; and Ballyclare, Northern Ireland, scheduled for September 2024.

Writing on the BT Group blog, Howard Watson, the company’s chief security and networks officer, said, “As customers gradually switch from copper to fibre networks and as landlines go digital, the number of local telephone exchanges, which have kept the nation connected for over a century, will reduce from c.5,600 today to just 1,000 by the 2030s.

“Fibre networks require less equipment, are more efficient and can connect more customers from fewer exchanges. Openreach has therefore set out an ambition to exit three pilot exchanges by March 2025, a further 100 by December 2030, and a large majority of the remaining 4,500 exchanges by the early 2030s.”

BT has said it will contact all residential BT customers yet to make the switch in each of the three locations at least four weeks in advance of any changes taking place. Business customers will be contacted earlier to plan their migration to all-IP services.

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