Openreach announces trials to limit PSTN performance

Openreach is planning to trial a set of service management measures to encourage customers still using analogue phone lines to contact their provider and upgrade to digital alternatives.

The trials in Salisbury, Wiltshire and Suffolk, will see restrictions introduced that prevent outbound telephone calls and limit broadband speeds. This is designed to prompt customer action, with calls to the emergency services excluded from the trials.

The company is continuing to work with communications providers to migrate their customers onto digital technologies ahead of a 2025 deadline when BT Group intends to retire the analogue PSTN system.

James Lilley, director for managed customer migrations, Openreach, said, With the deadline for retiring analogue services approaching, we’re working closely with service provider to migrate their customers smoothly and safely off the old analogue network.

“Our trials in Salisbury and Mildenhall have been a great testing ground to identify and iron out issues, and we’ve already managed to upgrade the vast majority of customers in those areas successfully.

“Having said that, a small minority of customers are yet to upgrade despite several attempts by their service provider to contact them, so we’re planning some gentle measures which will nudge them to contact their provider and have a conversation about their future service.”

Openreach said that by “adjusting the performance of the remaining analogue services”, customers in the trial areas will be prompted to contact their provider and upgrade their line.

Openreach notified its communications provider customers in January last year that analogue services would be withdrawn in the trial areas by 19th April 2023, but that deadline has now been extended to October 9th to test the new service measures.

If these trials prove successful, Openreach will look to use the measures to help providers prepare for the UK wide switch off at the end of 2025.

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