BT Switch-off Could Damage Business

Timico is warning businesses that a nationwide switch-off of the BT 20CN broadband network at the end of March could leave those who have not made the switchover without internet connectivity.

20CN is BT’s first generation, old broadband network which provides standard copper broadband service of speeds up to 8Mbps. This has been superseded by the 21st Century Next Generation Network (21CN), which is now available to around 95% of UK homes and businesses.

As part of the roll-out of Superfast broadband, BT is closing some of its older ADSL and SDSL broadband products which only supported speeds of up to 8Mbps. In locations where up to 16Mbps ADSL broadband or up to 76Mbps FTTC broadband is now available, BT will be withdrawing its older products by 31 March.

Those who do not make the switchover will in time see wholesale prices increase by £4 per month in the exchanges targeted. By September 30 these old services will be completely switched off.

Tony Tugulu, Director of Managed Networks at Timico, said: “This switch-off will have catastrophic consequences for businesses who are unprepared for the migration to 21CN. As an example, one Timico customer in the retail sector with several hundred sites across the UK had, until very recently, almost 20% of its sites connected to old services. If left unchecked this would have meant price rises and then loss of service to dozens of business locations, thousands of pounds in fee increases and severe business disruption.”

The retirement programme began in October 2013 and at a rate of up to 400 exchanges retired each month, the operation has moved quickly. In total, 2549 exchanges are expected to be shut down.

Tony continued: “We are using this opportunity to alert businesses to this issue and urge everyone to check that they are using up-to-date broadband technology. In a worst case scenario businesses could see their services cut off completely, leaving them with no internet connection and the potential for expensive reconnection charges. Businesses cannot operate these days without decent internet access, so this is something that needs attention straight away.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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