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    KCOM in Hull UK Ponders Being First to Switch-Off Copper Phone Lines

    This is a discussion on KCOM in Hull UK Ponders Being First to Switch-Off Copper Phone Lines within the General chat forums, part of the Community channel category; KCOM in Hull UK Ponders Being First to Switch-Off Copper Phone Lines - ISPreview UK The incumbent telecoms and broadband ...

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      KCOM in Hull UK Ponders Being First to Switch-Off Copper Phone Lines

      KCOM in Hull UK Ponders Being First to Switch-Off Copper Phone Lines - ISPreview UK
      The incumbent telecoms and broadband provider for Hull in East Yorkshire, KCOM, is reportedly aiming to be one of the first in the UK to switch-off their ageing copper telephone lines. Instead they’d become totally reliant upon their new “full fibre” (FTTP/H) network for communication services.

      So far KCOM has already deployed their Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) network to over 100,000 homes and businesses in their footprint and they aim to cover 150,000 premises by December 2017, which equates to 75% of their overall network in Hull and East Yorkshire (a roll-out plan for tackling the final 25% is expected to follow). Take-up is also strong with around 40,000 customers choosing to subscribe.

      However the FT (paywall) claims that KCOM’s CEO, Bill Halbert, is now beginning to plan for a future that would decommission their old copper telephone network and they intend to be the first to do it. This is hardly surprising given that no other UK city has the same level of FTTP coverage as Hull.

      Bill Halbert said:

      “Copper cannot handle the future. It has to be fibre all the way. That’s one of the big national challenges for our economy.”
      At this point we’d highlight that completely removing copper would still be a very awkward challenge for KCOM, not least since around 8% of their “Lightstream” roll-out of fibre optic based broadband technology consists of 75Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) technology (that’s a mix of both cable types).

      Decommissioning FTTC would thus require KCOM to go back a second time and upgrade areas with FTTP, which they’ll have to do eventually anyway but the question is when and how much will it cost? Sadly there’s no mention of any timetable for such a switch-off, which means that it could still be someway off in the future.

      On top of that virtually all of KCOM’s customers would need to be swapped to FTTP lines before they could pull the plug on copper, which is another complicated problem as some people don’t like being forced to change. We suspect that such a switch-off may require quite a long-winded phase-out process.

      The FT article also talks a lot about “phone lines,” although it’s important to distinguish between the phone / voice side of that service and the physical copper line underneath. For example, BT hopes to migrate users off their traditional phone (PSTN) network by 2025 and switch them to IP-based voice services (e.g. VoIP). Crucially this doesn’t mean that BT is going to remove their copper lines, they’re just changing what happens over those same lines.

      Likewise the swap to IP-based voice comms doesn’t mean that old analogue handsets need to stop working. It’s entirely possible to buy an analogue telephone adapter and some routers already include sockets for these, which allow you to connect analogue phones and essentially use them for calling over VoIP via a broadband connection.

      Given the advent of hybrid-fibre G.fast and follow-on broadband technologies, we suspect that operators like BT will be using their copper lines for a long time to come. Regulation is another complicated barrier to overcome and at some point Ofcom may need to consider further changes in order to fully support both the removal of old PSTN services and the retirement of copper lines.

      We recently covered some other aspects of this subject as part of our February 2017 editorial – ‘The Changing Face of UK Home Phone Lines and Broadband Provision‘.


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      Re: KCOM in Hull UK Ponders Being First to Switch-Off Copper Phone Lines

      Another pipe-dream. Never going to happen in any areas in any of our life times!!

      Didn't BT also start (then stop) the switch to IP services several years ago with their colossus network project in 2008?

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      Re: KCOM in Hull UK Ponders Being First to Switch-Off Copper Phone Lines

      Perhaps with the split, Openreach will actually have the money to spend on improving the infrastructure. This could mean that FTTP can be rolled out in more areas and the copper cables becoming replaced.

      Of course this does require a lot of investment and also for all the ISPs (thinking of Sky here) to start offering products that work with it.

      Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro: Connected at 80,000 kbps / 20,000 kbps
      Previous ADSL2+ Speed 19999 kbps 1153 kbps, Line Attenuation 17.5 db 6.9 db, Noise Margin 7.5 dB 8.7 dB
      Speedtest: 17.15MB/s 0.97Mb/s Ping 31 ms

     

     

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