After months of updates on the PSTN Switch Off and BT Openreach's progress, we’ve finally reached the next stage in the PSTN Switch Off timeline: the UK-wide “Stop Sell” on any new Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) products. But what does this mean for households and businesses throughout the country? In this article, we will cover the key points you need to be aware of following this change, and what you can do to prepare for what’s coming next.
What is the PSTN Network and why is it closing?
In simple terms, the PSTN and ISDN Networks are what BT Openreach rely upon to deliver traditional copper-based phone and broadband services. In switching off these networks, they plan to do away with traditional phone lines and move the country onto newer and faster Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband products.
Despite their plans to upgrade the country’s broadband, the newer FTTP broadband will not be available to everyone when the PSTN and ISDN networks are closed. Meaning that some households will be required to find alternative solutions or face being disconnected entirely.
How does the PSTN Stop Sell affect me?
From the 5th of September, anyone looking to purchase a phone or broadband service using the old copper lines for the first time will be no longer able to do so. Instead, they will have to seek alternative solutions such as SoGEA Broadband.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, some ISPs (namely TalkTalk and Sky Broadband) use fully unbundled lines which are exempt from these changes. Despite this, it is still important to remember that these services still have a shelf life and will only allow users an extra few years before they are disconnected.
If you are currently using a copper line for your phone and broadband, then you will either be upgraded to an FTTP service or have until the December 2025 cut-off to find an alternative solution before being disconnected.
Can I upgrade to FTTP Broadband?
BT Openreach has created an interactive map detailing the build plans and progress for their Ultrafast Full Fibre Broadband. Using this you can learn whether or not you are part of the current build plan. For those who are not, we would strongly recommend seeking alternative solutions for your phone and broadband. More details in our following point.
What are my options if I’m not eligible for FTTP Broadband?
For those looking to secure their broadband connection, SoGEA Broadband (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access) serves as the only alternative to using the soon-to-be-obsolete PSTN phone lines. Switching to SoGEA Broadband can often be cheaper than the combined cost of a phone line and broadband, giving you a monthly saving.
The one caveat to using SoGEA Broadband is that it removes the ability to connect to a traditional phone system. However, this eventuality is virtually unavoidable with the PSTN networks closing. At Gemini, we stock a wide range of VoIP phone systems (Voice over Internet Protocol), which use your internet connection to make reliable, high-quality calls.
How long do I have to act?
Whilst September 5th was marked as the nationwide Stop Sell date, further dates have been added as more exchange locations have been added to the build plan. To ensure users are kept informed, BT Openreach has a Stop Sell page with information on each of the unique Stop Sell dates.
Whilst the Stop Sell is the most recent stage in the PSTN Switch Off timeline, it is far from the last. December 2025 has been marked as the planned date for the PSTN and ISDN services to be shut down completely. This gives users a hard deadline to upgrade their phone and broadband or seek alternative solutions.
Whilst 2025 may sound like a long time away, remember that you won’t be alone in that thought. It would be of greater benefit for you to act now before you, and potentially thousands of others, are forced to make a switch. Talk to our Gemini team of experts about future-proofing your home or business and the Phone and Broadband solutions available to you.