What Will Happen to My Internet When the Copper Switch Off Happens?

Find out what to expect when the copper switch-off occurs and how it will impact your broadband service. Learn about the transition to fibre optic networks and how to prepare for the change.

The “copper switch off" is the replacement of the UK’s copper landline infrastructure with fibre optic cable. This means a more reliable and cheaper alternative to landline by implementing phone calls into your broadband service—aptly named Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). It also opens the door for upgraded broadband connections utilising fibre-optic cables rather than copper, enhancing speed, capacity and reliability.

If you’re wondering what will happen to your internet when the copper switch-off happens, transitioning to partial or full-fibre broadband will be quicker, more reliable, and offer enhanced connectivity. So, it pays to be proactive.


What Will Happen to My Internet When the Copper Switch Off Happens?


In December 2025, conventional copper wire networks will be switched off, making way for fibre to be the new norm. So, all homes and businesses will need to upgrade to VoIP before then. With this in mind, it makes sense to get ahead of things by switching over early, particularly when you can save money and get a better, more reliable connection.


VoIP contracts like Wildanet’s Phoneline+ service will replace traditional landline contracts, which will end by 2023. Existing contracts until 2025 won't experience price changes but may require phone line connections to routers. When the copper switch-off occurs in your area, you can expect several changes to take place, including:


Transition to Fibre-Optic Networks: Your existing copper-based services, such as landline and broadband internet, will be migrated to fibre-optic networks. Therefore making traditional copper wire services obsolete.

Hardware Upgrades: Depending on your current equipment, you may need to upgrade to fibre-compatible hardware, such as fibre-optic modems, routers and phones with VoIP capabilities.

Service Continuity: Service providers are committed to ensuring minimal disruption during the transition. As long as you upgrade to VoIP, you should experience uninterrupted service during the switch-off process.

Improved Performance: Once you have transitioned to full-fibre, you can look forward to faster speeds, improved reliability, and enhanced performance for your telecommunications services.


What is the Copper Switch Off?


The “copper switch-off” refers to the planned decommissioning of traditional copper-based networks, such as the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). These networks, which have served as the backbone of telecommunications for decades, are being replaced by more advanced fibre-optic technology.


When is the Copper Switch Off Scheduled?


The deadline for the switch is December 2025. The aim is that all 29 million British homes will be switched to the new system by 2025 and that the old-school copper system will be switched off entirely by 2027. As of 2023, there are no new sales of traditional landline deals. The Government published a detailed briefing on the change in January 2024.


What Does This Mean for Customers?


For customers, the copper switch-off signifies a shift towards modern and efficient telecommunications infrastructure. While traditional copper networks served us well in the past, they are becoming increasingly outdated and unable to meet the growing demands of today's digital world. Embracing fibre-optic technology offers numerous benefits, including faster speeds, greater reliability, and enhanced connectivity.


For businesses, proactively adopting VoIP technology is the best bet. Almost half of UK businesses have transitioned to hosted telephony, integrating calls with their broadband. If your current contract relies on ISDN or PSTN lines, assess whether switching to VoIP is beneficial now or closer to 2025.