When is the Copper Switch Off Scheduled to Happen in My Area?

Discover when the copper switch-off is set to occur in your area and how it will impact your broadband service following the switch to full-fibre internet.

The copper network in the UK has provided telephone communications since 1876 and internet services over the last few decades. By the end of 2025, the “copper switch-off” will replace the UK’s landline infrastructure with high-speed fibre optic cable, offering households and businesses faster and more reliable broadband and a cheaper landline option.

The deadline for the switch to full-fibre is December 2025. However, if you’re eager to know when the copper switch-off will occur in your area, it's crucial to contact your service provider. They will have the most up-to-date information on the transition schedule, as certain areas will be switched over before others. For instance, switching to fibre may take longer for rural and remote areas, where specialist full-fibre broadband for rural areas will be a game-changer.

What Does the “Copper-Switch Off” Mean?

The copper cable network, or PSTN (public switched telephone network), is the system of traditional phone lines in the UK that have been used for almost 150 years. The ISDN (integrated service digital network) is a protocol that, in many cases, uses the same copper wires as well as fibre optic cables. Both the PSTN and IDSN will be shut down in December 2025, which is being referred to as the “copper switch-off.” 

Following this, all phones will use VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology. The same can be said for other systems using ISDN and PSTN cables, such as traditional alarms, CCTV, and door entry systems, which will also migrate to VoIP.

Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband relies on the old network of copper cables. While this broadband will still be available once the switch-off happens, it will still suffer the same restrictions we expect from copper connections, such as lower speed and reliability compared to full fibre.


Why is the Copper Switch Off Happening?

The PSTN network has been used for almost 150 years and was originally created to support telecommunications across the UK. However, the requirements and scope for such services have grown immensely. While some of this can be put down to population growth, the advances in technology and the global digital revolution over the last few decades are driving forces for change.

In 1986, the ISDN (integrated service digital network) was introduced to enhance the copper network’s capabilities. This allowed for a range of additional services, such as FTTC broadband, to function through the ageing network. As the needs of households and businesses continued to grow, with no signs of slowing down, the older network is struggling to deliver the capacity and reliability consumers need. 

With this in mind, vital steps have been taken to modernise the network to improve reliability and better serve users by switching copper off and migrating to VoIP.


When is the Copper Switch Off Happening?

The deadline for the switch to full-fibre is December 2025. The goal is for British homes to switch over to the new system by 2025 and for the copper network to be retired by 2027. As of 2023, no new traditional landline deals are being sold.

The PSTN and ISDN will cease to work and be replaced by VoIP by December 31st, 2025. By this time, most business or home users will have been transferred to the fibre network. The upgrade may have already started in your area, as it is being conducted on a region-by-region basis.

As mentioned, switching to a full-fibre network may not happen as quickly for those living in rural areas. Check out the various locations Wildanet provides full-fibre across Cornwall and the South West.