Deadline to switch off the copper network has people worried over alarms and elevators that may stop working

Deadline to switch off the copper network has people worried over alarms and elevators that may stop working

The UK is marking a significant milestone as it begins to phase out its legacy copper communications network, which could have far-reaching consequences for various services.

End of New Lines on PSTN

Starting today, British citizens will no longer be able to purchase new lines on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), a network that is slated for permanent shutdown in 2025.

Legacy Technology Still in Use

The PSTN relies on underground copper lines dating back to the late 19th century and is still in use by various devices and systems installed in the 90s. These include burglar alarms, door entry mechanisms, CCTV systems, lifts, and even fax machines.

Impact on Consumers and Businesses

According to Andrew Belshaw, CEO of telecoms company Gamma, approximately seven million consumers and three million businesses in the UK still rely on these legacy copper lines. Many may not be fully aware of the impending changes and the need to adapt.

BT’s Recovery Efforts

BT, the telecommunications giant, has announced plans to recover up to 200,000 tonnes of copper from its network as it dismantles the obsolete system. This copper is valued at up to £1.4 billion at current market prices. BT’s move aligns with its broader strategy of rolling out fiber broadband to 25 million homes and businesses by the end of 2026.

UK Joins European Trend

The UK is following a growing trend in Europe, where several countries are phasing out PSTN in favor of internet protocol (IP) networks. Germany and Sweden are ahead of the UK in this transition, while Estonia and The Netherlands have already completed the switch to IP networks.

Positive Outcomes for Telecoms Companies

The shift away from legacy copper networks has had a positive impact on telecoms companies. London-listed Gamma recently revised its earnings forecasts upward, aligning with market expectations. The company reported increased profits and announced its acquisition of cyber security firm Satisnet in a £20 million deal.

Strong Financial Performance

In the first half of the year, Gamma saw pre-tax profits rise by 13% to £43.5 million, and revenues increased by 9% to £256.2 million.

Market Response

Gamma’s strong performance resonated with the market, leading to a 1.3% increase in its shares, which reached 1082p.

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