The BT copper to fibre switch: What does it mean for you and your business?
Business broadband is changing. In the next few years, BT Openreach will say goodbye forever to old-style copper telephone lines, switching off the network that has served homes and businesses for more than 20 years. In its place, we’ll all be using fibre optic cables. So what can we expect from the copper to fibre switch, and how can businesses prepare?
Farewell to the old technology
Copper telephone wires have been the lifeblood of our telephone and internet network for years, with many customers still relying on these networks to this day. They support traditional PSTN, ADSL and ISDN lines.
- PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) – A traditional telephone line using copper wire to transmit voice communications. The simplest phone setup, common in residential properties and small businesses.
- ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) – Using a PSTN, comprises of standard copper wire telephone lines. With the addition of a microfilter however, users can make phone calls and browse the internet at the same time. A common choice for residential and small business use.
- ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) – Uses traditional copper wire telephone lines but sends digital rather than analogue transmissions, making it faster than ADSL. A common choice for businesses.
These technologies have all been essential business communication tools – but the new full fibre optic cables can do the same job much faster, flexibly and more reliably.
Your current set up may very well differ from another business. For example, you might run fibre cables to the exchange cabinet and then copper wires from the exchange to your premises (FTTC – Fibre to the cabinet), whereas others might run fibre cables to their front door (FTTP – Fibre to the premises). In fact, some don’t have fibre at all and solely rely on the copper network. Even if you have an FTTC set up however, this won’t be enough. All businesses and residential properties will need to have FTTP.
The good news is that there’s plenty of time to prepare for the big switch, which won’t happen until 2026 – and when it does begin, it will happen gradually so you have time to adapt. Fibre optic cables first made their appearance back in 2000, with more people adopting them over time, so the changeover to pure fibre broadband really is happening slowly.
That said, there will be a time in the next few years when your existing ADSL, ISDN and copper phone lines will stop working, to be replaced by fibre. This is a really positive step for business communications – there’s a bright future ahead, with super-fast internet connections paving the way. They’ll enable things like video conferencing, Cloud computing and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone lines, which can transform your business communications and help you to work more efficiently.
Fibre optic internet connections have:
- Faster speeds, so you can transmit data more quickly.
- More reliability, so you’ll get a good connection no matter what time it is, or how far you are from the exchange.
- More potential, allowing you the flexibility to work remotely.
- Better value when you take advantage of technologies like VoIP, which could save you 60% on telephone bills because all calls are made over the internet.
What to do now
Now’s the time to take stock of your existing phone and broadband setup, and plan for the future. The sooner you do this, the better equipped you’ll be for the switch when it comes.
- Check the technologies you’re currently using for your business telephone and internet services. Are they serving you well? Listing any pros and cons will help you identify what you need from a new system, and if you need to take action straight away.
- Are you in a fibre-enabled area? Over 90% of the UK can currently access super-fast broadband technology, but if you’re in one of the remaining areas not yet connected, you’ll have to adjust your plans accordingly.
- Create a wish-list. Decide which technologies could support your business goals in the next 5-10 years. Talk to a telecoms specialist to find out which systems are most likely to serve your needs. Our friendly team of experts are only a call away!
Explore your options with Croft
Need advice from a telecoms specialist? Look no further than Croft Communications. We tailor our phone and broadband solutions to each individual client, so you’ll get exactly what you need to future-proof your business.