Supporting upgrades to broadband and telephone services

29 January 2020

Ofcom is today changing our rules to help broadband companies upgrade customers to faster broadband more efficiently, and support trials aimed at providing customers with newer broadband and telephone services.

Openreach, which maintains the UK’s main phone and broadband network, will carry out trials in Salisbury and Mildenhall to test the processes for moving customers off older broadband and  home phone services. This is part of the company’s plans to upgrade its network. Lessons learned from these trials will help to set out how older broadband and home phone services across the country could be replaced.

We’re helping to encourage early participation in these trials, by allowing Openreach to offer discounts for certain broadband services in these areas. The trials will be exempt from rules that require Openreach to provide services at the same price everywhere in the UK.

Current rules also mean Openreach must install new broadband connections within a set timeframe.

Broadband companies who use Openreach’s network want a more efficient and cost-effective way to upgrade their customers who are on slower copper broadband to higher-speed services. So, Openreach has worked with them to develop a new process for upgrades to be made in bulk batches at a street cabinet, reducing the cost per customer.

Under this process, Openreach would wait for a sufficient number of upgrades from a broadband company at a given cabinet before making those upgrades.

Given the potential benefits to broadband customers of using this new process, we’re making these orders exempt from certain rules that require them to be completed within a set timeframe.