The 2023 Stop Sell: It’s time to take action

Everyone’s been talking about the PSTN Switch Off in 2025. But it’s later this year that Openreach are going to stop selling traditional analogue based connectivity and voice products entirely, and in many parts of the country it’s already happened. So, now’s the time to get your customers thinking about making the move to All-IP.

The communications landscape will be transformed by the Great Switch Off. However, if you thought that December 2025 was the date to focus on, think again. In September 2023, Openreach will stop selling Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) products, which have powered voice and broadband connectivity for many years.

Openreach have already started the process of upgrading exchanges to All-IP in preparation for the 2023 Stop Sell. Salisbury in Wiltshire was the first trial site with Stop Sell introduced there in December 2020 and was an FTTP priority exchange trial. This was followed by Mildenhall in Suffolk, where Stop Sell began in May 2021 and was treated as a SOGEA trial location.

As the full fibre rollout continues, Stop Sell will be initiated in more and more locations, with implementation gathering pace exponentially. To date there has been 12 Tranches announced quarterly by Openreach since June 2020. These collectively cover 830 exchanges. 460 exchanges are already under Stop Sell Notice with an additional 370 under Stop Sell Notice. And in September 2023, the Stop Sell goes nationwide.

Although existing WLR-based services will continue to operate in these areas until the switch-off, communications providers won’t be able to sell new services and there will be restrictions on migration.

It’s not just new connections that will be unavailable for order. Taking over or restarting stopped lines will also no longer be possible. Similarly, bandwidth modification, adding lines to existing installations and other modifications will be prohibited.

Furthermore, Openreach have introduced service degradation on existing legacy assets within the two trial exchanges in Salisbury and Mildenhall. From 24th April 2023, those remaining on the legacy network, who are not exempt, will experience a reduction in broadband download speeds to around 2Mbps, followed by a barring of outbound calls (excluding emergency calls), from 5th June 2023. This is going to lay the foundations of what can be expected to extend across further exchanges after the Nationwide Stop Sell.

How does Stop Sell work?

Stop Sell impacts any products which rely on the traditional copper telephone network to provide voice or broadband services. This includes WLR3 analogue, ISDN2, ISDN30 and SMPF, as well as Narrowband Line Share and Classic products. There are two types of Stop Sell:

WLR Withdrawal
Analogue services such as PSTN and ISDN-based products are removed from the exchange and are therefore no longer available for sale, including ADSL and FTTC broadband.

FTTP Priority Exchange
Openreach has agreed with Ofcom and the telecoms industry that, in certain exchange areas that reach a high level of Ultrafast coverage, FTTP will become the main available product for communications providers. If FTTP Priority Exchange Stop Sell applies in an exchange, as long as FTTP is available at the client’s premises, they will only have access to full fibre connectivity products.

In addition to Stop Sell, once a premises has been converted to FTTP connectivity, a ‘no move back to copper’ policy will apply.

It’s time to take the initiative

In 2025 any of your customers still using the PSTN will need to find a new fibre-based connectivity solution, and potentially a VoIP service, if they still require telephony.

However, it makes sense for them to make the move sooner rather than later. With the impact of the Stop Sell rollout and the huge advantages of switching to a full fibre connectivity solution, now’s the time for you to sell fibre proactively and get ahead of the market.

Remember, full fibre connectivity doesn’t just deliver ultrafast speeds and exceptional resilience. It’s also the gateway to an All-IP future. With full fibre, every business can take full advantage of cloud applications and IP voice, using hosted communications and IT to work smarter and improve efficiency, productivity and profitability.

It doesn’t matter whether the company is a customer-facing retail or hospitality business or an office-based B2B set-up. The advantages of switching to VoIP are universal. With no major up-front investment needed in network infrastructure or hardware, it’s an affordable proposition, even for an SMB with limited investment capital.

Here are some steps to take to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the selling opportunities in this changing marketplace…

Review your contracts

If a contract is reaching the end of its term, it makes sense for the customer to upgrade to a full fibre connectivity solution at contract renewal. Check for any contracts that are due to terminate within the next six months and reach out to these customers to educate them on the benefits of All-IP.

Upskill your teams

Your customers will no doubt have a lot of questions about making the move to full fibre connectivity. That’s why it’s important to give your customer-facing staff the information and knowledge to answer those questions reliably. Now’s the time to give them the training they need on selling, provision and supporting All-IP products, including FTTP, SOGEA and IP Voice solutions like HVS and V-IP Essentials.

Create migration plans

Even if a customer doesn’t want to upgrade to full fibre until the Great Switch Off in 2025, it’s a good idea to work with them to create a migration plan, making them aware of the coming changes and the deadlines involved. Having a clear path to a new connectivity solution will help them make the right decisions and ensure that their business is future proofed.

Don’t forget the hardware

Getting customers ready for an All-IP future isn’t just about connectivity. It’s important to review their hardware provision to make sure that it’s also fit for the future. Is it up-to-date and scalable? Can it effectively support IP-based services?

Look at the complete picture
Connectivity doesn’t just impact communications and business processes. Many companies will also have ancillary services that are dependent on copper-based phone lines, including security alarms, door entry systems and cash registers. It’s important to carry out a thorough review to ensure you’ve covered off all the customer’s connectivity needs.

At DWS we’re here to help you take your customers smoothly into the exciting new world of full fibre and VoIP. We work with multiple suppliers to offer both SOGEA and FTTP services, helping you bring your customers into the digital future.

We also have a portfolio of IP voice licences to suit any type or size of business. HV.Select is our award-winning Hosted Voice solution, designed to take your customers seamlessly into the new world of IP communications, delivering all the advanced features, scalability, security and future proofing of VoIP in a cost-effective package.

V-IP Essentials is our Single Line Voice Replacement, built for businesses with less complex telephony needs and residential users too, it is fully compatible and complimentary with our Connectivity solutions and also fully flexible with regards to Hardware too.

Speak to your Account Manager to find out how we can support you in migrating your customer base to an All-IP future.