A Guide to the Copper Wire Switch-Off

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Ready for the copper switch-off? Find out all about the UK’s copper wire switch-off: impacts, benefits, and transition tips for a seamless changeover.

 A Guide to the Copper Wire Switch-Off

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As the needs of both business and residential users continue to evolve, maintaining our telecommunications infrastructure has never been more important, and a very big change is coming at the end of 2025 with the copper wire switch-off. But this could bring changes for you if you’re still on a copper wire network yourself, and although this changeover isn’t due to take place until 2025, it’s better to be prepared than to find yourself potentially without service.  

What is the Copper Wire Switch-off?

The technology used for landline telephones is older than you might think. The copper network used across the UK for telephone communications has been active since 1877 and over the past few decades, this same network of copper cables has also been used to provide internet services, as well. But in December this network will be switched off for good. 

The Need for Change

It was inevitable that there would be a point at which change would have to come. In the 1870s copper wiring was the latest technology, but to say that our needs have changed would be something of an understatement. Copper comes with limitations, in terms of the amount of information or data that it can transmit, and fibre optic cable is the answer. It can carry significantly larger amounts of data at considerably faster speeds over longer distances, and it’s sturdier than copper wire. 

When Will the Copper Broadband Be Switched Off? Timeline and Phases

The timeline for the copper broadband switch-off has already started. Details were first announced in November 2017, and the process has slowly been rolling out since then. After a trial period held in Salisbury and Mildenhall, the next stage in the rollout was implemented in September 2023, when the “Stop Sell notice of Wholesale Line Rental” was issued.  

This meant that copper broadband and phone packages could no longer be sold if upgrading or switching telecoms providers.  From this point on, customers have only been able to order fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP or full-fibre) broadband networks. In December 2025 the ISDN (copper internet) and PTSN (copper landline telephone lines) will be switched off for good.

Impact on Consumers and Businesses

The copper withdrawal will affect approximately 25 million premises across the UK. If you’re already on a fibre package, you won’t be affected. But if you still have an older-style landline connection or an older broadband package, you’ll need to upgrade. 

A survey from National Business Communications indicates that there is still work to do in this respect. They’ve been surveying the business community for several years, and while things are going in the right direction, it remains the case that 62% of businesses surveyed in 2023 were still using a landline phone. 

Preparation for this transition is important. Check your systems for compatibility issues ahead of time, because this transition won’t only affect some telephone and internet services, some devices, including textphones, amplified and intruder alarms, could also be affected. If you’re in any way unsure, contact your service provider. 

Will My Phone Line Be Affected by the Copper Switch-off?

If you still have a copper landline telephone on your premises, you will need to switch to an alternative by December 2025, as this service will be switched off at that point. Copper wire (ISDN) broadband users should be largely unaffected. 

If you do still have FTTC (the older, copper-wired form of internet), the copper lines that run from the cabinet to your home will keep working until full fibre is provided to your area. 

Be aware that the current analogue system is linked to your local telephone exchange which has its own power supply. At the moment your landline will work even if your electricity supply isn’t working, you’ll still be able to make calls if your electricity is down. 

But the new system will rely on your own electricity supply. This means if there is a power cut or outage in your home or business premises, you won’t be able to make or take landline calls using the digital network. Any other devices and systems connected to the digital network will also stop working during an outage.  

An alternative is to have a battery backup for your broadband router, then you will be able to access the internet even if there’s been a power cut. A mobile phone is also good to have as a backup. There are options available, no matter what your concerns are over this transition. 

How to Transition From Copper to Fibre

Your service provider may already have been in contact with you about this. Businesses may have complexities. If you have more than one site (or one very big site), how certain are you that all your external connections are taken into account? Contacting your service provider is the best thing to do. They will be able to advise on the range of services available in your area, as these will vary from place to place, and on anything else that you need to do. 

Despite the huge numbers involved, the copper switch-off has been phased in in such a way that it will cause the minimum amount of disruption possible. But this doesn’t mean that there will be no disruption at all. Given how important connectivity is to our lives in the 21st century, you mustn’t leave this until the last minute. You might find that service providers are getting pretty busy by the latter stages of 2025!

But steady on there a moment, because help is available. At Switchpal, we can help to ease this transition for you. We have a guide to fibre broadband so that you can familiarise yourself with the latest ways of doing things, while business users can take advantage of our guide to business broadband offerings

And of course, we can use our panel of trusted partners to get you the best deal for your broadband needs, whether for business or residential. December 2025 may seem like a long way away, but you don’t want to get tripped up as this country’s communication infrastructure undergoes its biggest change in decades. Get yourself ready early, and find out the benefits of moving onto the latest connections available.

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