26th February 2021

How will the WLR withdrawal impact your business in 2021

As the 2025 full stop of the PTSN network draws closer, we cover the key info you'll need to know to keep your organisation connected

Openreach started their first WLR stop sell in December 2020. As well as the halting of new wholesale line rental products from the Salisbury exchange, the date also saw the start of the 5 year withdrawal period. If all goes to the agreed timeframe, Openreach will have completely closed the PTSN network.

2021 is the year that the WLR withdrawal really starts to gain momentum. This year will see the first of many changes that will impact everybody on the UK Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN).

In this blog we’ll cover what’s coming in 2021 and beyond, when it’s happening, and how this will impact your organisation.

What is the WLR withdrawal?

Openreach announced the WLR withdrawal back in 2017. Since then, Immervox have been covering the withdrawal and speaking to customers about the steps they need to take.

The entirety of the UK’s PTSN will be decommissioned by 2025. The old copper internet and telephone infrastructure in the UK will be replaced by modern hi-speed fibre cabling.

This means that FTTP (fibre to the premises) can be offered by providers. The new infrastructure provides a much faster, more stable connection, that requires much less long-term maintenance.

Key WLR withdrawal dates

In 2021 the WLR withdrawal is going to get into full swing. There are several key dates between 2021 and 2025 you should be aware of:

May 2021: Stop sell of WLR from the Mildenhall exchange.

May 2021: Openreach starts a pilot of its SOTAP product.

September 2023: Stop sell of new supply of WLR

April 2025: Orphaned assets phase.

December 2025: WLR withdrawn, PTSN network fully out of service.

It’s important to note that over the coming years more dates will be added to this timeline. It is also liable to change.

At Immervox we keep our customers regularly informed as changes are announced by Openreach. Be sure to check our blog for further updates.

What’s going to be affected?

The following services are going to be impacted by the withdrawal of WLR. Any of the following in your organisations communications environment or premises infrastructure will need replacing by 2025:

  • PSTN Lines
  • Analogue Lines
  • Lift Lines
  • ISDN 2
  • ISDN 30
  • Broadband services ( ADSL 2+, Max 400, FTTC)

What should I do?

It’s vital that all organisations perform an audit. You’ll need to identify which components in your communications infrastructure will need to be replaced.

A lot of organisations and businesses still heavily rely on outdated analogue copper lines. This isn’t just for voice and internet connectivity. Lift lines and alarm systems, for example, are often overseen when considering the implications of the WLR withdrawal.

The WLR withdrawal may not only affect communications and internet connectivity. Many organisations, especially those based in older buildings, use them every day as part of the on-site infrastructure. Unless a full inspection of your organisations communications infrastructure is carried out you could be facing a huge unseen cost when the PTSN is cut off from your local exchange.

Help is available

Planning for business continuity during the WLR withdrawal can feel daunting. Migrating to IP systems will benefit your business in the long run, but in the short term it can be a very stressful and confusing process.

Fortunately, there is expert guidance and advice available. Immervox have been working with both private and public sector organisations throughout the WLR withdrawal. We’ve helped our customers get fibre ready and ensure that the withdrawal isn’t a hinderance to their ability to deliver in 2021.

Give the team a call today. Our experts would be happy to offer our assistance wherever you are in the process. Be it for an informal chat to find out more info, or to discuss replacement products, we’re always there and ready when you need us.

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