Copper to fibre switch - Compare Fibre reports consumer choices will halve and prices double
- Openreach has announced that over 200 exchanges will stop providing copper services in the next 12 months.
- Compare Fibre research suggests that this will result in reduced consumer choices and higher broadband prices.
- Consumer choice in these areas will fall by as much as half.
- Consumer prices in these areas will increase by as much as double.
The long term plan for Internet services in the United Kingdom is to have a full-fibre network providing Gigabit speeds for all who want them. This change will result in the transition from copper internet access to fibre internet access for all.
Initially, the entire UK was to be fully fibred by 2025. However, the UK Government watered down this ambitious target to 85% of premises receiving Gigabit-capable services by 2025. Either way, the UK’s Internet infrastructure is advancing, and the technologies and services we use to access it are changing.
On the face of it, it’s excellent news. The UK’s fibre infrastructure will replace the archaic copper technology many of us use to access the internet. The Government is setting aside £5bn to connect the remaining hardest to reach areas. But there’s a cost of this light speed, ultrafast revolution.
Openreach has recently announced that over 200 broadband exchanges across the UK will stop providing copper broadband services in the next 12 months. If we take a closer look at what is happening in areas scheduled for the “stop-sell” of copper broadband services (which includes Superfast broadband), the costs are clear to see.
Take Flockton in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, as a classic example. Today you can order both copper broadband and full-fibre broadband services. However, as of June 2021, Openreach will no longer provide copper services from this exchange.
A new broadband consumer in Flockton arriving after June 2021 will be paying (at today’s prices) anywhere from 84-110% more for their broadband than an existing resident, with a reduced number of providers from which to choose. The net effect of the “stop sell” reduced consumer choice and higher prices.
Similarly, an existing Flockton resident looking to switch Superfast providers is likely to be locked into their current provider. Unless they want to move to a full-fibre service, switching to another Superfast service after June 2021 will no longer be an option.
So, it seems what full-fibre gives with one hand; it takes away with the other. Compare Fibre predicts that without more providers and a more significant range of lower-priced, lower bandwidth packages, broadband is about to see some hyper-inflation hotspots.
Openreach Stop Sell Schedule