Openreach, BT’s semi-independent network infrastructure business, has launched a consultation with its communications provider (CP) customers and industry groups about the move from analogue telephony to digital voice services.

According to the company, its consultation will help prepare the industry for the upgrade to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology and the withdrawal of wholesale products and services that run over analogue telephone networks, which are due to close in 2025.

Openreach made the announcement after BT revealed plans to migrate all customers from its traditional analogue phone network (the PSTN) to new digital internet-based services by 2025.

The consultation will run until July 27th 2018, and will seek feedback on a new transitional product – known as the Single Order Transitional Access Product (SOTAP).

This will enable consumers and businesses that are currently connected via traditional copper lines to receive a ‘pure’ broadband service that does not rely on the analogue PSTN platform. Communications providers will then be able to offer a digital voice service over the top.

Mark Logan, product director at Openreach, said: “As our customers demand faster and more reliable connectivity, we’ve already accelerated our plans to build more fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband technology across Britain, and we expect to reach three million premises by the end of 2020. At the same time, we’re developing new, digital, broadband-only products that will no longer rely on BT’s ageing analogue voice platform.

“The move from analogue to digital opens up exciting opportunities for our CPs to develop new products and services, which will drive their businesses forward and meet their customers’ demands for decades to come.”

Openreach’s move to digital is part of an international trend amongst telecoms providers preparing for analogue platforms like the PSTN to become obsolete.

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