WightFibre makes history as it becomes the first UK telecom to switch off its copper network
Openreach doesn't plan to switch off its copper network until the mid 2030s
Published: 31st August 2022 | Source: On The Wight |
WightFibre's broadband network is now full-fibre, allowing the company to switch off its legacy network
The Isle of Wight now boasts some of the fastest internet in the UK, with WightFibre leading the charge with its new all-fibre network and its £94 million "Gigabit Island Project", which aims to be connected 96% of all premises on the Island by the end of 2023.
While WightFibre's focus is on full-fibre broadband, the operator was connected to a number of premises using an older Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) network. Was? Yes, now these legacy connections have all moved to Full-Fibre connections, allowing WightFibre to become the first network operator in the UK to switch off their legacy copper network. WightFibre now has a full-fibre network.
The good news for customers is that WightFibre's new all-fibre network is much faster and more reliable than their legacy HFC connections, and will enable the ISP to deliver faster speeds than their competitors. Currently, WightFibre offer users 900 Mbps guaranteed upload/downloads speeds, which is something that most of their competitors cannot match. No truncated upload speeds on WightFibre's network.
Below is what WightFibre's CEO, John Irvine, had to sayo about the company's full-fibre transition.
Our big copper switch-off was a major undertaking. For most customers the migration to full-fibre was seamless – their existing phones and analogue devices are supported on the new network with the notable exception of rotary dial telephones – thankfully there were only a few of those.
A small number of customers with very old alarm systems did need to upgrade their alarm systems as these are incompatible with full-fibre. With business customers this extended to some older dial-up credit card machines and fax machines. In many case WightFibre helped with these changes to persuade customers to upgrade.
Overall the process ran fairly smoothly. Our customers love the new network, the faster speeds, and the much-improved reliability.
WightFibre is ahead of the whole UK
WightFibre has turned off its legacy copper network more than a decade ahead of its mainland UK rivals. BT Openreach currently plans to switch off its copper network in the mid 2030s, and even then many remote areas will not be ready in time.
Virgin Media plans to fully upgrade from their HFC network to full fibre by 2028, though it remains unclear how long it will take for Virgin Media to transition their customers away from their legacy connections when their network has been upgraded. Even then, WightFibre will have beaten them to the punch by more than five years.
Today, the Isle of Wight has one of the strongest telecommunications networks in the UK, allowing the small Island to punch well above its weight class in today's connected world. With a full fibre network, WightFibre may become one of the first ISPs to push beyond 1Gb connections speeds to homes, making the Island a hot spot for networking fanatics.
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