Wholesale Line Rental
(WLR) Stop sell 

Background

BT announced in 2017 that it will be closing down the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) in December 2025.  As WLR1 relies on the PSTN it means that Openreach will no longer offer or support this product following the closure. 

To support the transition away from WLR, a UK-wide stop sell was announced for September 2023.  In preparation for this milestone, we have undergone trials in Salisbury and Mildenhall to test the process and have also started phasing-out the sale of analogue phone lines within exchange areas which have achieved an agreed level of full fibre coverage.

What is stop sell?

The term stop sell is used by Openreach to signify stopping the sale of certain Openreach products. This is different from product withdrawal, as under stop sell, any end customer who already has the product, will be able to continue using it (until it is withdrawn).                                                                   

If a product is impacted by stop sell2, this will impact new supply which includes these order journeys: working line takeovers, start of stopped lines, migrations, Communications Provider (CP) transfers, addition of broadband to copper voice lines, bandwidth modify, or addition of lines and channels to existing installations.                                                                              

Modify orders for changing, adding or removing calling network features, which include management of debt, and changing of existing service maintenance levels, as well as Dynamic line Management (DLM) are accepted to allow the in-life management of the current active service.                                                                              

Currently there are two programmes for which stop sell applies:                                                               

1. FTTP Priority Exchange                                                                            

2. WLR Withdrawal          

A summary of the current stop sell schedule is detailed below, together with links to the exchanges covered by each tranche:

Click here for list of exchanges in each tranche

 

FTTP Priority Exchange programme

The FTTP Priority Exchange was initially trialled at the Salisbury exchange from 1 December 2020.

It was subsequently agreed with Ofcom and industry, that in certain exchange areas that reach a high level of coverage3, FTTP would become the main available product for CPs to consume2.                                                                                                                                                                    

What does this mean for me? 

Openreach will provide 12 months’ notice for any exchange that will be impacted by this stop sell programme.  A list of up-to-date exchanges covered by this stop sell are shared quarterly and a link to the list can be found here.

If FTTP Priority Exchange stop sell applies in an exchange where you’re trying to put an order through, then as long as FTTP is available at that premises, it’ll be the only product you can buy2, and other products4 will no longer be available.     

Please note that ethernet is not impacted/restricted by FTTP Priority Exchange stop sell.

If FTTP is not available at the premises, then the stop sell will not be applied and any available product can be ordered.             

The stop sell rules for the FTTP Priority Exchange programme are illustrated below:

Under the rules of the stop sell policy, end customers that already have an active GEA-FTTC or SOGEA service (any speed) will be allowed to change CP and keep their existing service as long as it is provided on either a GEA-FTTC 40/10 or SOGEA 40/10 service.

In support of this policy, end customers will also be able to modify the bandwidth from any speed to a GEA-FTTC 40/10 or SOGEA 40/10 service.   

The table below illustrates these rules:

Summary of FTTP Priority Exchange stop sell rules:

  • Stop sell applies at a premises level only where that premises has access to an available GEA-FTTP product
  • Where a premises has access GEA-FTTP new supply order restrictions will apply. There will be limited CP1 to CP transfers, migrations and WLTO allowed if FTTC or SOGEA exist, and the ordered product has a speed profile of FTTC/ SOGEA 40 /10
  • Once a premises has been enabled for GEA-FTTP post stop sell being implemented, order restrictions will apply immediately for any new requests received 
  • If a premises does not have GEA-FTTP available, SOGfast, SOGEA, GEA-FTTC, SOTAP, (where no fibre available), MPF and WLR (until September 2023) will be available

WLR Withdrawal programme                               

The WLR Withdrawal stop sell flag has been trialled in Mildenhall from 4 May 2021.                         

From September 2023, the WLR withdrawal flag will be set across the UK restricting WLR nationally for new supply.   This will result in all exchange locations having the WLR product restricted.  Please note that these restrictions will be covered under the rules for the “WLR Withdrawal UK September 2023 stop sell”.  Please refer to this content for a summary of the order restrictions that will apply.

For any other FTTP Priority Exchanges that are currently active or under notification, (i.e. FTTP Priority Flag = Y), please see the stop sell guidance which explains the differences where the FTTP Priority and Withdrawal Flags are set to ‘Yes’.   These are covered within the content: “WLR Withdrawal UK September 2023 – Order restrictions if both the FTTP Priority flag and WLR Withdrawal flag are set to Y”.  

What does this mean for me?                                                   

If WLR Withdrawal stop sell applies in an exchange where you’re trying to put an order through, then certain products will be restricted as covered below2. Please note, that the stop sell rules will be slightly different within the Mildenhall trial and the WLR Withdrawal UK September 2023 stop sell.

For the Mildenhall trial area, the existing stop sell rules will remain in effect until September 2023.  Please refer to the information covering the WLR Withdrawal - Mildenhall stop sell below for more information on these order restrictions.    

MPF + FTTC is still available under exception request (under validation)

 

Summary of Mildenhall stop sell rules:

  • Stop sell applies at a premises level only where that premises has access to an available GEA-FTTP, SOGfast or SOGEA product
  • Where a premises has access to GEA-FTTP, SOGfast or SOGEA, there will be no new supply of other products.  In addition, there will be no CP transfers, working line takeovers, addition of broadband to voice lines, bandwidth modify, start of stopped lines, or migrations to non-Ultrafast products.
  • If a premises does not have access to GEA-FTTP, SOGfast or SOGEA; MPF and SOTAP will then be available for new supply which includes CP transfers, working line takeovers and start of stopped lines.
  • If the premises get availability for GEA-FTTP, SOGfast or SOGEA post stop sell they will come within scope of stop sell immediately.
  • Consideration will also be given to investment policies in the copper network which could include VDSL cabinet capacity and repairs of the copper network

Summary of UK September 2023 stop sell rules:

  • Stop sell applies at a premises level only where that premises has access to an available GEA-FTTP, SOGfast or SOGEA product
  • From September 2023:
    •  WLR and SMPF will not be available for new supply and CP1 to CP2 transfers.  Modify orders to manage debt, 999 updates will be accepted
    • Where a premises has access to GEA-FTTP, SOGfast, SOGEA, MPF and FTTC (MPF only), no new supply of other products, CP transfers, working line takeovers, addition of broadband to voice lines, bandwidth modify, start of stopped lines or migrations to non-Ultrafast products will be permitted
    • MPF and SOTAP will be available for new supply where fibre is not enabled at the premises
    • If premises get availability for GEA-FTTP, SOGfast or SOGEA post stop sell, SOTAP will be made unavailable for new supply immediately
  • Consideration will also be given to investment policies in the copper network which could include VDSL cabinet capacity and repairs of the copper network 

Summary of UK stop sell rules where both the FTTP Priority flag and WLR Withdrawal flag are set to Y:

  • Stop sell applies at a premises level only where that premises has access to an available GEA-FTTP product
  • Where a premises has access GEA-FTTP there will be no new supply of other products, CP transfers, working line takeovers, addition of broadband to voice lines, bandwidth modify, start of stopped lines or migrations to non-Ultrafast products
  • If a premises has GEA-FTTP available to order, then only GEA-FTTP is available and as premises get availability post stop sell, they will come within scope of stop sell immediately
  • If a premises does not have GEA-FTTP available, SOGfast, SOGEA, GEA-FTTC, SOTAP, (where no fibre available), MPF will be available
  • Consideration will also be given to investment policies in the copper network which could include VDSL cabinet capacity and repairs of the copper network

 

 

 

1WLR is being used to collectively refer to the following products: WLR3 Analogue, ISDN 2, ISDN 30, LLU SMPF, SLU SMPF, Narrowband Line Share and Classic

2Except where stop sell policy permits or exceptions apply

375% of address keys are enabled for Ultrafast (FTTP and Gfast >300Mb) 

4By other products, what is meant is the following Openreach products: WLR3 Analogue, ISDN 2, ISDN 30, SMPF, MPF, FTTC, Narrowband Line Share, Classic, Gfast, SOGfast, SOGEA and SOTAP 

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