Important Updates - Openreach Stop Sell Plans (Feb 2024)

As Openreach plans to build full-fibre to the premises (FTTP) to more than 25 million locations by the end of 2026, TalkTalk Wholesale Services remains fully committed to supporting our Partners with the transition to a full-fibre, all-IP future using Openreach access, supplemented with alternative fibre networks.

The exponential growth in full-fibre availability has led Openreach to notify Communication Providers of its intent to begin retiring legacy access technologies and services on an exchange-by-exchange basis. At the same time, they are also withdrawing their legacy Voice infrastructure which supports their Wholesale Line Rental services (WLR). This will affect the availability of TalkTalk’s Wholesale and Managed Broadband access services at selected exchanges.

There are several types of Exchange Exit, Product Withdrawals and Stop Sells that have been announced by Openreach. These are:

  • Openreach Exchange Exit Pilot – 3 exchanges in 2024.

  • Openreach Exchange Exits Phases 1 to 4 – 105 exchanges by end of 2030.

  • WLR Stop Sell and WLR National Withdrawal by December 2025.

  • FTTP Priority Exchanges (Copper Stop Sell) – quarterly updates.

1. Openreach Exchange Exit Pilot – 3 exchanges in 2024.

Openreach originally announced that they intended to fully close 5 local exchanges in 2024, however this number has now been reduced to 3. The 3 exchanges that Openreach hope to close in 2024, are Deddington, which is currently planned for 29th March 2024, and Kenton Road and Ballyclare, which are currently planned for 21st September 2024.

These exchange closures will impact WLR and MPF based copper voice and broadband services (including FTTC and These will need to be transitioned to All IP Products by the respective exchange closure dates. The alternative All IP products will predominantly be FTTP (90% coverage currently) or alternatively SoGEA (10% coverage) where FTTP is not available, both with Digital Voice where required. These All IP products will terminate in the Metro (Parent) exchange meaning that they no longer have a dependency on the local exchange for traditional voice and broadband services.

All 3 pilot exchanges have already been announced as FTTP Priority Stop Sell exchanges and have been in FTTP Priority Status (Copper Stop Sell) since April 2022. The Copper Stop Sell rules for these exchanges have been extended to include all copper-based services, irrespective of whether FTTP is available at the premises.

Openreach has also put a Stop Sell on the new provision of any Ethernet (EAD) circuit that terminates or traverses these exchanges. Any new EAD circuits required at premises served by these local exchanges must be ordered so that they terminate in an exchange that is not one of the five Full Local Exchange Exit Pilot exchanges and cannot traverse via these 5 exchanges to an alternative exchange.

In addition to this, all Ethernet (EAD) services that terminate on, or traverse, these exchanges must be redirected so that they terminate on, or are redirected via other exchanges. Openreach has agreed to fund Mainlink charges to “long-line” existing EAD circuits from these 3 exchanges to different (probably Metro) exchanges.

Please Note - within the 3 pilot exchanges there are a significant number of complex site’s and we are working collaboratively with Openreach to scope whether these are achievable within the proposed timeframes of the Pilot, and that the Exchange Exit Pilot satisfactorily proves Openreach capabilities and processes.

The Carrickfergus and Glengormley exchange were officially withdrawn by Openreach from their exchange exit pilot in late 2023 and have been moved to Phase 1 (April 2028), however TalkTalk may look to extend the learning from the Openreach Pilot and choose to work with selected partners to migrate appropriate copper and ethernet lines at Carrickfergus and Glengormley to alternative all IP products.

2. Openreach Exchange Exits Phases 1 to 4 – 105 exchanges by end of 2030.

Openreach has announced that they intend to fully close 105 exchanges by the end of 2030. This will involve fully withdrawing MPF at these exchanges (WLR will already have been withdrawn nationally by then). Ethernet (EAD) circuits that terminate or traverse these local exchanges will need to be redirected or transferred to a Metro exchange or nearby local exchange.

The full exchange closures will be performed in tranches between 2028 and 2030. The timelines for these 105 exchanges are:

  • Phase 1 - 12 exchanges to be closed by April 2028 (was previously December 2027) includes the 2 exchanges moved from the Pilot.

  • Phase 2 - 20 exchanges to be closed by April 2029 (was previously December 202

  • Phase 3 - 30 exchanges to be closed by April 2030 (was previously December 2029).

  • Phase 4 - 43 exchanges to be closed by December 2030

For a breakdown of exchanges in each tranche please see the Table in the Appendix at the end of the blog.

3. WLR Stop Sell and WLR National Withdrawal by December 2025.

Important Note: MPF (including MPF-based broadband) is not in scope for WLR National Stop Sell or National Withdrawal.

WLR and WLR-based broadband products (using WBMC, FTTC or were placed under National Stop Sell by Openreach on 5th September 2023*. With Openreach planning to complete the full National WLR Withdrawal by December 2025.

*Openreach have however advised that they will extend the deadline (until March 2025) for exceptions to the WLR Stop Sell rules, which will allow WLR orders where FTTP and SOGEA is not available. This is to allow time for CPs to consume the SOTAP product. Openreach have extended the capability to order WLR and SMPF for these exceptional cases through to March 2025, after which point only SOTAP and MPF may be ordered. For full details of other Openreach exemptions please visit the Openreach All IP Programme website here.

Partners are reminded that TalkTalk MPF services are not restricted by the National WLR Stop Sell and Withdrawal. It will still be possible to order MPF copper lines and MPF-based connectivity products irrespective of whether SoGEA or FTTP is available, including ADSL, FTTC, G.Fast, EFM and EoFTTC, unless copper restrictions rules are in place at either i) FTTP Priority exchanges (where FTTP is available) or ii) at the Kenton Road and Ballyclare Openreach Pilot Exit exchanges.

Note - Product options for non-TalkTalk enabled LLU exchanges will vary due to the unavailability of MPF. Here we will be limited to either SOGEA or FTTP products, along with IP Voice if required.

Existing WLR-based services that were provisioned before the WLR Stop Sell came into effect will continue to be supported but must be moved to an alternative product before December 2025.

MPF lines and MPF-based broadband products are not impacted nationally by Openreach WLR withdrawal and will not need to move away from MPF by December 2025.

WLR Stop Sell Pilot

Mildenhall and Salisbury were the two WLR Stop Sell trial exchanges, and the end of life (product withdrawal) for WLR lines in these exchanges was completed in October 2023.

Note - a small number of lines that had agreed exemptions with Openreach (e.g. for vulnerable customers or Critical National Infrastructure) remain on WLR at Salisbury and Mildenhall. These lines can stay on WLR until the full National WLR Withdrawal by December 2025.

Note - MPF was not impacted by the WLR Stop Sell or WLR End of Life dates at Mildenhall or Salisbury.

4. FTTP Priority Exchanges - Copper Stop Sell

As part of Openreach’s aspiration to drive FTTP uptake in the UK, they have started imposing Copper Stop Sells at exchanges where they have invested heavily in deploying FTTP capability, these are known as FTTP Priority exchanges.

FTTP Priority status and Copper Stop Sell can only be triggered when FTTP coverage has reached 75% of all premises in the Exchange area.

The first FTTP exchange to go into Copper Stop Sell was the Salisbury trial exchange, where the Stop Sell commenced in December 2020. Since this date Openreach have made quarterly announcements on future tranches of exchanges that will be targeted for FTTP Priority status.

FTTP Priority status stops new orders for copper lines (WLR and MPF) and copper-based connectivity (ADSL, FTTC, SOGEA, G.Fast, SoGFAST, EFM and EoFTTC) if the applicable premise has FTTP availability.

These restrictions will also apply to moves, adds and changes of existing lines. Migrations between providers and upgrades of existing lines to other copper-based products (e.g. ADSL to FTTC upgrades) as well as speed changes on FTTC (e.g 40 to 80Mbps) modify orders will no longer be supported by Openreach.

Where FTTP is not available, MPF copper lines, as well as MPF-based broadband products, can still be ordered as usual. (WLR is only available from 5th September 2023 as an exemption).

If a premise is enabled for FTTP provisioning after the Stop Sell is already in effect, then the Stop Sell restrictions immediately come into effect for both WLR and MPF.

Note - As part of the National WLR withdrawal, all WLR lines and WLR-based broadband products must be moved by December 2025. However, outside of the 3 pilot Openreach Exchange Exit sites (where Openreach have announced they are fully closing the exchange), MPF-based products on FTTP Priority Stop Sell exchanges do not need to be moved by December 2025.

The conditions Openreach must meet before withdrawing MPF-based services at FTTP Priority Exchanges will be set by Ofcom in the next Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review. Any new regulations announced as part of this review will take effect in April 2026. The End of Life dates will be the dates by which all MPF-based services must be moved to FTTP where available. WLR and WLR-based broadband products will have already been withdrawn nationally by this point. Any MPF withdrawal notification announced by Openreach on an FTTP Priority Stop Sell exchange will give at least 12 months’ notice.

TalkTalk Wholesale Services expect Openreach to announce price rises on MPF-based services to encourage migration to FTTP in due course. Before doing so they must give at least one year’s notice and meet criteria yet to be set by Ofcom.

FTTP Priority Exchange – Numbers update

As of February 2024, Openreach has announced a total of 920 FTTP Priority Stop Sell exchanges. With 56 exchanges (Tranche 11) going into Stop Sell this month, and Tranche 15 (46 exchanges) being the latest announced set of exchanges.

In total 594 exchanges are now actively in Stop Sell, and the remaining announced exchanges will go into Stop Sell over the next 12 months. More announcements of future tranches will continue to be made quarterly.

Note - Openreach will always give 12 months’ notice between announcing a new tranche and invoking the Stop Sell in that tranche. If an announced FTTP Stop Sell exchange has not hit the minimum FTTP premises passed level of 75% by the Stop Sell date, the Stop Sell will be postponed for that exchange, or could be cancelled altogether. Openreach has already removed some previously announced exchanges from their FTTP Priority Stop Sell plans, due to ‘complex build issues currently preventing the 75% total homes passed (THP) metric being achieved’.

Here are the next tranche updates you need to know about:

  • Tranche 12 – containing 139 exchanges, is due to go into Stop Sell on 4th June 2024.

  • Tranche 13 – containing 19 exchanges, is due to go into Stop Sell on 16th August 2024.

  • Tranche 14 – containing 28 exchanges, is due to go into Stop Sell on 8th November 2024.

  • Tranche 15 – containing 46 exchanges, is due to go into Stop Sell on 17th February 2025.

  • Note – an additional 94 exchanges have been announced, but no dates have been confirmed yet by Openreach.

The current list of Stop Sell volumes per Tranche are as follows:


For full details of the Openreach briefing, including a link to the latest impacted exchange list, please click here.

TalkTalk Wholesale Services is committed to supporting our Partners with the leap to full-fibre.

TalkTalk Wholesale Services has launched Managed and Wholesale (Layer 2) FTTP services to utilise the growing availability of FTTP and support Partners in transitioning customers impacted by Stop Sells at FTTP Priority exchanges. The service is available via our new FTTP ordering portal and complemented by APIs to support Sales and Provisioning journey automation.

TalkTalk Wholesale Services will further support Partners with transitioning their customers to an all-IP future by providing Managed and Wholesale SoGEA. These products are currently in trial and will be released in the coming months. A single line PSTN VoIP solution for use with Managed FTTP and SOGEA is also being developed. Testing of this solution has begun and it will be deployed in early 2024.

TalkTalk Wholesale Services Availability Checkers

All current TalkTalk Availability Checkers (Portals and APIs) will show the correct product availability on Stop Sell exchanges and advise where copper-based products are no longer available due to Stop Sell.

Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) is of key importance

With Stop Sell well underway, it is important for Partners to analyse the impact to Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) locations within Stop Sell exchanges. CNI is a subset of Stop Sell data and should be a focus for Partners to ensure a smooth transition for customers.

TalkTalk Wholesale Services would like to work with our Partners to help identify THEIR CNI lines and work through the analysis steps with you. We have been analysing our lines and are at a point where we can share more data and insight for those with CNI services that will be affected by Stop Sell.

If you would like to know if our CNI data can help you and your customers, please get in touch with your Account Manager who will be more than happy to work on this with you.

We're here to help you with your analysis and next steps of planning

TalkTalk Wholesale Services remains committed to supporting you and your customers, if you have any further queries or would like more information on how we can help with your Stop Sell and CNI analysis requirements, please do not hesitate to contact your Account or Service Manager.

See the below download to view the current list of Stop Sell volumes per Tranche.

Openreach Exchange Exit List Appendix

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