BT’s Openreach division has been given permission to shut down the copper network in areas where it’s fully deployed a new fibre network.
The decision by Ofcom is intended to spur investment in fibre by costs associated with maintaining two parallel networks.
The telecoms regulator has also confirmed it will continue not to cap or restrict the fees Openreach charges for its fastest fibre products and is unlikely to impose price controls for any company’s new fibre services “for at least ten years.”
It says this approach will “allow all companies the opportunity to achieve a fair return over their whole investment period.”
Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “Over the past year, being connected has never mattered more. But millions of homes are still using the copper lines that were first laid over 100 years ago.
“Now it’s time to ramp up the rollout of better broadband across the UK. We’re playing our part – setting the right conditions for companies to step up and invest in the country’s full-fibre future.
“This is a once-in-a-century chance to help make the UK a world-leading digital economy.”
Following today’s announcement, BT confirmed it will connect 20 million premises to full fibre “by the mid-to late-2020s.”
Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach said: “We’ve now passed almost 4.5 million premises and are building faster, at lower cost and higher quality than anyone else in the UK.
“Today’s regulation will allow us to ramp up to 3 million premises per year providing vital next generation connectivity for homes and business right across the UK”.