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What is stop sell?

Dave Hawkins, Head of Nasstar Channel talks about NGA, stop sell, and what it means for technology no longer supported following the PSTN switch off

Before we jump into stop sell and withdrawal and what that means, what's NGA?

NGA is an acronym for Next Generation Access. It’s a catch-all term for broadband products that have been released to support the PSTN switch off project. Currently we’ve got FTTP and SoGEA. SoGEA is a replacement for FTTC, and there are a few more products planned over the coming months and years to help get everyone future-ready and turned on about the turn off. 

I’ve been hearing ‘PSTN switch off’ talked about for a little while now. So, what is the PSTN switch off and why should people care about it? Should we be worried about it?

People should be a little worried about this, sure. Not panicking, not waking-up-at-3AM-in-a-cold-sweat worrying about the future of telecoms. But it absolutely needs be something we think about, and plan for, and keep in mind because 2023 and 2025 aren’t very far away at all.

Openreach have had a plan for a while to turn off the PSTN platform. It’s old, the people that support it are nearing retirement, the kit’s getting on a bit and going end-of-life. It’s just not a sustainable platform anymore. So, it’s getting turned off. 

There are 2 phases to this. You’ve got stop sell, and withdrawal. Both are pretty much how they sound. Stop sell is Openreach limiting access to certain products, like ADSL and WLR. This means, for example, you won’t be able to order a new WLR line, or regrade the speed of your FTTC. You’ll be able to order NGA services like FTTP and SoGEA, but those traditional services, your ADSL and FTTC, won’t be available. You’ll still be able to use any existing services you have until the product is withdrawn but you’ll be very limited in what you can change.

Withdrawal is when the product is closed and the services retired or ceased.

Ok, things are going to change, and we’ve got time to plan for those changes and make the right choices. I think the next question then is how should people manage this? What’s the message for our Partners who want to plan for these changes, how should they do that? 

Firstly, most importantly. Don’t panic. You’ve got time to plan and think about your next steps. Aim to have a migration plan within the next few months. Focus on the high priority services and customers in the first groups of exchanges to get the stop sell notifications.

We can break it down into a few simple steps:

1. Find out when stop sell will be implemented for your or your customer’s exchange. There will be a list of exchanges with announced stop-sell dates on our website. Check that regularly, maybe every quarter and use that info to build your migration plan.

2. Understand your current base. This really is key to a successful migration. We’ve talked about the core services, but you also need to think about your ancillaries. Things like fax machines, alarm systems, Point of Sale, monitored healthcare systems. You need to talk to the suppliers of those bits of kit and find out if they’ll continue to work. Will you need to change equipment? Can the item be adapted to work over IP? These are important questions that will define the transition for you.

3. Create a migration checklist. Work out what needs to move, when it should be moved, who should be involved, get contact info for suppliers, and write it down, share it with your teams. If you can move ancillary services early before moving the broadband, well, maybe that’s what’s right for your customer base. Think about a roll back plan, can you work with a supplier to make sure that there’s support in place if a customer’s PoS stops processing payments?

4. Finally migration. Successful migrations are always built on solid foundations. If you know when you need to migrate, if you know which ancillaries will be impacted and you’ve mitigated the risk, if you follow your checklist and your plan you’ll reduce risk, you’ll simplify the process, and you‘ll know what to do if something goes wrong.

Any final message for our Partners?

All of us at Nasstar Channel, including your Account Managers and the support teams, are here to support you through this change. If you have a question or you’re concerned about something, let us know. Tell us your plans and get us involved. You probably won’t be the first person to ask that question and we might have a tip or a trick that can save you time. We’re here to help.