Openreach Notify UK ISPs of Dec 2025 Line Rental Contract Terminations

Openreach and BT might have recently delayed their plan to withdraw old copper-based analogue line services (PSTN phones and WLR) from Dec 2025 to 31st Jan 2027 (here and here), but conversely they’ve also just issued contract termination notifications to all WLR providers with an effective date of 31st Dec 2025. Don’t worry, it’ll make sense.

Just to recap. The big switch-off was delayed in order to give broadband ISPs / phone providers, telecare providers and consumers more time to adapt. But the main focus of this delay is actually on the nearly 2 million people who use vital telecare systems in the UK (e.g. elderly, disabled, and vulnerable people), which often aren’t compatible with modern alternative IP-based (VoIP etc.) digital phone services.

NOTE: Openreach are withdrawing their old Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) products as part of this change, while BT are retiring their related Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

In short, there was a risk that the digital phone switch-over could put the lives of vulnerable people at risk, which was tragically underlined by the recently reported deaths of two “vulnerableVirgin Media Phone customers (here). This is alleged to have occurred after their health alarms failed, following the switch-off of their old analogue phone services. Ofcom are investigating VM’s handling of the digital phone migration (here).

However, if you read the update to our original Openreach story on 18th May (here), then you’d already know that the operator’s approach to this meant they’d still be terminating existing WLR contracts for ISPs at the end of December 2025 and expect that migration to continue at pace, which is in line with the previous plan.

On the surface this may appear to contradict the recent announcement of a delay to 31st Jan 2027. But the aim here is actually to be able to introduce NEW TERMS for the product and a three-month termination notice period to continue services where needed, while enabling some flexibility to support future processes (e.g. for vulnerable users). Openreach has now confirmed this with an official notification.

Notification of WLR contract termination

As part of our ongoing All IP programme, Openreach has issued contract termination notifications to all WLR CPs with an effective date of 31 December 2025. Where assets have not been migrated and/or cancelled by 31 December 2025, BT may, at our absolute and sole discretion, allow the services and assets to remain post 31 December 2025. Any continuation of services shall be on new terms and conditions which shall comprise the terms, conditions and charges of the current WLR contract save for the following revision:

Clause 2.3(d) shall read as not less than 90 days’ notice.

The new WLR terms will be notified and published on the website.

We signalled this activity when we briefed CPs on BT Groups announcement of the delay to the PSTN switch off to 31 January 2027 in GEN048/24 (

Openreach expects CPs to continue migrating their customers at pace, and we are terminating the contract to provide flexibility to develop future processes with CPs to address the remaining asset base.

CPs are reminded that any associated broadband service (FTTC / SMPF / sub loop SMPF) will be terminated when the underlying WLR service is ceased, as per business-as-usual processes.

Consumers who are vulnerable and worried about the transition to digital / IP based phone services should contact their provider for more information or to discuss options, as there are solutions being introduced to some of the problems; it’s also important that providers are able to identify those who may need extra help. But if your provider is already aware of a vulnerable status, then nothing changes. Today is all about background changes and the switch-off process continues.

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