21C Rollout and 20C retirement
The plan to retire our first generation broadband (20C IPstream - 8Mbps ADSL) is nearly complete with just 178 exchanges left to upgrade.
The program required us to upgrade nearly 6 thousand exchanges where our 20C IPstream services were present, replacing them with 21C services based on ADSL2+ and where possible GEA/FTTC technology. All so we can give our customers a faster, more efficient service with speeds of up to 80Mbps.
The initial phase concluded in December 2014 with 2,762 exchanges upgraded, followed by a further 850 exchanges in December 2016.
At the start of our final phase in 2017 a remaining 1,950 exchanges were left to upgrade. However, to allow us provide 21C services to these sites whilst maintaining the best possible customer experience, we’ve had to change our processes & approach.
We needed to install 21C equipment into the exchange alongside the legacy 20C equipment and run them both in parallel, often for a prolonged period of time. Within this period of parallel running we’ve planned and managed the migration of end users between the two services.
During our final phase we’ve opted for an overnight exchange enablement process; requiring us to remove the 20C equipment and replace it with new 21C equipment within an overnight window starting from midnight. This approach has allowed us to minimise any service disruptions to the hundreds of active end users using the service.
This new approach & process has proven to be very successful for our customers, allowing us to upgrade over 1,600 exchanges to the new 21C service over the last 18 months and, more importantly, 4,000 end users were moved with minimum disruption and are currently enjoying their new, faster services.