TNS Dial Customers

What You Need to Know

Openreach has now begun to issue ‘Stop/Sell’ notices on legacy copper products where the local exchange has reached 75% fibre coverage (broadband). June 2020 saw the first 118 exchanges have Stop/Sell notices issued. These notices provided an advanced 12-month warning that by June 2021 legacy copper services will no longer be available from those 118 exchanges where fibre is now being provided.

The result of these changes is that the copper network which has supported TNS Dial for the last 30 years will no longer be available to support new customers as the Stop/Sell notices begin to take effect (from December 2020). Merchants will need to be migrated to fibre products by their service provider.

By December 2025 all merchants will need to have been migrated to services which no longer rely on the copper network as the WLR services will have been withdrawn. This means that access or other previously copper-based services will need to be provided using fibre, and Dial will need to be supported over IP.

 

Click here to see the Critical Date Timeline.

Understand More About What Openreach Stop/Sell Means

The implementation of a Stop/Sell notification on a local exchange does not mean the existing PSTN/ISDN service will be ceased, only that no new WLR or ISDN based products will be available for new orders from that point.

Openreach will support PSTN/ISDN connectivity up to the end of December 2025, after which terminals using PSTN for dial-up POS (point-of-sale) transactions will no longer be able to transact over the PSTN line. Therefore, it is essential that merchants look to migrate away from traditional PSTN/ISDN connectivity to IP-based solutions before that date.

Between now and the end of 2025 communication providers utilising the Openreach access products will ‘encourage’ as many customers as possible to migrate away from PSTN/ISDN. In locations where a fibre alternative to PSTN/ISDN is available, service providers will look to upsell their new IP-based products using fibre alternative options whether that be fibre to the premises or fibre to the local cabinet, especially when merchant contracts are coming up for renewal.

Merchant Considerations When Moving from PSTN/ISDN to IP

For a merchant to be able to move from a PSTN to an IP connection there are two ways to connect the terminal.

Firstly, if the terminal is IP enabled it can be connected to the new IP router via the ethernet port on the router using the ethernet cable provided with the terminal.

Secondly, if the terminal is not IP enabled or the terminal is IP enabled but for whatever reason it is not possible to connect to the router, there will be a port on the router to connect the old PSTN cable. This is known as the ATA (Analogue Telephone Adapter) port. This port ‘spoofs’ a PSTN connection from the router to the terminal, but all transactions are still sent over the IP network from the router into the carrier’s network.

Download our PSTN Closure Overview document for a handy checklist and list of points which should be considered for each option.

When Will Merchants Start to See These Changes?

Openreach has already identified Mildenhall and Salisbury exchanges as pilot locations to implement Stop/Sell. WLR product withdrawal in Mildenhall and Salisbury happens in December 2022. A further 116 exchanges had a Stop/Sell 12-month notification in June 2020 and an additional 51 exchanges have had a Stop/Sell 12-month notification which will be effective on 5th October 2021.

How Will This Impact Merchants and Acquirers?

The push to migrate from PSTN/ISDN products has already begun and will accelerate over the next couple of years until there is a national Stop/Sell of WLR products in September 2023.

On signing up for a new IP product, merchants will be asked if the current PSTN/ISDN service supports any other devices other than a voice phone and that they should contact their service provider with regards to migration of those services on the day the merchant is cutover to the new IP connection. The local access provider will provide the new IP connection to the merchant premises but will not be responsible for resolving the areas of concern highlighted in the PSTN Closure Overview document with regards to the operation of the POS terminal.

How is TNS Supporting the Migration to IP?

TNS is committed to assure the seamless migration of merchants to IP-based broadband services and is attending a number of related UK forums. These include Openreach’s Industry Working Groups on how they are implementing the changes and Ofcom’s All IP Steering Group which covers regulations, standards and communications. TNS provides insight regarding its Dial product to both the Ofcom Steering Group and the UK standards group, NICC, to highlight the services which are currently using the legacy products and to advise the UK communications industry of the impacts of the changes.

  • TNS will provide updates during reviews with its customers as to when UK network providers are migrating or providing test facilities etc. This will primarily relate to sharing information regarding Openreach exchanges as many UK operators like TalkTalk, Vodafone, etc. use Openreach’s access products to support their services.
  • TNS will notify customers through its reviews when Openreach publish their ‘Stop/Sell’ notices impacting local exchanges. These notices provide a year of advance warning of when copper products will no longer be available for sale from individual exchanges.
  • TNS will work with the UK telecoms industry to gain information on number ranges by exchange that will be affected.
  • TNS will not be testing the access products as Openreach or other providers release them. Where appropriate the TNS network can be made available for specific testing and support.
  • Whilst TNS will not be carrying out any specific terminal testing we will provide information on how customers can contact network providers to use test facilities to ensure their various terminal types will work in the new environment.
  • TNS will produce advice regarding the risks relating to the current PSTN services and where we see trends developing as the migration is undertaken. This may include end of sale, end of support and sunset notices from Openreach and TNS.
  • TNS will continue to support customers with information so they can advise their merchants and channel partners of the changes.
  • At this time TNS is unable to advise of a like-for-like migration path given that Openreach will drip feed as and when exchanges reach the 75% fibre threshold. However, Openreach have stated that WLR will be fully withdrawn from sale in September 2023.
  • ISDN support – While ISDN will still be available until December 2025 TNS has seen examples of carriers streamlining the protocols supported by their IP networks and in some cases, this has resulted in operational issues with the delivery of ISDN over IP networks. Whilst TNS has engaged with carriers to maintain these protocols on their networks on a ‘best endeavor’s basis’, TNS ultimately has no control over such changes. As a result, TNS will look to end support of ISDN services by 1st July 2021. Customers will still be able to use the TNS ISDN service after that point but should look to migrate existing ISDN customers to newer IP-based products at the earliest opportunity to avoid any impact of potential future carrier network changes.

Details of your local TNS representative can be found on our contact page