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CityFibre has welcomed suggestions that Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is about to announce a copper broadband switch-off date.

Although no official announcement has been made, the story was reported by a journalist on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Responding to the news, CityFibre Chief Executive Greg Mesch said: "Switching off the copper network is a vital part of moving the UK to a full-fibre future."

However, he raised concerns over comments on the programme from Openreach Chief Executive Clive Selley, who warned that a full copper switch-off could push up wholesale prices.

Mr Mesch commented: "Leaving decisions on how it is done in the hands of the incumbent risks imposing costs and delays on consumers.

"Openreach’s approach to the switchover would result in unnecessary and unwelcome price rises for both consumers and internet service providers."

Mr Mesch has therefore urged the government to "harness the competitive benefits of new market entrants" and set out a carefully managed copper switch-off process.

This, he said, would prevent Openreach from "hijacking the migration process", as it would otherwise re-establish its monopoly on the market and hold back Britain's digital economy.

Mr Mesch added that any full-fibre upgrade must have consumers and businesses at its heart.

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