Speaking at the Gigabit Access and Networks 4.0 event in Cologne today, a panel of industry experts agreed that copper networks are becoming more trouble than they are worth

Telecoms operators need to acknowledge the commercial opportunities presented by full fibre networks and stop wasting money on the maintenance and renovation of their legacy copper infrastructure, according to a host of industry experts.

Speaking exclusively at the Gigabit Access and Networks 4.0 event in Cologne, this morning, Telia Sweden’s chief technology officer, Mats Lundback, said that the costs associated with maintaining copper based telecommunication networks was starting to become prohibitively high.

“As an incumbent operator, we are seeing the cost of keeping copper networks going is becoming very high. In some cases, the copper has been in the ground for hundreds of years – It is simply more cost effective to replace it with new technology [fibre optic cabling] rather than replacing the copper itself,” he said.

Lundback’s comments were corroborated by Deutsche Glasfaser’s CEO, Uwe Nickl, said that operators needed to take a proactive approach in redefining their revenue streams in order to reap the financial rewards of full fibre connectivity.

“A lot of incumbent operator are scared of cannibalising their revenue streams. In my opinion, you have to be prepared to cannibalise your existing revenue streams in order to make yourself more profitable in the future,” he said.  

“We are seeing operators across the world taking note of this. Telefonica are doing an excellent job in Spain of shutting down their copper-based networks. This will bear fruit. Full fibre networks incur 65 per cent less energy costs than copper networks. To monitor and operate a fibre network is much, much more cost effecient than a copper network. In terms of manpower, for a similar sized network, you would be looking at maybe 100 engineers to monitor and maintain a fibre network compared with more than 1,300 for a copper network. So operators need to start thinking about cannibalising their copper based revenue streams [in order to avoid these associated costs].


The Gigabit Access and Networks 4.0 event is taking place in Cologne, Germany on the 2nd and 3rd April  2019. Follow us on Twitter for all the breaking news from the event – @Editor_Telecoms


Also in the news

We need to talk about copper – Openreach begins gigabit consultation with UK telcos

The UK grabs a seat at the FTTH top table

Industry leaders untie to call for unified EU strategy on copper switch off