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Verizon wants to sell 'antiquated' copper assets, stick to wireless for voice

Death knell for wired xDSL

Verizon's copper networks are now so old it says wireless is a better option for voice and low-speed data services.

Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam told a Citi briefing that along with looking for opportunities to offload some of its copper assets, part of the company's strategy to retire its copper is wireless.

“We're moving a lot of customers off copper onto wireless, especially for voice services and lower speed DSL”, McAdam said, adding that it delivers “frankly better” services than “antiquated copper”.

In the Q&A, available in full here with registration, McAdam said the company would like to offload some of its copper assets.

“There are certain assets on the wireline side that we think would be better off in somebody else's hands”, he said, a move that would let Verizon concentrate its geographic focus.

At the same time, the company is “trimming back the copper and modernising the network” by shifting “chronic copper” customers to its fibre-based FiOS service, he said. It shifted 200,000 customers off copper onto fibre during 2014.

McAdams indicated that in contrast to its former strategy of selling the wireline assets of entire states, Verizon would look at carve-outs within states.

McAdams' remarks will be of interest around the world. In the UK, BT's fibre-to-the-node rollout isn't going entirely to plan. And in Australia, the nation's National Broadband Network is largely being built using old copper after cancellation of a previous plan to roll out fibre to the premises. Critics of Australia's build point to any wired network being a poor investment as wireless performance improves. Verizon's just given both sides of the argument some ammunition. ®

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