Verizon: fibre is MUCH cheaper than copper, we're going all-FTTP

US telco says all-fibre diet cuts maintenance costs, increases revenue-per-user

Verizon has put the latest numbers on its fibre-versus-copper experience, and found that glass beats metal on all counts.

Without giving a timeframe, the company has told a conference in Orlando that its experience across seven central offices (CO, or for Australians, telephone exchanges) areas is so compelling it's going to roll fibre to the premises in the remainder of its 2,000 COs.

LightReading gives the numbers from the Genband Perspectives 2015 conference, saying VP of transformation Sowmyanarayan Sampath claimed fibre is overall 60 per cent cheaper than copper.

Sampath noted that one of the conversions, a New York CO, had to be replaced after it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. However, even without a natural disaster, fibre's advantages stack up fast:

  • Real estate – savings are in the order of 60 – 80 per cent, since instead of 13 floors for a big exchange, a fibre-to-the-premises area needs just two;
  • Energy savings – are between 40 and 60 per cent, in accordance with the company's prior experience, for example in 2008 numbers cited by Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull;
  • Reliability – DSL users suffering rain-driven outages will raise a hollow laugh to hear that Sampath claimed fibre is 70 to 90 per cent more reliable than copper. This results in 60 per cent fewer costly truck rolls on the fibre network, and savings of 40 to 60 per cent on maintenance.

Sampath also claimed that fibre drive business opportunities worth around 60 per cent of the investment value in new revenue. “We've proven time and again this pays for itself. It is sustained pay back”, he told the conference.

Sampath also noted that copper revenue is declining by “8 to 10 per cent annually” while at best, its costs remain fixed – meaning that copper profitability is doomed in the long run. ®

+COMMENT Regarding maintenance, Vulture South notes Australia's telecommunications minister Malcolm Turnbull has posted a “FTTN myth-busting” FAQ that states “No telecommunications company in the world has identified avoided copper maintenance costs as a compelling reason for deploying FTTP”. That statement is no longer true.

Turnbull's also often suggested to the Australian media that it consider overseas broadband rollouts as they represent useful experiences with which to consider development of Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN). The Reg has contacted Turnbull's office seeking comment on Verizon's experience. ®

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