FTTH Council Europe Calls for Copper Switch-off Strategy

  • FTTH Council Europe
  • Amsterdam —WIK released the findings of its new study commissioned by the FTTH Council Europe on copper switch-off and transition to fiber. The study analyses the different stages of copper switch-off in ten European Union Member States and identifies benefits as well as enablers, incentives, challenges and barriers to switching from copper to fiber networks.

    Main Findings:

    A Mixed Picture Across the European Union Estonia, Spain and Sweden Lead
    We see that the process varies from one country to another,
    in some it’s still in its infancy and in others FTTH is not yet widely deployed. In the ten Member States1 analysed, the greatest progress has been made in Estonia, with 70% of copper exchanges closed in 2018 and plans to remove copper access for 60% of broadband subscribers by 2020. However, more progress has been made towards PSTN2 switch-off which is a prerequisite and a facilitator to copper switch-off.

    Benefits of Copper Switch-off: A Win-Win for Consumers and Operators
    The study found that both end-users and fiber network operators benefit from transition to fiber and copper switch-off including:

    - Reliability: Fiber is 70-80 percent more reliable than copper resulting is lower fault rates;

    - Energy efficiency: copper switch results in 40-60% energy savings due to the lower power
    consumption of fiber;

    - Cost efficiency: 40-60 percent lower maintenance costs;

    - Better deal for consumers: Surveyed consumers were more satisfied with fiber (82 percent happy vs 50 percent on DSL), quoted higher bandwidth, wider range of services and better value for money as key benefits.

    - Better deal for investors: Evidence suggests that clarity on copper switch off can improve
    the business case for fiber.

    1 Estonia, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland, UK 2 PSTN (public switched telephone network)

This study about copper switch-off is of tremendous importance for the FTTH Council Europe. The telecom market is in a transitional phase, it is moving from an old copper-based infrastructure to new fiber-based networks. There is a technology change and all eyes are on 5G but we should not forget that fibre is the foundation of all technologies for connectivity. Policy is lagging behind the market developments, and it is important that it catches up.explained Ronan Kelly, president of the FTTH Council Europe.

We believe that Europe needs a single market strategy for the migration process and the ultimate switch-off of copper, therefore a European level debate on the fate of copper is needed.added ErzseĢbet Fitori, director general of the FTTH Council Europe.Our study is aimed to be a discussion starter and to bring together policy makers, copper network owners, new fiber investors and consumers to approach constructively this complex topic. Europe needs new fiber infrastructure and a very constructive dialogue among stakeholders. We are a keen platform for such a debate.

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