Across Australia, over 10.5 million homes and businesses have been connected to the NBN in recent years, with completion of the remaining homes and businesses forecast to be rolled out throughout 2020. With the rollout comes copper switch-off, which is gradually being decommissioned as the old networks are cut off. Along with the copper switch-off, electrical devices using ADSL or existing copper networks will also be cut off.


Copper-based infrastructure is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain, especially with age, and particularly given customers’ increasing expectations for network performance impacting the operator. Global awareness surrounding the benefits of a fibre network are growing with markets continuously deploying fibre networks and becoming very close to achieving copper switch off. In fact, the copper switch off dates for Australia and implementing the new networks were recently announced.


The World Fixed Broadband Statistic report indicates that from Q2 2018 through to Q2 2019, copper lines dropped by 6.6% globally with fibre to the home (FTTH) connections increasing by 18.6%. With the adoption of fibre networks, statistics further support the growth as broadband technologies are increasingly being used.


The following are suggestions on how to achieve the goal of copper switch off in Australia:


National Strategies

For some, such as the industry and investor communities, to perform copper switch off there is a significant need for political commitment. Political commitment can drive full-fibre infrastructure as well as clarify and communicate to investors the reasoning behind no diversion being available over time. Considering optical fibres will be the future fundamental component in network media, the government should adopt optical fibre projects as national strategies, crafting a digital economy foundation.


Regulatory and Legislative Framework

It is extremely important that regulatory and legislative framework is in place to promote and ensure efficient and effective fibre investments. Creating a standardised system for network contractors to abide by will ensure shared fibre connection, detection and copper switch-off standards are achieved. Issuing regulatory and legislative framework for copper switch-off will comprise of reinforcement and practical measures to eliminate ineffective procedures and unethical processes.


Research indicates that the copper switch-off has not been completely adopted globally due to the associated costs with deploying fibre networks. Switching off copper, especially when migrating to an all-fibre optic network, will further drive significant investments. Fibre developments have the capability of pushing network construction globally. With government subsidies and investors providing assistance for construction, there are also resources that help lead to a successful copper switch-off. Ecosystem alliance will further drive the copper switch-off by driving the fibre development systems to craft an all-optical network through providing access solutions.


It is extremely crucial that the copper switch-off is performed correctly to ensure that an efficient and effective fibre network is operating globally. Having access to all-fibre networks is much more superior and effective than any other technology for driving economic growth, political engagement and social networks.


To achieve the goal of a successful copper switch-off, we invite the industry to partner with VIAVI, who has been driving the lead towards an all-optical network since 2013. Every day, you are faced with fiber optic developments that grow more pervasive and more complicated. To harness and optimize this complexity, you are looking for partners who can reliably adapt.  VIAVI offers customers worldwide the confidence to successfully build, deploy, and manage the full spectrum of fiber networks – at every layer and stage – while managing operations and network performance, continuous technological evolution, and operating expense pressures. VIAVI provides a range of fibre optic tools to help you effectively install, maintain, and test your fibre optic networks while ensuring optimal performance. With a complete range of fibre optic cleaning, inspection, testing and monitoring solutions we can ensure you have the tools needed to move forward with the copper switch-off.



About The Author

Regional Business Development Manager, Enterprise & Data Centers

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