The Copper Network Retirement Party May Be Premature


It may seem as if more and more networks are converting over to fiber and that copper is a thing of the past. But not so fast, fiber – copper networks are still very much a part of the equation as 3-GIS’ Jerry Golden, Chief Operating Officer, and Michael Measels, VP of Product Management, explained.

“Most customers, even today, still use copper in the last mile,” Golden said. “They’ll put fiber down until a certain point and copper out to the customers.”

“I think copper’s here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future,” Measels said. “Organizations have a fairly significant investment in their copper network over the last several decades, so they’re taking advantage of that investment over time and leveraging that in terms of profits and reduction of maintenance and buildout cost.”

Golden said, with the increasing speed of fiber networks, replacing existing copper networks all the way to the home is the ultimate goal. Still, the investment required to do that does not make it feasible in all cases.

“The amount of copper network out there makes it too big a job to undertake, and you can’t do it in a few years. It’s going to take several years,” Golden said.

And, while 3-GIS is primarily a fiber-focused company, Measels said they’re managing more and more copper-based networks for telcos who want to switch permanently to fiber, but realize it cannot happen overnight or even in the short term.

“We built an application to manage a legacy network that will go away sometime in the future,” Measels said. “From a competitive standpoint, we need to manage both copper and fiber.”

Golden believes the system and process 3-GIS created to manage both copper and fiber networks will help telcos minimize the cost and the expense of data transfer to maintain both networks as they move toward eventual full migration to fiber.

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