Goodbye to copper? [Telecom]

I'm passing along an email from the "discuss" mailing list run by the Boston Linux & Unix User Group. Mr. Ritter has given permission.


Bill Horne

-------- Original Message -------- Subject: Re: Goodbye to copper? Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 21:15:21 -0400 From: Dan Ritter To: [Redacted] CC: blug

I recently overheard a discussion from a FIOS tech saying at some > point in the near future the existing copper infrastructure is simply > so old it will be ripped out, apparently forcing existing landline > customers to switch to fiber...??? Didn't quite sound right, but > maybe the backbone infrastructure (poles/street) will be making way to > fiber? > > Was this tech telling the truth, providing an assumption, or maybe > offering what he hopes might happen?

Every time VZ puts in a FIOS deployment, they rip out the copper. This is because copper is regulated and must be re-sold to their competitors, but fiber is not. The next people to ask for a copper service (or a competitor) will have to pay for an all-new install.


Reply to
Telecom digest moderator
Loading thread data ...

Clearly this must be a misunderstanding. Why, the senior PR flack for Verizontal, VP Tom Tauke, in his 2 Oct 2007 House testimony resoundingly DENIED that his company would/could ever cut down your copper.....

Thus the dozen-odd people I have spoken to who swear such happened to them must be victims of mass delusion.

[From the MD PSC site...]

Page ~59-61.

Reply to
David Lesher

------Original Message------ Subject: Goodbye to copper? Sent: Jun 22, 2009 8:37 PM

Much of the back bone is already fiber. The copper is just the "last mile", basically the lines into the houses, on smaller streets and in rural markets. It will be decades before much of that last mile is replaced. Nor does it need to be in most cases. Now if the price of copper returns to the levels it saw last year, you may likely see new wiring switching to all fiber in the not to distant future. But at the moment its still at half the cost it was, and gigabit ethernet is fast enough for most people building new houses and small office buildings.

As for forcing customers to "switch", this is just telco propaganda to scare customers into higher priced plans they don't need. Much like they used the "digital" tv switch to scare customers into high priced cable plans. They basically charge more for "digital" plans, even though it saves them billions to switch customers over. I'm not sure what level tech you over heard but many of the verizon fios techs don't know anything that isn't writen in their verizon books. Much like the geek squad, they are pretty hit or miss on skill level.

Reply to

Undoubtedly there is old loop plant that is old and needs replacing. It will be replaced with whatever the most cost-effective medium--for that location--is at the time. It certainly could be new copper. But it could also be a carrier system, perhaps coax or perhaps fibre. Much depends on the specific situation--distance and traffic volume.

The technical medium is different than the service provided, especially with regulated offerings. Basic residential telephone service is regulated so it must be supplied. Whether it comes from open wire on poles or fibre is irrelevent.

As this was an informal conversation we can't read very much into it. Also, policies will vary from one area to another.

Again, the service, not the technology, is regulated.

They certainly did NOT "rip out copper" around here when they put in FIOS. Not everyone wants or needs FIOS.

Reply to

I have heard nothing about any telco propaganda. Around they have FIOS but no pressure at all.

Reply to

And I did my good turn recently, I took a Verizon FiOS box off my property.

The tennant had moved out. My building, my rules.

Reply to

My understanding is the "ripping out of copper" is a paperwork process, not a physical process. I've heard that they file the paperwork to decommission the pair, which frees them from maintaining it and offering to CLECs. The copper remains to the NID, but it is legally disconnected.

When I had FIOS installed recently, I asked during signup to specifically not decommission the pair. The salesperson assured me they wouldn't remove the wire, but he did not understand my concern about decommissioning. I called back to a different number the next day and asked again, and they too said it wouldn't be removed.

Maybe one of the readers here can comment on my assumptions about decommissioning.

I later learned that the first salesperson lied to me about something else (*), so I've learned not to trust anything their telephone sales folk say. I've no idea what the legal state of the pair to my home is now. However, I do know that if I drop all FIOS services except POTS, I can still get anything that's tariffed.

So, if in two years when my "price guarantee" expires VZ starts playing games, I know I can switch to a cable provider and at least keep VZ for POTs, if I choose.


(*) When I signed up, VZ was offering an additional $5/month discount for online signups. I called the FIOS sales desk to ask a few questions and then planned to signup online, but the salesperson assured me he'd give me the same discount. Once I got billed of course the discount was not there. When I called VZ to sort it out, they told me the notes from my signup call said he had told me could not give me the discount; this after I confirmed with him at least three times! They did relent and give it to me; but like I said, their sales people out and out lie. Beware.

Reply to

(Argh: once again done in by dynamic URL's.... Let me try again:)

Clearly this must be a misunderstanding. Why, the senior PR flack for Verizontal, VP Tom Tauke, in his 2 Oct 2007 House testimony resoundingly DENIED that his company would/could ever cut down your copper.....

Thus the dozen-odd people I have spoken to who swear such happened to them must be victims of mass delusion.

1) Go to the Maryland PSC site: and enter Case 9123 on the lower left.

Retrieve document #63, "Initial Testimony of Steven Nocella. Case No. 9123" and go to page 59, Attachment 9.

It is a partial transcript of:

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Holds Hearing on Telecommunications Competition held on Oct. 2, 2007.

The webcast and transcript that it came from can also be seen at the Subcommittee site:

There you can see Mr. Tom Tauke, senior VP for Verizon say:

Let's start, Mr. Chairman, with the fact. The fact is we don't disable the copper loops.

We have not disabled copper loops to any home to which we have extended fiber, and we continue to provide services to competitors over copper loops in areas where we provide fiber.

If you read more on MD PSC case 9123, I think it fair to say that that is not exactly what the customers and the PSC are finding out to be the case.

For the benefit of Mr. Clayton; there's a vital bureacratic difference between the copper and the glass. Verizontal is required to share [rent] the copper to CLEC's that provide telephone &/or data. That is NOT the case for the fiber.

Thus, by cutting down the copper; Verizon is trapping people onto their offering. It also precludes them from moving from FIOS to cheaper Verizon DSL...and guess what... they just raised FIOS prices this week.

Reply to
David Lesher wrote in news:379641ef-a865-401e-ba53-

You are absolutley correct with regards to regulation of services, not facilities/technologies. How a circuit is designed and how it is carried to the subscriber is not a tariff item, unless the customer is an IEC or CLEC.

The average PSC tafiffed consumer orders service, and it is delivered over any available means. Metallic (Copper), or optical (Fiber) facilities. The argument by end users over how a circuit is built is not new.

When a customer elects to subscribe to FTTP (FiOS), yes the CO line is ported over to Digital Voice equipment (VoIP), the conventional line side metallic switch interface, and analog loop disconnected (No dial tone). However the copper cable is not ripped out!

For example, most Telco's have trouble making their connect due date orders. The CO will certainly work the Disconnect order by pulling out the cross-connect wire on the MDF. But the field will not chase a disco order. The copper cable remains in-place, and the metallic pair is dead unless reused for some other operational reason.

In the total optical fiber loop-network world of tomorrow, something none of us will live to see, the copper plant network will be pulled out. First to recover valuable urban duct space, and through depreciation of cable assets it will be removed by regulatory directive. Just as the copper trunk network was retired in one major US metropolitan city back in the 1990's.

Copper will probably remain for specialized applications that will be paid for by that customer.


Reply to

Read the MD PSC case for a different view; they have complaints from customers.


You skip over the major legal difference: copper plant is regulated and subject to resale [rental to CLEC's]. The FIOS fiber is explictly exempt.

I also harbor suspicians over cross-subsidization. The unregulated FIOS fiber runs in regulated pole space, and through regulated duct space; Does the FIOS business unit really pay rent on that at the rates any other competitor would?

Reply to
David Lesher

On Wed, 24 Jun 2009 13:59:09 -0400, David Lesher wrote: ........

Yep, but that is essentially a political decision and highlights that such things hold back the use of potentially better technologies.

You have to wonder if the costs of the newer technologies (in the long-term) would drop if they were to totally replace the older incumbent.

The issue (I suppose) is that by tying up old ways of doing things - either by fixed rates or just our attitudes of resisting change - we miss out on the benefits of the newer alternatives (or at least have them reduced).

In the Telecoms area this sort of thing just doesn't apply to the physical technology, I constantly have a chuckle at the dialling plan hoops you people in North America constantly have to jump through because of the (to me) seemingly irrational embrace the NANP has you in.

In Australia we recently (well, quite a few years ago) all went to 8 digit local numbers, and despite all the whining of people who resisted it (some bitterly) it is now accepted with no apparent problems whatsoever - and its aims of eliminating any geographic number shortages now and in the future have been achieved.

Sooner or later people have to decide if the convenience of doing things in an old way outweighs the cost of changing.

Reply to
David Clayton

No offence to Australia - it's one of my favorite countries - it's not irrational, there's a scale factor problem here. The number of devices in the US with an embedded 10 digit phone number capability that assumes a 7 digit local number exceeds those in Austrailia by at least an order of magnitude.

The cost of swapping out or otherwise upgrading all the older ATMs, private PBXes, fax machines, devices with backup modems, alarm systems and who knows what else makes a number plan change quite expensive.

Add to that the investment in stationery changes and general mass confusion and there'd probably be a mass revolt. Given how difficult people found the recent DTV switch, I can't imagine what they'd do with an 8 digit phone number.

It's a similar problem that countries driving on the left side of the road have when contemplating switching to the right side as most countries do. :) There have been sucessful switches by small countries, but the larger ones seem to be resisting for some reason.

Reply to
Robert Neville

You don't have to wonder about that at all. Where new technologies are more cost effective--including capital costs--they will replace older stuff.

An example is converting step by step central offices to ESS. In many cases the building had no room for expansion but ESS allowed more capacity in a smaller footprint. This saved the large cost of expanding the building. Another advantage is that ESS requires less maintenance than step. This saves on labor costs. It's particularly significant in smaller rural offices where someone has to drive out to service them.

HOWEVER, the new technology must be cost effective in its own right. Let's not forget that electronics used to be extremely expensive not too long ago. For most small applications, old-style electro- mechanical relays were cheaper.

Not correct. We have a massive amount of very expensive fixed plant out there (be this in telecommunications or anything else). It costs a great deal of money to dump it all, especially when done all at once.

Diesel railroad locomotives, perfected in the 1930s, were immediately obvious as being more cost-effective than steam locomotives. However, it still took a full 25 years to replace every steam locomotive with a diesel in the U.S. In countries with cheap labor it took much longer.

The North American Numbering Plan was carefully thought out, taking numerous variables into consideration.

***** Moderator's Note *****

Is "Notes on Distance Dialing" still in print? IIRC, that had a good explanation of the NANP.

Bill Horne Temporary Moderator

Reply to

The problem isn't the numbering plan, it's the signalling.

North American phone networks use different signalling from the rest of the world. Ours was designed first in the 1940s, and for some political reason the ITU decided to do something else.

Our en-bloc signalling handles fixed length ten digit numbers, the compelled signalling used other places passes digits one or a few at a time. En-bloc signalling allowed a lot more sophisticated network management, e.g., if a primary route was busy, it could back up and try another route. Some day we'll go to longer numbers, but it will be a huge job requiring upgrades of every switch in the continent.

By the way, you might also want to keep in mind that the NANP is by far the largest unified numbering area in the world. Australia is a swell place, but its population is about 4% of North America's, with a correspondingly smaller phone system.

R's, John

Reply to
John Levine

On Fri, 26 Jun 2009 10:20:23 -0400, Robert Neville wrote: ........

What was that old joke about Idi Amin:

"The Ugandan Government has decreed that from Monday all cars will now drive on the Right Hand Side of the road.

If this policy proves successful, trucks and buses will follow at a later date....."


Reply to
David Clayton

Overall quantity isn't really relevant unless the per-capita use is somehow significantly greater, it basically costs each person/company in a country 10% the size of another the same amount to achieve the same thing.

Versus the costs of not doing it?

Again, a person is a person and despite all the arguments along these lines, many (many) other countries have managed such a change without too much trouble at all - certainly far less trouble than the opponents of theses things said would occur.

Unless North American citizens are - as a group - particularly stupid in comparison to all these other people, there is a very high probability that they will cope with little trouble at all.

As far as the "stationery changes" argument goes, experience shows that the changeover period of any of these situations gives more than sufficient time for old stock to be used up as new stationery is produced with the new details.

There have been numerous precedents for mass changes in all sorts of areas (unleaded petrol, as another example) that people have coped with. The same old arguments seem to appear for every sort of change like this but history also seems to show that all the issues can be overcome or they aren't really as big an obstacle than they are made out to be.

People seem to have an overly irrational fear of change, but it seems that they don't give themselves near enough credit for their proven abilities to cope with such change (which they really should be quite proud of). I don't quite understand why this is so, but I suspect that those with a vested interest in the status quo have been quiet successful in implanting the proverbial "FUD" over any change in our minds.

Reply to
David Clayton

On Fri, 26 Jun 2009 23:30:38 -0400, John Levine wrote: .......

We certainly are a lot smaller, but we still seem to manage with 8 digit "local" numbers without too much difficulty as these things progressed over the last century from 5 to 6 to 7 and finally to 8.

Places like the UK (and probably every single other major western country) have also migrated their telephone systems over time.

I certainly acknowledge that the NANP must have provided a lot of benefits from its initial inception, but when I read all this stuff about overlays and splitting area codes because of its constraints then I wonder why someone doesn't acknowledge that its time is up and come up with something better for the future.

Basically everything has a use-by date, and nostalgia can be a big handicap in fast changing technologies.

Reply to
David Clayton

Because every switch in the NANP area is digital (well, at least in Canada and the U.S.) it should be no big deal to go to 4 digit NPA (area) codes. The big deal would be the public outcry.

Originally, if I recall correctly, Mexico was supposed to be part of the NANP.

Reply to
Sam Spade

The poster in Chicago basing what ILBell/Ameritech/SBC/ATT will really do, based on a vague statement in the phone book... Good Luck!

I'm not attacking Mr. Clayton here, but there is a certain irony in his visibility in this thread.

I say that because while we are discussing deregulation & monopoly of the local loop; Australia is embarking on a bold National Broadband Network (NBN) plan to connect 90 percent of all Australian homes, schools and workplaces with fiber to the end user.

And important for our discussion, it's the national government doing this; NOT the existing telco carrier, Telsta.

NBN will deliver wholesale bandwidth. In other words, the end-user will not be locked into what one carrier chooses to bundle & offer; any more than we are locked into USP, FedEx, or USPS -- all can use the same road to Peoria.

Given that only the most starry-eyed libertarian types can keep a straight face while proclaiming that Real Soon Now we'll have the 3+ unregulated fibers to each house that is needed to support bona-fide competition....

...a loop plant plan such as this -- where the last mile access is NOT monopoly-controlled -- is the only hope we have for an open future.

Reply to
David Lesher

They were part of it at one time, I believe they chose to drop out.

Reply to
Steven Lichter Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.