The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) appears to have left no stone unturned in a new report analyzing the benefits of replacing copper with fiber.

In some cases, the authors were able to quantify potential cost savings, which could be particularly useful for providers wanting to build a business case for the copper-to-fiber move.

One key data point is that the move to fiber can save $54 per year per home passed in opex in comparison with hybrid fiber coax (HFC) networks and $91 per year per home passed in comparison with DSL. These savings are driven, in large part, by a reduction in truck rolls –.13 truck rolls per subscriber per year, which is less than a third of the .45 truck rolls per DSL subscriber per year.

Other savings come from fiber’s superior energy efficiency, using 2.409 kilowatts per month per customer, in comparison with 3.066 KW for DSL.

Moving to fiber also can cut pole attachment costs by as much as 50%. As the authors explain, “Pole attachment fees and other make ready costs are increasing in most areas and many feeder route lines have multiple strands . . . with each strand charged an attachment fee.

“Removing copper lines will reduce attachment fees as fewer fiber cables will be required, due to fiber’s exponentially greater capacity.”

Providers replacing copper with fiber also may be able to generate revenues that can help offset fiber deployment and copper removal costs. Providers may find revenue in real estate that is no longer needed and from the sale of retired copper.

Real estate revenues would come from the sale of properties that would no longer be needed.

The report notes, for example, that many providers are deploying fiber broadband using a single building to house all the powered fiber equipment needed to cover an area as large as 40 kilometers in diameter. In comparison, DSL and HFC networks would require dozens of buildings or huts to house powered equipment serving the same size area.

The move to fiber would give providers the opportunity to sell the properties that housed the unneeded buildings or huts, some of which could be in high-value locations.

As for selling retired copper, one copper recycling company says the value of copper can sometimes cover removal costs. Perhaps in the future, there might even be some money left over.

The FBA notes that copper prices have increased dramatically and are forecast to continue to increase in value. The authors point to the example of the electric vehicle industry, which is expected to need 230% more copper by 2030 for recharging stations.

Source: Macrotrends

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