FCC Wants Copper Networks Turned Off in Favour of Fibre Upgrade

/ 2 years ago


The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is introducing new rules designed to encourage internet service providers (ISPs) to shut down the internet copper network in favour of superfast fibre. Previous legislation required ISPs to seek approval from the FCC before switching off a copper network, but new a new ruling leaves that at the discretion of the ISP, provided that customers see no drop in service.

ISPs still need to notify the FCC if their switch from copper to fibre will affect users, “However, carriers will retain the flexibility to retire their copper networks in favor of fiber without prior Commission approval—as long as no service is discontinued, reduced, or impaired,” the FCC said in its official statement.

“Changing technology does not change responsibility,” Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC, said. “Fiber brings great cost savings, great efficiencies, and great opportunities for new services. But it does not bring the opportunity to walk away from the responsibilities that govern the relationship between those who build and those who use the facilities.”

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Though the move is great news for internet users, it could have potential downsides for landline telephone users. A copper network does not require power from the grid to facilitate phonecalls, while a fibre network does. In the event of a power cut, a copper network keeps the phones working, while a fibre network would shut down all phonecalls. A separate FCC ruling will require telecoms providers to provide an 8-hour power backup in the event of a power outage. While that may suffice during a temporary outage, a storm, flood, or hurricane could put phonelines out of action for days.

Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information.

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