There are many benefits to switching to Full Fibre broadband, something the UK is in line to achieve before 2025. These don’t only include faster download and upload speeds, but there are many other benefits too.
One of the drawbacks of copper cable is that it is heavy, another is that it is fragile. It weighs about 10g per foot, and there were 57,000,000 miles of copper cable buried under the ground and hanging from telegraph poles, (I’ve done the numbers, that’s 3,960,000 tonnes) and it’s easy for it to get damaged by high winds, damage poles, roadworks digging in the wrong place and many other causes.
Copper Is Costly
Copper is also valuable. At the time of writing the value of refined copper is $7,450 per tonne. With almost four million tonnes of copper lying around, that’s a huge resource, and a huge temptation. Throughout the UK and elsewhere there have been several incidents where there have been phone and internet outages due to people stealing data cable. (With the very low amperages used in telephony and data, it’s clearly a much safer bet than stealing electrical cable!) Fibre on the other hand is virtually valueless to anyone who isn’t a fibre installer.
So fibre’s more likely to be left in the ground, and while it’s there it’s a lot less likely to require maintenance too. Verizon, the US phone and data provider report that in New York, after installing fibre there has been a 60% reduction in truck deployments to maintenance issues, and a 40-60% reduction in associated costs. Read more