CenturyLink® Aims to Retire Copper Loops in Two Midwestern States

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The best internet provider CenturyLink® has sought FCC’s permission to retire copper loops in areas of Nebraska and Minnesota. In Valley, Nebraska, and Crystal, Minnesota, the telecommunications company plans to take out copper and swap them with fiber loops. This is the requirement of CenturyLink® as subscribers gravitate towards high-speed broadband internet, provided over fiber to the home (FTTH) overlay architecture. A growth in the said areas prompted the requirement for retirement of copper, which is reportedly slated to happen on November 30.

In Shakopee and Afton, Minnesota, the company plans to cut facilities for fiber-reliant digital loop carrier systems, owing to growth in the areas of distribution. Following the cut to digital loop carrier systems, services that rely on copper, such as non-loaded copper loops, will not be supported. However, other types of unbundled loops will still be available. The transition is expected to happen on November 30 in Afton and on December 30 in Shakopee.

The VP of Federal Government Affairs at CenturyLink® David Bartlett told channel partners that just as the industry transitions to gen-next, IP-based products and copper services’ demand decreases, “providers need the flexibility to discontinue those legacy services and retire copper facilities that are no longer used.”

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“CenturyLink® tries to balance the need to transform its networks, products and services with the needs of our customers, business partners and employees, while also providing a level of certainty and a path forward during the IP transition that the company will continue to meet consumer and public safety demands,” Bartlett said. “Depending on available local network infrastructure, in some cases customers may choose whether they want to continue using copper-based facilities or transition to fiber-based IP facilities.”

In November 2017, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules targeted at making it easier for telecommunications service providers to swap copper-based infrastructure with fiber. Those rules comprise removing a necessity for subscriber notices, removing discontinuance requirement comprising wholesale-exclusive services, allowing service operators to discontinue some low-speed internet services that had been exempted, and removing the requirement for them to get FCC’s approval prior to improving legacy services.

On the other hand, Verizon® has also sought the permission of the Commission to retire copper in areas of Pennsylvania, New York and New England, as the company shifts subscribers to fiber-based technology.

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