Another telecom provider is taking a step toward removing copper from its network. A recent SEC filing indicates that AT&T plans to shut down some of its copper assets as it proceeds with its transition to an IP network. The carrier has said previously that it intends to make the switch to a fully IP network by 2020.
AT&T is set to release its financial report for the fourth quarter of 2014 next week and the numbers will reflect a $2.1 billion noncash charge as a result of shutting down the copper assets. The company has not identified the specific markets in which the copper assets are being abandoned.
“During the fourth quarter, we performed an analysis of our network assets and determined that specific copper assets will not be necessary to support future network activity, due to declining customer demand for our legacy voice and data products and the migration of our networks to next generation technology,” AT&T stated in the SEC filing.
Though AT&T has been one of the biggest proponents of a move to IP and even participated in transition trials with the FCC, it is far from the only carrier who sees a declining role for copper. Verizon has also been stripping out its old copper lines in favor of newer fiber lines. With the biggest carriers pushing for a change, it’s clear that the time for copper is coming to an end.