Verizon CTO: We’ve already converted 4.5M copper circuits to fiber

Verizon CTO Kyle Malady revealed the switch from copper to fiber infrastructure is saving the company millions of dollars per year and stated those benefits are expected to grow as it migrates more of its customers and central offices.

Speaking during an investor day event, Malady said Verizon has already upgraded 4.5 million circuits on its network from copper to fiber. It has also converted 36 of its central office locations to all fiber, retiring the copper plant at those locations entirely. Already, this upgrade program is delivering operational savings of around $180 million.

“The savings are in part driven by a reduction in technician dispatches in maintaining the network and supporting customers. Additionally, we see savings because of energy from converting the copper to fiber,” he explained. Malady tipped its savings figure to “continue to grow as we convert more and more customers and more and more COs.”

Verizon appears to be planning to make headway on the customer front this year. The operator increased the number of Fios open for sale locations by 481,000 in 2021 to reach a total of 16.5 million by the end of the year. Malady said it’s planning to add another 550,000 Fios open for sale locations in 2022.

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“Fiber to new locations is pivotal both in and out of footprint. However, upgrading our existing copper plant to fiber in footprint is also very important to us,” he stated.

Ultimately, Verizon is aiming for Fios to reach to 18 million open for sale homes and 8 million internet subscribers by end-2025.

Owned fiber

The CTO also touted the benefits of owning its own fiber for its wireless network, pointing to its OneFiber initiative which aims to extend its infrastructure both within its LEC footprint and in 69 markets outside of that area. Malady said Verizon reaps a benefit of around $300 million from owners economics each year.

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At the end of 2021, Malady said 45% of Verizon’s cell sites were connected to its fiber assets, up from 36% the previous year. That figure is expected to increase to 50% in 2022, he added.

“Owning and operating our fiber to the cell lets us scale transport easily and cost-effectively and improves our reliability. And owning our own fiber becomes even more cost-effective as the data usage grows,” he said. “Our competitors who lease most of their fiber will incur greater and greater costs going forward.”