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Singtel signals the end of copper networks

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Singtel has announced plans to accelerate the rollout of fibre networks in the nation, including the aim of progressively closing copper-based ADSL by early 2018.

As part of the plans to become a more digitally orientated nation, Singtel will cease copper deployment to commercial buildings that obtain Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) status from April 2018. What would be deemed a slow conversion to fibre in the rest of the world is being taking up a couple of notches in Singapore.

A TOP is essentially a certificate which states a building can be occupied for commercial purposes. For those companies who acquire a TOP prior to April, the option for copper will still be available, but this will soon be a thing of the past. Just to put things in a bit of context, Singtel made the same move, ceasing the deployment of copper, for new residential buildings in 2013.

“We are pleased to make this technology adoption push in support of today’s digital economy and tomorrow’s connected Smart Nation,” said Wong Soon Nam, Vice President of Consumer Products at Singtel.

“Fibre-based networks today is capable of offering far greater speeds and supporting a much wider range of services than the prevailing copper-based networks. Fibre also provides customers with a robust connectivity that supports unified business communication applications and smart home services.”

This is certainly a statement of intent, following up a very early commitment to rid the nation of copper in 2013, and shows why Singapore is one of the more advanced digital economies worldwide. To drive the digital economy, the infrastructure has to be top of the line, there is no other way around it.

And some might ask why other nations aren’t following the Singapore lead, making such strong commitments to fibre infrastructure and digitally enabled business models. Let’s just put things into a bit of context for the moment.

Singapore is the 176th smallest country in the world, with a land-mass of 277.6 sq. miles. It has a population of roughly 5.6 million. Now let’s put this in comparison to London. The population of London is just under 8.8 million, and the city covers a land-mass of 607 sq. miles. Now, London is certainly a big city, but the comparison emphasises the scale; Singapore is tiny.

Singapore might well be on the way to be a digital nation, but considering its size this is a much simpler job that the overwhelmingly, vast majority of other countries.


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