As the UK rollout of full fibre (FTTP) broadband gathers pace, BT are increasingly turning their attention to the challenge of how to extract all of that valuable copper leftover from their legacy phone network. Initial trials have already taken place, and they now expect to extract over 200 tonnes of copper cable this year.
The complete extraction of BT and Openreach’s legacy cables and kit will be a slow process because some parts of the UK are still likely to need them for many years longer, while consumers also have to be given time to migrate. Nevertheless, Openreach’s new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network already covers 10.27 million premises, and they aim to reach 25 million by December 2026. But they recently hinted that this might grow up to 30 million by 2030 (here), which would only leave a tiny portion of premises stuck on ancient copper, or even aluminium, lines.
The process of moving end-users away from copper and on to fibre optic infrastructure is already underway and that will only expand over the coming years, albeit very gradually. BT recently stated that it remained “confident” of being able to “recover” an estimated 200,000 tonnes of copper from their old legacy network through the 2030s.