SINGAPORE: Singtel on Monday (Sep 11) said it will halt the deployment of copper to commercial buildings, and offer only fibre-based networks from next year.
In its press release, the telco said it will cease copper deployment to buildings that obtain Temporary Occupation Permit status from April next year, while commercial buildings that obtain TOP status before then will not be affected. It added that it ceased copper deployment to new residential buildings since 2013.
Singtel also said it will progressively close copper-based ADSL that support broadband, TV, digital voice and private network services, and this is slated to be completed by early 2018.
"Fibre-based networks today are 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,” said Mr Wong Soon Nam, vice president of Consumer Products, Consumer Singapore at Singtel.
ADSL BROADBAND SERVICES UNSUSTAINABLE
An Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) spokesperson said in a separate statement on Monday that with the proliferation of fibre connectivity in Singapore, the demand for services provided over legacy copper infrastructure such as ADSL broadband services has "declined significantly" over the years.
In fact, retail broadband services using ADSL technology accounts for less than 3 per cent of retail fixed-line broadband subscriptions. By comparison, about 1.1 million homes have fibre broadband or 80 per cent of households today.
"IMDA acknowledges that it is no longer commercially viable for Singtel to maintain and support this ageing technology on a nationwide basis," the spokesperson said.
The industry regulator requires Singtel to provide ample notice and comparable alternative packages to affected customers, as well as exercise flexibility and extend assistance to those in need so as to minimise inconvenience to them and disruption to services.
"Based on the migration packages offered by Singtel, we understand that more than 95 per cent of affected consumers will get to enjoy comparable or cheaper packages," the spokesperson said.
"Subscribers who are still within their minimum service period may exit their contracts without early termination charges if they do not wish to sign up for the alternative fibre-based services.