Russian nationwide operator Rostelecom has announced a supply tender worth RUB3.8 billion (USD64.5 million) for the upgrade of its copper line PSTN/ADSL access network with multi-service access nodes supporting VDSL2 high speed broadband services, Vedomosti reported, adding that the winner(s) of the tender will receive a two-year framework contract for the rollout. Whilst Rostelecom’s main fixed access network focus is on GPON/direct fibre architecture, a company spokesperson explained that in certain cases, upgrading the existing copper lines will be more cost efficient than replacement with fibre, whilst enabling access speeds of ‘up to 100Mbps’. As a knock-on benefit, the removal of obsolete equipment will free up space in the telco’s premises which it can lease or sell, the spokesperson added. The article observed that the copper/xDSL network retention strategy was likely to be more relevant in provincial areas where customers’ loyalty to a traditional fixed line voice service is stronger (although it should be noted that equivalent voice services are available over fibre).
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database shows that Rostelecom’s DSL internet subscribers decreased by 7.7% year-on-year to 5.0947 million at the end of September 2016, whilst in the same period its fibre broadband customers increased by 21.0% to 7.146 million. At the end of Q3 it reported nearly 21 million active fixed voice lines (down by around 8% y-o-y).