Singapore’s Singtel has announced plans to discontinue its copper-based ADSL network in April 2018 as it accelerates fibre-based service adoption for its business and residential customers in the city-state. About 47,000 Singtel customers are still hooked up to broadband via ADSL, and the telco says it is writing to each one of them to let them know they have until March next year to migrate to faster broadband technologies. Currently, the operator’s fibre-based networks deliver speeds of up to 100Gbps and provide the connectivity needed in the Smart Nation envisioned by the government of Singapore. In a statement on Monday (11 September), Wong Soon Nam, Singtel Consumer Singapore’s vice-president for consumer products, confirmed the decision, saying: ‘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,’ going on to add: ‘Fibre also provides customers with a robust connectivity that supports unified business communication applications and smart home services.’
The telco will work to ensure a smooth transition to the new 100% fibre set-up, reaching out to end users via several channels to keep them abreast of developments. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has acknowledged that it is no longer commercially viable for Singtel to maintain the aging technology – launched in Singapore 15 years ago – on a nationwide basis. ‘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,’ an IMDA spokesman said.
The statement also confirms that Singtel will also cease copper deployment to commercial buildings that obtain Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) status from April, and will serve customers in these buildings using fibre-based networks. Commercial buildings that obtain TOP status before April 2018 will not be affected. Singtel stopped using copper-based networks in new residential buildings in 2013.