Green Tech

The value of used copper networks for Telcos

The value of used copper networks for Telcos

Engineering firm TXO’s report reveals that telecom companies could reclaim over $7 billion worth of dormant copper cables within the next decade. As fibre optics replace copper in developed telecom networks, the latter’s value is climbing, particularly for use in electric vehicles and renewable energy sectors. The demand for copper has already increased by 50% since before the pandemic and is expected to rise another 50% by 2040.

TXO estimates that up to 800,000 tons of copper could be salvaged from legacy telecom networks by 2035, a potential windfall for telecom companies at current market prices. UK’s Openreach plans to recover 200,000 tons in the next 15 years, highlighting the industry’s push to capitalise on this lucrative opportunity despite the challenges and costs of extraction and processing.

While the transition to fibre reduces the risk, copper theft remains a costly problem for telecoms, especially in less developed markets. Nonetheless, the high value of copper makes its recovery a profitable venture for the industry, even after accounting for the associated costs. Openreach’s statement to Bloomberg confirms the net income generated from copper cable recovery, emphasising the financial incentive behind these efforts.

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