TDC NET initiates cooperation to phase out the copper network

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As a nationwide infrastructure company, TDC NET now invites all telecom and internet providers and other important stakeholders to cooperate when the Danish copper network is to be phased out over the coming years. Ten telephone exchanges and just over 5,500 customers make up the very first part of the six-year project.

TDC NET's copper network has kept Danes connected for more than 140 years. In recent years, however, new, faster technologies have become available, and customers are therefore rapidly replacing the old copper with lightning-fast broadband connections.

From the time the first copper connection was installed in 1882 and until 2001, the number of connections on the copper network rapidly increased. Here the network reached its greatest spread with 3.8 million subscribers. With fiber and mobile networks on the rise, however, the number of copper customers has since fallen steadily, and at the beginning of 2024, only approximately 430,000 remain – 162,000 telephone customers and 293,000 broadband customers. Every month more and more are disappearing, and TDC NET expects another 100,000 to leave the old copper network alone in 2024.

Farewell to an era

Just as it has happened in several other European countries in recent years, it is thus time for TDC NET to start phasing out the copper network in Denmark. In March 2024, the large supplier of digital infrastructure will therefore begin the first part of the extensive task. Over a period of 13 months, and in collaboration with a number of actors – including especially telecom and internet providers – they will ensure that the first ten telephone exchanges are closed down.

"The copper network has served us all well in an important time for Denmark, and there is reason to pay tribute to a technology that has been in operation for so long. In recent years, however, the Danes have opted for new, lightning-fast broadband solutions and opted out of the copper network. We are currently in a situation where it no longer makes sense to maintain the copper network in Denmark, and therefore we are now starting a collaboration that will ensure that together with the telecom and internet providers before 2030, we get the last end customers converted to better and future-proof solutions,” explains Robert Dogonowski, commercial director at TDC NET.

Of the ten telephone exchanged chosen in the first phase, seven are located in North Zealand, one near Roskilde, one near Greve and one near Odense.

Phasing out at an appropriate pace

With a transition phase of 13 months for each area, TDC NET has chosen to give telecom and internet providers and their end customers plenty of time to switch to new solutions.

"Experience from other countries shows that it is important that we proceed thoroughly and systematically. We must be sure that the end customers are well taken care of. Therefore, we involve all relevant actors – telecommunications and internet providers, authorities, and organisations. Among other things, we have had a dialogue with consumer and elderly organisations, and the information material has been created through a joint industry effort. It is important to us that everyone can have peace of mind," says Robert Dogonowski.

He goes on to say that a decision has also been made on which telephone exchanges will be the next to close and emphasizes that, just as with the first ten exchanges, there will be clear communication from the telecom and internet providers to the customers in the chosen areas.

Customers can still keep their landline phone

Although the number of mobile subscriptions in Denmark is approaching eight million, there are still few customers who would like to keep their landline telephone. It is too expensive to maintain the copper network for their sake alone, but there is now a reassuring message from TDC NET to this group:

"We are currently seeing that the number of customers switching from copper to e.g. fiber networks is growing significantly. In just a few years, there will be so few customers left that the costs of maintaining and correcting faults on the copper network will make the old technology difficult and unprofitable to operate. In the end, it would be massively more expensive for the few remaining customers. A few customers may feel particularly secure with their landline phone, and for them IP telephony through a fiber cable or with a so-called gateway with a SIM card together with the phone itself can often be a solution," concludes Robert Dogonowski.

TDC NET expects to announce the next 28 exchanges during April, and here the process will be the same – that is, the process will be carried out in close cooperation with the telecom and internet providers.

If you want to follow TDC NET's copper project, you can find more information here

Facts about TDC NET and the copper network

  • The first copper connection was installed by businessman C. F. Tietgen in the old stock exchange building in Copenhagen.
  • TDC NET is Denmark's largest owner of digital infrastructure – copper, COAX, fiber and mobile. TDC NET invests around three billion kroner in its infrastructure each year.
  • TDC NET's direct customers are telecom and internet providers. These have the customer relationships with the end customers.
  • The copper network peaked in 2001 with 3.8 million subscriptions.
  • In 2023, approximately 100,000 end customers chose to replace their copper connection with new faster and more stable solutions. Approximately 430,000 customers remain at the beginning of 2024.
  • TDC NET currently has a total of 1,183 telephone exchanges spread across Denmark. The ten centrals that will close first – and, as said, this will only happen at the beginning of 2025 – are Alsønderup, Espergærde, Ganløse, Gørløse, Hornbæk, Korup, Rågeleje, Tune, Viby and Ålsgårde.
  • Automation of the central telephone exchanges began in the 1920s, while the last manual exchange closed in 1978.
  • TDC NET expects the copper network to be completely phased out before 2030.