Retro-Fiber: Ever heard of TPON?

Pauline Rigby posts today about the amazing story of BT overlaying fiber with copper in low-density areas due to a wrong technology choice (TPON) in the 90s. You would, of course, expect any telco in their right mind to have stopped deploying greenfield copper years ago, but sadly this is more common than we think. I remember being astounded when Chorus (the network arm of Telecom New Zealand) casually mentioned that they were pulling copper to new mobile substations simply because their aggregation network wasn't geared for fiber.

But beyond what seems like a really backwards way of looking at network deployment, there's another sub-story to Pauline's anecdote and that is that non future proof technology choices come back to haunt you and (pardon my crudeness) bite you in the ass… In this instance, the scope of the deployment was small enough that – in the grand scheme of things – the impact is small. Wider FTTH deployment is another story and I dearly hope (but secretly know I'm wrong) that the choices made today are not made for short-term tactical reasons…