The end of the copper phone line

In the beginning of telephony, communication between telephones was established through copper lines that reached our house, and this was the case for almost 100 years, until technological change imposed fiber-optic connections that are faster, they allow the sending of many lines by a single cable, etc…. a multitude of improvements that have cornered the humble copper wire.

All over the world, and also in Spain, copper lines and the switchboards that handled them are being eliminated, to be replaced by fiber-optic with its new fully electronic switchboards.

Users have not been aware of these changes because they have kept the same telephone number for their entire lives and all they know is that “one day” a technician from the telephone company came and did something. What he did was put the fiber optic connection in the house.

In recent years, in addition to fiber optics, the enormous development of mobiles has changed the communications landscape.

In Spain there are 8 million more mobile lines than inhabitants and the same happens in all developed countries. And many people, especially the younger ones, now only use their mobiles to communicate, leaving the landlines for the older ones.

The copper cable that was once the “king” has become a very low-level subject and with a forecast of disappearing in the next few years. Nothing is forever.

Telephone exchanges have been closed, as today’s electronics are much more capable, and take up much less space, and the same has happened with the cable companies that supplied materials. They and their workers have disappeared and new ones have emerged that support the new technologies.

It is the sign of the times, and all changes, even those that we do not perceive, have consequences for someone.

Fewer and more qualified people are needed to manufacture and manage the new plants, so the continuous training of people to get and / or keep a job is essential.

It remains to be seen how the 5G, 6G, and subsequent technologies will affect us, but it looks like fixed lines are going to be relegated to the background, and the future of fiber optics may be in question in another few years.

As I said a few paragraphs before, nothing is forever.

I am an electronic engineer with more than 40 years working in industry. I like to reflect on Technological and Social issues