Verizon says XO's 1-year copper retirement proposal will create unnecessary costs, delay IP transition

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) says that while it does not want to leave its wholesale CLEC customers like XO in the lurch, it does not want to delay its transition to IP and fiber by increasing the amount of time required to issue notice that it is retiring copper assets.

The service provider said in an FCC filing that it disagrees with XO's proposal for Verizon to provide a one-year notice when they are going to retire copper in a certain area. Providing such notice will delay their transition to IP and fiber, the carrier said.

"XO, for example, continues to push for changes to the copper retirement notice procedures, including a new requirement that incumbents provide notice of retirement at least one year in advance of retirement, create costly new databases of their facilities, and provide as much as two-year forecasts of their planned copper retirements," wrote Verizon in an FCC filing.

Verizon wrote in its filing that in areas where it has retired copper customers "the public has benefited from associated reductions in the overall power consumption and from the reduced risk of copper thefts that could interfere with customers' service or create public safety issues."

Besides putting a strain on their capex to develop systems to track the legacy copper facilities, Verizon said that a prolonged copper retirement process could also have an effect on competition.

"Requiring providers to forecast their copper retirement plans as many as two years out could have a detrimental effect on competition," wrote Verizon. "By requiring providers to disclose this competitive information about where they plan to deploy fiber or retire copper, competitors such as cable companies could gain an unfair competitive advantage and target their marketing efforts and other activities in response to the protracted, advanced notice of their competitors' plans."

XO wrote in response to Verizon that while it does not want to hinder the ILEC community from retiring their copper facilities and replacing them with fiber, they said the limited 90 days' notice could potentially leave one of its retail business customers without service.

While it has built out a large fiber network, XO still rents copper facilities to deliver Ethernet over Copper (EoC) and other services to its business customers. 

"XO is not seeking to prevent incumbents from retiring copper facilities, but it is essential that retirements be implemented to minimize harm to customers and enable an orderly transition," XO wrote in its filing. "XO needs sufficient time to work with its effected retail customers to identify and then provide a replacement service, either by building its own facilities or leasing them from another provider. The Commission should understand that most XO customers often have unique or tailored needs and have substantial sunk investment in customer premises equipment. From experience, XO has found the time to transition these customers' services may be as long as one year, if not more--which makes the current notice timeline inadequate."

In addition to providing a longer retirement timeline, XO has asked the FCC to develop a copper retirement process that requires each incumbent telco to provide a single response to wholesale customers' information about copper availability and retirement notices.

The CLEC is concerned that this process currently does not cover information about copper noticed for retirement, meaning that a competitor could purchase a copper facility "only to have it retired a short time later."

"XO proposes to remedy this problem by having incumbents incorporate these notices into their existing process for determining the availability of copper facilities provided at wholesale so that a wholesale customer can access all information in a single search," wrote XO.

For more:
- see Verizon's filing (.pdf)
- and XO's filing (.pdf)

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