Copper phone lines vs fibre and VoIP

Today we rely on fibre like we used to rely on copper.

Since the late 1800s, shortly after the telephone was invented, landlines relied on copper to transmit sound. Switchboard operators were in high demand and rotary diallers were all the rage. Our communications technology was quite a different scene a hundred years ago.

Today’s phones

Fast forward to today and the operators, rotary diallers and chunky corded phones are all gone. Today’s phones can text, pay for things like parking and dial a number with one-touch programming, along with loads of other handy features.

Copper vs VoIP

More and more businesses are taking advantage of the latest communications technology and in particular, experiencing the benefits of a fibre service over a copper one. Besides offering the ability to streamline office operations with customised phone features, fibre offers robust savings on phone calling rates, and that’s not all.

Fibre offers greater security (it is extremely difficult to tap a fibre line) and the tiny hair-like strands of fibre offer far greater transmission speeds. Switching to fibre, or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) simply means moving from copper wires to fibre and changing your phone services from a copper cable to the internet.

You’ll already know the difference it made when you changed your internet from dial-up to fibre, right? VoIP offers the same fundamental benefits to your phones: faster, clearer communications and more flexibility.

If you’re thinking of switching from copper to fibre, take a look through the pros and cons below.

Copper landlineFibre/VoIP
SpeedLimited to ADSL or VDSL (1-30Mbps)Ranges from 30-1000Mbps
CapacityAround 3,000 callsAround 31,000 calls
SecurityCalls can be interceptedIncredibly difficult to intercept a fibre data transmission
ServiceAnalogue; requires expensive PABX phone systemDigital; better quality and many more features
Interruption of serviceCopper lines break. Parts of the network are old and vulnerable to performance issues in bad weatherService interruptions can happen when the internet is down (though this can be recovered by redirecting to your mobile)
SafetyOld or worn copper is a fire hazardCloud based, more secure
Call qualityCompromised over longer distancesSuperior clarity


We think (and we’re not the only ones) fibre optic cable is far superior to copper cable in just about every way and any downsides are far outweighed by the benefits.

Want to know more about how fibre and VoIP can benefit your business? Give us a call and we’ll walk you through it: 0800 303 202.

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    • bob says:

      Hi, I feel I have to comment after reading some of your copper vs fibre comparisons.
      1/ Speed – I’m on VDSL and receive 75Mb/s download average (and 30Mb/s upload average), faster than some people I know on fibre 100 plans.
      2/ Interruption of service – During the CHCH earthquakes the only reliable telephone connections were copper landlines. You can forget about anything that requires power and forget about trying to use your mobile too being totally jammed up for many hours or days.
      3/ Safety – I don’t know where you’ve got your information from but copper telephone lines can’t cause fires; you have to have a heat source to create a fire and the level of impedance on copper telephone circuits means they can be completely shorted and not cause fires.

      • cloudedge says:

        Thanks Bob,

        VDSL speeds vary depending on your line quality and how far away you are from the telephone exchange. It sounds as though you’ve had one of the best connections in NZ that I’ve heard on VDSL.

        Power is the main concern when moving to VoIP in regards to how we sustain these lines. This is why in critical areas, we add in a UPS to keep the gear running in the event of a power failure.

        The relation to copper being a fire hazard is more referring to worn copper cables that have been run alongside power with nothing more than some paper between them. We’ve seen some very interesting jobs over our time when we’ve been doing cabling jobs of disasters waiting to happen.

        Cloud Edge

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