I'm glad Australia hadn't spread it's gospel before now.
Way back in the day when the US was licking it's wounded pride over it's defeat by VietNam, it banned the export of many goods to this country. European and Chinese companies seized the opportunity to ignore the US and one area, exploited by Germany, was telecommunications.
We have had digital switches since the earliest days, and end-to-end digital signalling, as in handset to handset. You could even hook a digital modem to a line and get fast InterNet. Some telephone instruments even had data connectors.
And they went crazy with fibre optic. Almost every highway has a fibre optic cable under it. These cables surface in towns, villages and hamlets (a few houses) where the distribution boxes are mounted on poles and the house-drops radiate from there.
When I built my house, as well as when I built my office, along comes the cable gang pulling in fibre optics! This means that, depending on the building termination unit configuration, I can select who will provide my cable TV, telephone or InterNet service. As the terminals are easily configured I have managed to change some selections ... unofficially.
Same with my wife's hotels, even though one is somewhat remote, along comes the fibre guys, no copper in sight.
In the cities, copper is eschewed with new buildings also being blessed with multi-vendor fibre optic.
Despite what Australia thinks, IMO copper is passée, and fibre offers the best return on investment, particularly given today's copper prices. The same applies in Canada, except that competing carriers insist on running separate FO drops to each residence!
Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull viewpoint is somewhat skewed - possibly Australia has an interest in copper? Fibre optic has so many long-term benefits that makes anything else ill advised.
We also have low-power radio and television transmitters which are fed from FO in remote areas.