The particular acronym, used in Australia, that this site is mainly to do with is CAN. Customer Access Network. The telecommunications physical method of connecting customers to a network interface (such as a Telephone Exchange). In particular, the medium of using copper cabling.
Overseas, copper access networks are called local loops or subscriber local loops and Telephone Exchanges are referred to as Central Offices.
Back-in-the-days, the governments Postmaster General department (later divided into Telecom Australia & Australia Post) installed local loops to their ‘subscribers’ so as to connect to their electro-mechanical telephone exchanges. Managed by engineers, cost was of little concern to obtain the quality deemed necessary. The government received millions of dollars each year.
The government sold off their telco utility in three tranches. Engineers lost their management positions to business executives. American telco execs were favoured at various times. Maintenance of the CAN was considered wasted money. Operational expenditure (OPEX) was gradually wound down to a dribble but the main cost to get under control was labour. Headcount economics prevailed mainly using voluntary redundancy packages. Off-shoring of jobs continues at an accelerated rate.
Seeing their once stable employment become anything but, lower management joined into the trendiest group-think passed down by the latest upper manager to get his/her arse in a chair. Those who made waves were shown the door.
So, various materials and work practices were brought in, over time, to either save money in the long or short term. There are many stories to tell and pictures to show. Enjoy!