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This paper examines the economic impact of the use of flexible and highly integrated electronic control for next generation multi-channel optical transceivers for the access network. Issues of size cost and power consumption are reviewed, including the extended costs arising within the overall manufacturing process and customer usability of the final products. Generalised results are presented from studies carried out with optical device vendors by a new start-up communications systems company. The application of similar control technology to other optical network areas, such as free-space optics, LiFi and `smart' lighting is also considered.