G.fast is a new broadband over copper technology that will enable network operators to reduce the cost of delivering gigabit bandwidths to consumers.
Technicolor has been one of four companies participating in the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL), multi-vendor G.fast interoperability demonstration at the 2016 Broadband World Forum (BBWF) conference.
Karel Adriaensen, Director of Product Management at Technicolor, explains how and when G.fast will become available to accelerate the rollout of ultra-broadband services.
Adriaensen: Service providers today face increasing demand for high access bandwidth from end users who want to get higher quality video and immersive experiences in their homes.
G.fast is a relatively new technology that supports access bandwidths up to one gigabit per second over the existing copper lines. This is equivalent to what is possible with fiber today. The limitation is that the copper lines cannot be too long –a few hundred meters, at most. This gives G.fast a complementary role in service providers’ overall ultra-broadband strategies.
Adriaensen: It is quite complementary to other technologies. A lot of service providers are facing demand for gigabit bandwidths. They can deliver those by deploying fiber networks, and these are quite common. However, fiber networks are quite costly, especially if you want to deploy them in a brownfield situation, that is, an existing area that has infrastructure already in place. A lot of civil works are required. That makes deployment difficult and expensive.
The most difficult and the most expensive part of these fiber deployments is the last few meters before you reach the individual user’s living unit. You have to dig, and you have to get access to the user’s home. That can be operationally difficult and cost prohibitive.
This is where G.fast comes in. Service providers install it over the last few meters of the existing copper. So you run fiber until the last few meters, and then you switch over to G.fast. This allows operators to deliver an end-to-end one-gigabit service at a highly reduced cost.
Adriaensen: It is in an early market phase. There are no sizeable commercial deployments yet anywhere in the world. However, a lot of operators around the world are evaluating the technology, from a technological as well as operational and commercial point of view.
Standardization is complete, chipsets are becoming available, operators are evaluating it, and the first sizeable commercial deployments are expected to start in 2017 and grow in the following years.
Adriaensen: The next step is to bring G.fast technology beyond trials and proofs of concept by producing commercial products and rolling out commercial deployments. Technicolor already has a number of commercial G.fast products available.
For example, we are working with a tier one operator today that is deploying a new high-end gateway from Technicolor with G.fast integrated. By 2017 several hundred thousand of those gateways will be deployed around that operator’s country.
What is interesting is that the carrier does not plan to immediately enable G.fast.
The operator wants to create a nationwide footprint and as soon as that is done – and a sufficient number of G.fast gateways are deployed – they will turn on the G.fast capability and start to offer commercial services.
We expect this to happen in 2017 and then see G.fast adoption numbers grow over the following years.Show less