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gfast map nov

Dark Green: Firm commitments from incumbent: BT (10M), Belgacom, Australian NBN, Swisscom,  Austria, Bezeq Israel, Chunghwa Taiwan, Telus Canada, Telekom South Africa, SK Korea, (U.S.) AT&T, Century, Frontier, Windstream, Belgium, Omantel

Mid Pink: Smaller carriers in Germany, Norway, Finland, Japan

Light Green: Incumbent likely:  France, Germany, Italy

Bibern Google EarthThose gigabits just ain't delivering. The glass is half full: many customers are getting downloads of 200-400 megabits. That's pretty darn good. The glass is half empty: the gigabits promised are not being achieved.

Carsten Roetz of Swisscom writes "The test customers in the village of Bibern get between 285 and 402 Mbps downstream and between 85 and 109 Mbps upstream. Results depend on copper cable length: on short copper cables (ca 24 meters) we were even able to reach 624 Mbps Downstream / 151 Mbps Upstream in field but without connected customers."

Most of the ~150 homes in the Swiss town of Bibern are within 200 meters of the city center, ideal territory. Whether 200 megabits or 500 megabits, actually getting to customers is a milestone. 

Bibern imagry from Google Earth. Thanks yet again to TeleGeography CommsUpdate for a pointer to the story. Here's the Swisscom announcement


Swisscom leads the way in network expansion: first customer test for the new technology

Berne, 04 May 2015

New web applications and the increasing level of networking call for ever higher bandwidths, and Swisscom is continually expanding its broadband network to respond to this. Swisscom is now testing the new data transmission standard under real conditions for the first time and connecting the first test customers. The technology and a combination of fibre-optic and copper lines permit bandwidths of up to 500 Mbps. Swisscom is the first telecommunications company in Europe to allow customers to surf the web with the standardised chipset.

Wide-ranging streaming packages, HD quality videos and new cloud services are just a few of the reasons why both residential customers and companies need more and more data at ever higher speeds. Even today, the volume of fixed network data traffic already doubles every 16 months. With this in mind, Swisscom has been driving the expansion of ultra-fast broadband technologies for years. Over 1.4 million households and businesses benefit from bandwidths of at least 50 Mbps. In the future, the new transmission technology will allow customers with an FTTS or FTTB connection to surf at speeds of up to 500 Mbps. This is achieved by using a higher frequency spectrum on copper cables. In the case of FTTS, fibre-optic cables are laid up to a distance of around 200 metres from the building. Larger properties benefit from an FTTB connection, with fibre-optic cables laid right up to the building itself.

First field test and customers with active services on

Swisscom carried out a field test of the technology in April, enabling it to gather initial experiences under real conditions. As a result, the village of Bibern in the municipality of Buchegg, canton of Solothurn, is now one of the first places in Switzerland to benefit from the new transmission standard, and since the end of April 2015 the first customers have been able to surf at speeds of up to 500 Mbps even if they do not have an FTTH connection.

Swisscom is planning to expand for all FTTS and FTTB connections from 2016. Until then, will be optimised for the Swisscom network in cooperation with the company’s technology partner Huawei.

High investment in broadband provision throughout Switzerland

Swisscom wants to connect more than 2.3 million homes and businesses to the ultra-fast broadband network by the end of the year, investing more than CHF 1.75 billion in the expansion of the IT and network infrastructure in 2015 alone. To supply locations outside the major conurbations, Swisscom relies on a mix of technologies that permit ultra-fast bandwidths: vectoring, Fibre to the Street (FTTS), Fibre to the Building (FTTB) and Fibre to the Home (FTTH). FTTS and FTTB currently permit bandwidths of up to 100 Mbps. Swisscom is thus making a key contribution to the ongoing digitisation of Switzerland and maintaining its position as global leader: according to Akamai, Switzerland is ranked first in Europe and third globally for high bandwidth coverage (>10Mbps).



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I’m still working through remarkable presentations from the Broadband Forum events. Michael Weissman, Bernd Hesse and team did a remarkable job choosing the speakers.

Deutsche Telecom: 35b Supervectoring Delayed to 2019
Broadcom is now over 3 years late. DT briefed German reporters after their financial call and revealed 35b was now delayed until 2019. 35b should deliver 200+ meg downloads 500-600 meters, a crucial tool for DT, which is losing share to cable. Cable now covers about 70% of Germany and is expanding. DT now only offers 50-100 megabit DSL while cable is often 400 megabits, going to a gigabit. 

The problem is software; the hardware is shipping and supposedly will work. DT says 35b is not ready to turn on. Broadcom in 2015 said 35b was in "production" in the press release below. Alcatel in early 2016 said to expect complete systems very soon. "35g is very similar to 17a so there should be little delay."

Broadcom's problems are leading major telcos and vendors to have a plan B, using Sckipio DT itself is planning extensive deployments in 2019, mostly in apartment buildings.

Gigabit 100 Meters - Unless the Wires are Lousy
Speeds are fine, "Unless there's a line problem." I've been reporting for three years that ~10% of lines have problems. In the chart by Rami Verbin of Sckipio, he finds goes ~130 meters on good lines. Poor lines have about half the reach. 

His chart roughly matches the reports from Swisscom, Belgacom, and England for both & vectored DSL. The 10% with problems can cause the majority of the line-related complaints to support. The angry customers drive up cost.

Rami's solution to reach the gigabit is bonding, supported on the Sckipio chips. Verbin made some additional points:

  • 4 gigabits is possible by bonding two decent 2 gigabit lines.
  • Even in a service from remote cabinets, ~25% are close enough to get a full gigabit."
  • cDTA and iDTA are practical ways to deliver much higher upstream by switching some bandwidth from downstream to upstream only when needed.
  • 35B will probably be similar but Deutsche Telecom doesn't expect to deploy until 2019.

AT&T Wants Coax 2-5 Gigabit Very Soon.
AT&T faces intense competition from cable, talking about 10 gigabits in both directions. (Cable will only be 1 gig down, ~100 meg up, until ~2021.) AT&T wants something to brag about as well.

AT&T gained millions of lines of coax as part of the DirecTV deal. Alcatel and Huawei are leading the development of G.mgfast. That uses 424 MHz, full duplex, to achieve ~2.5 gigabits in both directions. The reach on telco twisted pair is only about 30 meters. On coax, those speeds can probably extend far enough to service most apartment buildings. Using 848 MHz, speeds can reach 5 gigabits. The ITU standards group has been aiming for 2019-2020 for G.mgfast, too slow for AT&T's marketers. David Titus wants a high-speed standard for coax "early in 2018." He believes that is "doable."

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