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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

Balin-NairBudget guys refuse to service the 4 million distribution points across the UK. BT's CIO, Peter Bell, publicly confirmed what the industry has speculated since last spring: BT is not planning fiber to the distribution point. G.fast was designed for distribution points, up to 16 homes very close to the DP. That was BT's plan until the budget people got involved. Now, because of budget limits, BT intends to reduce the number of locations serving G.fast by 94-97%.

Bell's comments imply that France Telecom and Telefonica are facing severe financial distress. Fiber all the way home costs more than FTTdp. Telefonica has reached 15M homes with direct fiber. France Telecom has reached 5M fiber homes passed already, including most of Paris. They plan >2M more homes each year until 2022. Neither analysts nor investors predict a financial calamity. ORAN and TEF have a market cap of $94B.

BT hopes most customers will get 300 megabits rather than the 500-800 G.fast was designed for. Some customers will be very disappointed when they discover "superfast broadband" is slow to their home.

At Light Reading's Gigabit Europe event, "Bell says the economics of that approach are untenable, with BT currently maintaining around 4 million distribution points across the UK. Instead the operator is looking to provide G.fast from many of its 90,000 street cabinets up and down the country."

Millions of homes are too far from the street cabinets to get decent data rates by today's standards. BT, like most telcos, would rather have 10% of customers angry rather than spend the money to give everyone decent service. Half of the homes in the country has no cable, so they have no choice but to pay BT what they ask.

 

BT could be in trouble in the half of the country they face Virgin Cable. Balin Nair is putting gigabit gear in place. They also are doing 1M fiber homes and several million more DOCSIS. BT is essentially betting people will not switch for faster speeds. That sounds risky to most tech enthusiasts but AT&T proved with U-Verse that speed wasn't everything.

Iain Morris of Light Reading and Ray Le Maistre has been doing consistently accurate reporting on G.fast. Morris was on target putting a question mark on his 2014 article, G.fast: The Dawn of Gigabit Copper?  In 2016, production G.fast systems fall short of the gigabit.  

If BT released to me or OFCOM the data behind Bell's comment, I'd bet we could show that the Openreach price increases more than cover the cost of 500 megabit+ service. 

The picture is Liberty Global CTO Balan Nair, who is expanding Virgin's coverage rapidly. He know the telco side of the business as well; when I first met him he was CTO of Qwset.

The Site for gfast 230
 

G.fast News

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. http://bit.ly/BBFBASE

Deutsche Telecom: 35b Supervectoring Delayed to 2019 http://bit.ly/35blater
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 G.fast. DT itself is planning extensive G.fast deployments in 2019, mostly in apartment buildings. http://bit.ly/35blater

Gigabit 100 Meters - Unless the Wires are Lousy http://bit.ly/gflousy
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 G.fast 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 G.fast & 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. http://bit.ly/gflousy

AT&T Wants Coax 2-5 Gigabit G.fast. Very Soon. http://bit.ly/ATTCoax
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."http://bit.ly/ATTCoax

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