Paul Spruyt and Thierry Valette have G.fast production gear ready. Broadcom and Sckipio are shipping chips. The rest is mostly standard parts. So the leading vendors have equipment for anyone who orders it.
Everyone, including Paul and Thierry, pointed to substantial work still needed. Spruyt adds the industry is still, "building more field experience, fine tuning technology, tracking the Amendments to the G.fast standard and [taking] the usual time for operators to prepare their networks for volume deployment."
British Telecom, now on the way to 25,000 homes in their trials, hopes to move rapidly late this year or early next. Others may be a little later coming out of trials. Swisscom and Telecom Austria presented data that confirmed the BT data. Results for 80% and 90% are as predicted and outstanding. The 500-800 megabits at 100 meters is generally solid. 300 megabits at 300 meters is a little bit optimistic but not that far off. Perhaps 10% of lines are getting far lower speeds than hoped.
The data from Swisscom show we have a long way to go before almost all customers will get the expected speeds.
Disappointing 10% is not just poor customer relations. The support costs for the homes with problems can be brutal.
There are dozens of issues to solve, from powerline modem interference to slowdowns when it rains on aerial cables. Progress is rapid; a telco told me his latest chips from Sckipio are very much improved. Both Broadcom and Sckipio have dozens of engineers working away; the telcos are collaborating closely.
Rami Verbin of Sckipio pointed to a challenge: the telcos are constantly asking for more. Everything changed when BT decided not to go to distribution points (50-150 meters, fewer than 16 lines) and instead are reusing existing cabinets at 300 and 500 meters. There's an amendment to the standard coming to allow higher power for the longer reach. England is demanding the best possible performance at longer distances and the vendors are finding ways. AT&T wants a real gigabit to match cable, and that's also inspiring changes.
Paul also addressed 35b, which uses VDSL protocols rather than the G.fast improvements. Lead 35b customer Deutsche Telekom has put off volume deployment until 2018. Nokia Alcatel is ready to deliver 35b DSLAMs. Paul wasn't going to disagree with his primary 35b target but reported good progress.