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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

Paul Spruyt and Thierry Valette have 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 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 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. 

The Site for gfast 230 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.

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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