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Gfast map July 2017

Dark blue: 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

Light blue: Smaller carriers in Germany, Norway, Finland, Japan

Green: Incumbent likely:  France, Germany, & Poland  

Longer reach, reverse power, downloaded upgrades for the customer equipment, DTA over coax, and a dozen other improvements. The updated standard was pretty much agreed last week at an ITU SG-15 meeting in Geneva. The major chip vendors, Broadcom and Sckipio, are already hard at work. The carriers are hoping for equipment in the second half of 2017.

I have hundreds of pages of proposals from some very good engineers so this is just the first pass. Amendments one and two were approved. Amendment three was consented but very few changes are likely before final approval. 

BT needs longer reach. Their finance guys insist they use existing cabinets rather than building to the distribution points closer to the customer. was designed for 50-200 meters but existing cabinets are often 350 meters away or more. The new standard increases the maximum transmit power up to +8 dBm, with a practical goal of 300 megabits 300 meters. See BT Musts: ~ 350 meters, 48/96 ports. I didn't (yet) see anything about more ports, perhaps because that was possible without any updates. Broadcom had promised 96 port systems in Q4 2016 using external vectoring engines but the schedule has slipped. 

AT&T has been vocal they want a true gigabit to compete with cable, not "up to a gigabit." Comcast offers gigabit downstream in parts of Atlanta, Nashville, and Chicago, with Detroit scheduled next.

They are ready to go wide and have promised to offer the gigabit to more than 40M homes by 2018. For now, upstream is limited to 35 megabits; Jorge Salinger just predicted they will be bonding for 400 megabit upstream late next year. They aren't waiting for full duplex, still several years away. 

Cable versus telco is not the same thing as a monopoly. Larry Babbio told me they built FiOS because "We have to get cable out of the home." They were responding to Cablevision winning away customers in Long Island. Comcast came back by moving to DOCSIS 3 years before expected. In early 2015, AT&T was telling Wall Street  45 megabit U-Verse would be competitive. A few months later, they realized DOCSIS 3.1 was coming fast and they responded with a move for 12M lines of fiber. 
Our prices are 50% to 100% higher than more competitive countries in Europe, good evidence our competition is very weak. In practice, U.S. cable and telco have agreed to both raise prices regularly. No one needed to meet in obscure airport motels to form a cartel which would be illegal. Instead, they publicly signal. The competition authorities are afraid to bring a case like that to trial.
While they don't compete on price, they do upgrade technology to win or at least customers. Deutsche Telecom has a monopoly on four million German homes; they plan to offer maximum speeds of 3-6 megabits into the next decade. Across about a quarter of the U.S., the telcos have decided to abandon landlines and sell more wireless. Most of those can get cable, which covers 92% of the U.S. and have a robust but expensive choice. 


The amendments extend the frequency range up to 212 MHz. That will almost double speeds on very short loops, such as the apartment buildings AT&T is planning to serve. In an early draft, the committee chose to continue with linear precoding; I'm not sure about the final version but it's probably the same. 

There are many pages of new specifications for reverse power, downloaded upgrades of customer equipment, and signaling. I'm sure I'll be finding more items as I make my way through the documents. I'm not sure whether the proposal for more bits per signal was included. Pointers welcome.

The next meeting will be 14-18 November in Hangzhou, hosted by Huawei.

The Site for gfast 230 News
A remarkable 400 people attended the very strong Broadband Forum BASE events in Berlin and Las Vegas. Trevor confirmed BT would pass the million this year. Cioffi projected “Waveguide DSL” could carry 10 gigabits a kilometer as well as a terabit 100 meters. Werner sees a 4X improvement in upstream with cDTA. Much more in next issue.

Deutsche Wants a Gigabit, Finally Realizes 50 Meg Isn't Enough
Deutsche Telekom is finally realizing that 50 megabit DSL won't make it against gigabit cable. VP Franz Seiser is blunt. "We must change radically, become disruptive and, above all, throw away things," he proclaims at BBWF. After years of DT insisting 50 megabits is plenty, we now hear "it is about Gigabit products" from DT's Robert Soukup.  
    A lucky building in Frankfurt will receive 500+ megabit service as ultra-conservative Deutsche Telekom experiments with Soukup told BBWF, "We're going to have a field test in Frankfurt with and Fiber To The Building (FTTB.) We will know by the end of the year if this is the right way to go." Hint to Soukup: Yes it is. is working well at a dozen telcos I;ve talked to.
     The details are surprising. DT is going for CORD, Open Source, Calix, and Radisys.

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1.6 Gig in Sckipio-Calix Test
A telco tells me they are getting impressive early results from the Calix 48 port DSLAM with the new Sckipio 212 MHz chips. There still is work to do but this is encouraging. 
    Carriers want DSLAMs with more than 16 ports to reduce the deployment costs from the basement or larger field cabinets. Speed matters to the marketing side of the company; AT&T's CEO believes he must offer a true gigabit to match cable. (They've been getting ~750 megabits with first generation chips.

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Reverse Power 4 Port DSLAM for Australia
Australia is connecting 1M homes to, some with a Netcomm distribution point mini-DSLAM. It's a small unit designed for pole or pit mounting. It's waterproof, pressure proof, and temperature resistant. Their matching home modem is bittorrent friendly, with two USB ports for a hard drive dedicated to sharing.
     A reverse power unit at the customer, the NDD-0100-01, can save the cost of bringing power to the DSLAM. They don't expect many orders until the second half of 2018, as nbn is waiting for the second generation chips. Netcomm demonstrated RP with BT Openreach in August.

*** Sckipio's Three advances are taking to the next level. (ad)

Australia Makes it Official: to Million Plus
No news here. In September, 2015, I reported Australia's nbn Going This June. I reported the million home fiber to the curb (kerb?) was beginning. Unfortunately, they are no closer to figuring out where to find the needed $10B to $20B to cover the cost overruns. Instead, the parties are battling in Parliament about who is to blame.

2 Bonded 212 Lines = 3 Gigabits
Sckipio at BBWF is demonstrating 3 gigabits down, nearly a gigabit up, over two phone lines, bonded. Twice the bandwidth (212 MHz instead of 106 MHz) times two lines is fast. Sckipio does great demos; at CES, they showed first generation chips delivering almost 1 gig upstream.
    “Sckipio is pushing Gfast to astonishing speeds with production silicon,” CEO David Baum proclaims. Calix is using the SCK23000 chipset in their 48 port gig+ DSLAM at the show.

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