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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

Sharon-White-200?10-15% performance increase for British Telecom. Last year, I reported that G.fast could run 100 megabits faster if the frequencies below 21 MHz didn't need to be protected. British Telecom has been experimenting with reducing the carve out to increase the speed of their new offering. ASSIA now is proposing to go further, with coordinated Dynamic Spectrum Management to minimize the spectrum used by the VDSL. G.fast could then take advantage of the unused spectrum and increase the speed to the consumer. One box would coordinate all the lines, allowing faster speeds to both the VDSL & G.fast customers.
 
We don't have test data yet so the improvement can only be estimated. One estimate is 100 megabits more or 100 meters longer reach, but for now I'm being cautious and saying 50+.
The amount will vary depending on the actual lines in each binder but should be significant. ASSIA, Alcatel, and Huawei offer DSM systems that presumably could be rapidly configured for the new functionality. 
 
The kicker, as usual with vectored DSL, is that competitors must work together. Diplomacy is difficult, even though this is an obvious win-win for everyone. DSM constantly monitors the actual lines. Often, the required speeds can be achieved with lower power/different PSD mask. That in turn reduces the interference and allows other lines to run faster. 
 
DSM has been part of the standard for a decade and works well. The original DSL standard was deliberately conservative because in the 1990's, there was no reliable way to do real time measurements.  When DSM reached the field a decade later, both speed and reliability significantly improved. This was particularly important for telcos selling TV over broadband; dropouts and buffering went down considerably.
 
Current G.fast systems start at 21 MHz, to provide a margin of safety for VDSL that can run up to 17 MHz. Eliminating the VDSL - with fair concessions from the incumbent to the other operators - is the right move for better service to consumers. Once vectoring was developed, DSL became a natural monopoly. That's frightening to regulators, who prefer to rely on competition. 
 
Competition worked very well a decade ago, when 6-10 competitors drove French and British prices to half the level of the U.S. As the market eliminated all but three or four companies, the benefits of competition started to erode. In Britain the last five years, prices have gone up 25-40%. 
 
Some of the increase was due to Ed Richards at OFCOM being a nice guy but not having the courage to do what needed to be done. BT has a monopoly on lines in half the country and a friendly cable company which likes to raise prices. Richards never should have allowed BT to raise line rentals while costs went down. Sharon White looks stronger, but hasn't evolved a policy effective with weaker competition. 
 
(Structural separation of BT is not the answer. Most of the benefits will go to the other telcos, not the consumer. What Britain needs is a requirement that the carriers deliver a robust Internet at a fair price. Separation is not likely to deliver that.)
 
A thoughtful regulator would eliminate the unbundled lines as G.fast rolls out. Technology has made that obsolete. Consumers are paying the price as they are running 100 megabits slower than they should. Competition wouldn't disappear but move to a different level. ISPs could continue to compete on services, offerings, the backbone, and especially how well they treated the customer. Eliminating wire unbundling is good for consumers iff the regulator sets an appropriate price for the bitstream unbundling. Jochen Homann in Germany tried to do that but couldn't resist the political power of DT. Prices in Germany are going up by $2-$5/month.
 
Unbundling in England is going to die in a few years no matter what the regulator does. Cable will run at over 400 megabits and BT's G.fast is aiming for 300 meg. The others will be offering less than 50 meg to most. They won't be competitive. Almost certainly they will lose customers until they become uneconomic and get out of the business.
 
Holding back the sea is not easy.   
Important conflict of interest note: I'm on the Advisory Board of ASSIA and have done significant (five figure) work for them over the years.

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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