The 44 building trial went well and Miller expects G.fast to deploy widely. Century, the $17B telco that swallowed Qwest, has 6M broadband lines. many of which need to be upgraded. He has to replace the older lines despite modestly reduced capex. G.fast is cost effective and hence a natural choice. He didn't give a projection but sounded like he planned to move quickly.
Sean Buckley of Fierce captured Miller's comments at the Calix Analyst meeting. “When I first came to CenturyLink as the VP of architecture and strategy, my main call was more tied to service velocity,” Miller said. “Our competition of the future is not a telecom company, but rather the Amazon, Facebooks and Hulus of the world, so we had this one time to transform to a software platform and the first to key projects are G.fast and NG-PON2.”
Miller intends to move aggressively to Software Defined Networks. He is particularly concerned with deploying rapidly. Comcast is moving fast on gigabit downstream DOCSIS 3.1 and advertising aggressively in the early markets. Cox, however, is delaying the gig until 2020.
The G.fast upstream can be an important competitive advantage over most cable for years. Many cablecos have decided to wait for Full Duplex upstream, which John Chapman tells me will be barely out of the labs in 2019. Full Duplex requires remote PHYs, which are a major capital investment and deployment effort. Some cablecos will take a long time to improve all the network.
I would much rather have 50 down, 50 up than the 200/20 that is the best I can get from Time Warner. Jennie does video and the 50/50 Fios at her apartment is a pleasure. I'd switch immediately but Verizon hasn't done my building. Current G.fast from fiber to the basement or wireless to the rooftop is 500-800 megabits, allowing 100-200 meg upstream. I want it. The 212 MHz of Amendment 3 will almost double that, probably next year.
35b vectoring is also in the Century plans. Miller says it's a natural choice where most of the lines are 400-700 meters, beyond the efficient range of G.fast. Deutsche Telekom has just delayed 35b to customers until late 2018, but has deployed millions of easily upgradeable lines. Lab tests show 200+ downstream on short loops.
Century is buying Level 3 as a way to diversify from the declining landline business, at a price that will continue to limit the upgrade cycle.