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
Mid Blue: Smaller carriers in Germany, Norway, Finland, Japan
- Published: 14 July 2015 14 July 2015
Not a gigabit but pretty darn good. AT&T, assured the DirecTV merger is going through, is about to go public with the long-planned upgrade of ~5M U-Verse homes to hundreds of megabits. They will take four years and reach about 15% of their homes. Gigabit gear won't be available for several years.
Randall Stephenson in 2004 told Wall Street AT&T was using fiber, not copper, for all “new builds,” although I believe it took a few more years. “New builds” are 1-2% of the network each year. That suggests four million to eight million homes are ready with FTTB.
With most of the construction already done, the upgrade will easily fit in AT&T reduced capital budget. I estimate G.fast will cost $75-250 per home passed. The cost over four years is is only a few % of annual capex and will be recovered in months from customer charges. It would be stupid not to upgrade and AT&T's top management isn't stupid.
The 400-700 megabit down speed of today's G.fast is confirmed by the early field trials. I previously reported that Swisscom, "Gets between 285 and 402 Mbps downstream and between 85 and 109 Mbps upstream. Results depend on copper cable length: on short copper cables (ca 24 meters) we were even able to reach 624 Mbps Downstream / 151 Mbps Upstream in field but without connected customers." Telekom Austria measured 536 megabits down and 116 up.
The chart below, from Alcatel, shows combined upstream and downstream speeds in early testing. Combined, the speeds up to 150 meters are 500-800 megabits. Subtracting 100 megabits for the upstream yields 400-700 megabits downstream, what I had estimated from a different data set.
- Published: 13 July 2015 13 July 2015
G.fast uses 106 MHz compared to only 1 MHz for ADSL. More MHz means more capacity but only works over very short loops. The actual ITU standard is 300 pages with dozens (?hundreds) of features which have relatively little impact on the speed. Traditional VDSL used 17 MHz for speeds around 100 megabits. G.fast can use 106 MHz for speeds typically 400-700 down, 100 megabits up. (The "gigabit" is pr fluff today although upgrades to actually get a gigabit are in the works.)
The distance limit: High frequencies used by G.fast don't go very far in ordinary telco twisted pair cables. It was designed for 50-150 meters and speeds drop rapidly after that. British Telecom and AT&T engineers told the ITU standards group that short reach was fine and G.fast nodes would be 8-16 homes. That set the standard.
G,halffast When British Telecom realized the cost of running fiber to 4M "distribution points/curbs" they sent the entire plan back to the drawing board. The maximum wire length was increased from 250 meters to 500 meters. Chip makers are scrambling to modify their chips to the new demand. Many English homes will get speeds of 100-400 down, not close to the promised gigabit but pretty darn good.
- Published: 08 July 2015 08 July 2015
AT&T leading the efforts for an updated standard. Field tests of current G.fast gear have seen speeds of 400-700 megabits downstream, not the gigabit promised in early pr. 400-700 is plenty for almost everyone but the marketing department is worried. Cable is going to one and two gig (shared.) Google is just one of hundreds around the world offering a symmetric gig. The engineers have marching orders: get our G.fast speeds to a true gigabit ASAP!
Fortunately, the engineers are confident they can reach a gigabit.The ITU group already is working on a second appendix to the G.fast standard, aiming for 2016. A chip CTO tells me it will be easy to do more efficient coding (non-linear precoding) and transmit more bits for a given frequency (constellation.) Those two changes he believes enough to do the trick.
Trevor Linney of BT is running the most advanced tests of G.fast, connecting 4,000 homes. He reports "Our research shows that even more capacity can come from copper."
- Published: 01 July 2015 01 July 2015
Hoping to upgrade six million homes of NTT and KT of fiber to the basement. Details are scarce, but NTT, KT and their supplier Sumitomo are testing chips that offer the gigabit performance of G.fast (release below). They haven't said whether these are G.fast, vectored VDSL using G.fast high frequencies or a proprietary hybrid. They have engineers far along on all three possibilities. Their engineering is strong, headed by CTO Debu Pal, who studied under legendary Stanford Professor Tom Kailath. (pictured, with wife economist Anuradha Luther Maitra)
Japan and Korea's fiber deployments have been putting the West to shame for a decade. Since around 2005, NTT has been delivering 100 megabits from fiber to the basement. At the same time, Randall Stephenson of AT&T looked at me as if I were joking when I asked whether AT&T would do 100 megabits to Chicago highrises. "Why would anyone want more than 24 megabits," he asked me.
To Randall's credit, when he learned he was wrong he backed his technical people looking for the highest speeds practical within the budget. It hasn't been publicized, but the U-Verse team has done a remarkable job getting three HD channels in a network no one thought could handle the load. There are unsung heroes at AT&T.
- Published: 18 May 2015 18 May 2015
Of the 15 most important people bringing G.fast to production, all but 3 or 4 will be represented at the G.fast Summit, May 19-21 in Paris. Most of the people who pointed the way to hundreds of megabits on DSL will be there. From the committee that created the standard, Tom Starr of AT&T and Kevin Foster of BT open on Tuesday. Les Brown and Frank van den Putten follow.
The carriers furthest along follow: Trevor Linney of BT, Gerald Clerkx of Telekom Austria, Marcel Reitmann of Swisscom, Hubert Mariotte of FT/Orange and Hyung Jin Park of KT. Top chip engineers Debu Pal and Rami Verbin are on board.
As a member of the advisory board, I know how carefully Remi thought about who would be valuable and what the most important topics will be. Lots of questions back and forth, which I welcomed because it meant a very strong event for me. In three days last year at last year's G.fast Summit, I learned almost everything about to happen afterwards. I also learned that some claims were hot air.
A huge difference between the Upperside Events and too many others are that it is not "pay to play." Yes he does want sponsorships, but many of the speakers are from corporations that don't buy sponsorships. So he doesn't have to offer spaces to anyone who isn't respected by the experts.
- Published: 16 May 2015 16 May 2015
A strong event for years. I've been wanting to go to this event before and I'm glad it's working out this year. Speakers include: Lieven Mertens of Belgacom, the first to deploy vectoring; John McDonald of BT, whose CEO is talking 15M lines of G.fast; Marko Loeffelholz of DT, promising 12-24M fast lines; and John Cioffi, inventor of vectoring and much more. Here's the speaker list.
Den Haag has changed a lot since the picture was painted in 1650 but retains a great deal of history. I don't know if the cafes are as interesting as those in Amsterdam but that city is just a short train ride away. The van Gogh Museum is remarkable. You'll think differently about him when you see the earlier paintings. The Rembrandts in the Rijksmuseum are also unforgettable.
Say hello to the round fellow with a beard and the irrepressible Jennie Bourne.