In 2016, G.fast looked very promising.
But only BT & Australia's nbn remain
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: 19 January 2017 19 January 2017
Slow in the first half, probably ramping in the second half. AT&T is being officially coy, but a senior source confirmed they are definitely moving ahead on G.fast. Tom Starr played an important role in the standard and they were one of the first in trials. Their top executives have been enthusiastic several times. They have been making quiet moves in D.C. to get out of their commitment to 12.5 million fiber homes, presumably using G.fast instead.
G.fast is logical for them. They've built an enormous amount of fiber the last few years, going first to businesses. In many places, fiber can be extended inexpensively to nearby buildings. They are also expanding their trial of WTTR - Wireless to the rooftop - beyond Minneapolis. Wall Street is riding them for the lines lost to cable, now going to a gigabit in most of the U.S.
They have millions of lines of coax connected to rooftop antennas from the DirecTV buy.
I reported G.fast over coax as Double speed, 2000 feet range over coax from Sckipio last year. That was engineered specifically for AT&T. I believe both Adtran and Calix are ready.
They have to save money someplace. AT&T isn't broke, but their "balance sheet is stretched to the breaking point." (Moffett.) To maintain an inflated $250B market cap, they have raised dividends every year while earnings have been flat. Their financials are obscured, but I think they are borrowing money to cover the dividend. T-Mobile now has a network about as good as AT&T, so they have to keep investing in wireless. They are making a heroic effort to bring in SDN & NFV to cut costs, but the 70,000-80,000 jobs cut remain ambitious.
So why haven't they begun? BT is has passed 80,000-90,000 homes with G.fast, admittedly on the cheap reusing existing cabinets. AT&T only has small trials. AT&T is no longer the slow moving iceberg; the top of the company is willing to change to get things done.
It could be the limited number of lines in a vector group, 16-24. That makes the deployment more expensive. The new boxes are late. DOCSIS 3.1 is delivering a true gig down to more and more of the country; AT&T wants to honestly say they have a gig while G.fast speeds are more like 500-600 down. (Plenty for me.) The new Amendment 2 & 3 chips may solve that - when they arrive. Chip interoperability still has a way to go. AT&T had a $billion dispute with Alcatel over U-Verse when it was a single source supplier. They want choices in chips. They want everything in their network managed by CORD and eCOMP; the integration work continues.
They may just be waiting to make a big noise in D.C. to get the Time Warner merger approved.