Gfast map

gfast map copy


In 2016, looked very promising.
Thousands worked at developing and deploying.
It wasn't enough. 
Most carriers are investing
in fiber or 5G instead.


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

Light Blue: Incumbent likely:  France, Germany, Italy

Usain bolt by drcliffordchoi-320It works, finally. As always, the telcos were cautious and the vendors promised too much. The dam has broken now, with BT going at 3M homes passed each year. CEO Patterson will keep going until “almost all” Brits can get what he’s calling ultrafast broadband.

AT&T looks to be the next big order, millions of lines with fiber to the basement and to each apartment. Chunghwa in Taiwan is covering almost the entire country. In Australia, Parliament is debating how much of the National Broadband network should switch to Rio de Janeiro, Panama, Belgium, and Switzerland are on the way.  

Results today are 500-800 megabits from basements or nearby “distribution points.” Sckipio brought 750 megabits upstream to CES. Kevin Foster of BT outlines how the system can and must be improved, especially for better performance at 200-400 meters. Huawei opened the kimono and told me a 96 port vectored rig is scheduled for Q4, one of Foster’s “musts.”

Full duplex, sending and receiving at the same time and same frequency, is working as part of  Alcatel’s XG-FAST, it can almost double performance. The CEOs of both Deutsche Telekom and BT are enthusiastic after seeing demonstrations well into the gigabits over short loops. (Neither company has suggested a deployment this decade, nor has Alcatel/Nokia suggested when it will be product.)

John Cioffi in Paris next week will explain how BT and others can get 100 megabits more, by finding equitable ways to share all the spectrum and run from 2 MHz to 106 MHz. Unbundling would shift to multi-tenant software. Everyone except the cable guys benefit, especially the British public. Sharon White of OFCOM is impressive so far; I hope the wisdom of a Solomon is not required to make this so.

Surprising applications are being found. Calix uses coax, where in place, to extend the reach by more than 400%. BT and Cavium are testing “fronthaul” from wireless cells to small cells and distributed antennas. They’ve modified the CPRI software and believe capacity for wireless fronthaul increases 4X. Telebyte is ready with test equipment to help develop interoperability.

BT disappointed everyone by retreating from their initial plan for the close-in distribution points. Instead, they will go to the cabinets already in place. That saves money but reduces the speed; I call it G.halffast. BT’s Peter Bell says the economics of going to the distribution points is “untenable.”  If that’s true, FT/Orange and Telefonica Spain are in deep trouble. They have already built out ~20M lines of fiber all the way home, which is even more expensive than Both are actually doing better, so I think Bell is making some inappropriate assumptions.

Deutsche Telekom is the big holdout, choosing instead vector VDSL at “up to 100 megabits.” Actually, they are now saying 50-100 megabits and they refuse to guarantee even the lower speed. They have fallen a year or more behind schedule. CEO Timotheus Höttges talks up 35b “supervectoring” in theory capable of 250 megabits. DT doesn’t expect 35b before 2018, also two years behind. Until proven otherwise, I expect very few will get 250 meg from 35b,


Top people from nearly every one of these companies will be at the Paris Summit 18-20 May. Do Find a way to come and you’ll go home an expert yourself.

The stories:

10 M British homes offered in 4 years

AT&T's Bill Smith: "We haven't quite made the call yet on"

750 Megabits Upstream

BT Musts: ~ 350 meters, 48/96 ports

Past a Gigabit: Full Duplex DSL for (?Double) Speed

96 Port Q4 from Huawei

BT Testing for Cellular Fronthaul Over Coax Cable? Calix Says Yes

Test Gear Ready to Speed Design, Deployment

British Telecom: "Economics of distribution points are untenable."

Super-vectoring, DT Network falling two years behind