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

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 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 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.

Telcos in France, England, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada and across the U.S. are scrambling to upgrade to counter the gigabit coming from cable. 

Separately, The “concession” of offering LTE “broadband lite” to 13M ? homes is more stage magic. AT&T has already built the LTE network for 97-98% of the U.S. and is already serving these areas. These are mostly rural or semi-rural homes where AT&T has unused capacity on the LTE network and isn't even using most of their spectrum. Some people think these are homes unserved by broadband. That's highly unlikely since there are only about 5M “unserved” homes in the U.S. Most of those 5M unserved are in the same extremely small pockets where LTE also isn't offered. 

From Alcatel, a rate reach diagram for 

Alcatel speed data