Hot discussions about technology in 2015

Ideas & discussions: Alex Scroxton

What is is a new digital subscriber line (DSL) standard for local loops of under 500m, which targets performance of between 150Mbps and 1Gbps depending on distance from the distribution point, whether that be a fibre cabinet or a remote node.

  At a very basic level, it works by expanding the frequency range used by broadband signals. Whereas the second generation very-high bit-rate DSL (VDSL2) technology, currently in widespread use (at the some test agencies in UK) fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) service, uses 17MHz and 30MHz, widens this down to 106MHz and up to 212MHz. With, communications services providers (CSPs) can offer more bandwidth on the line and, therefore, faster services. is our new opportunity?

  BT has jumped on the potential of, and in its recently-announced charter, Openreach committed to bringing speeds of 300-500Mbps to 10 million homes and businesses using, in a roll-out that will begin in 2016.

  “Hitting that speed is very important to telcos, and they also want to address a larger portion of their network, from 100m and further out,”

  “ is at the start of its lifecycle and, with further developments – such as increasing the number of bits per tone and lowering the noise floor – we could deliver 500Mbps. That’s not an engineer’s fantasy, this could be reality,”

  “Certainly the ability to deliver higher bandwidth is important, but it is not the only thing. brings new business models and markets without new investments,” he explained. “It provides a platform for over-the-top (OTT) services and new kinds of apps.”

Do we really need FTTP yet?

The advent of enables some telecom operators to continue to use theirs copper lines for as long as gigabit broadband is considered satisfactory, and allows it to kick the need for it to invest in FTTP everywhere into the long grass for several more years.
  Today on a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connection with gigabit speeds, go way beyond what (copper) can currently deliver.

  “In 2023, the median household will need 19Mbps. The top 1% will need between 35 and 39Mbps. People are willing to pay for much higher speeds and that’s fine, but our research shows that people need much less.”

  “We can build right on top of our fibre cabinet infrastructure – this makes a huge difference, because it gives us low-cost deployment options with hybrid and VDSL2,” …

FTTx vs fibre vs copper “fighting” again?

  “ will provide a fantastic service for the vast majority of customers, but it is only one of a number of options,” said Galvin. “We are developing premium on-demand fibre services to sit alongside VDSL2 and, and we will in future offer an upgrade path to direct fibre connectivity as well.”

  So as one element of a wider roll-out that includes FTTC, FTTP, microwave links, fibre-to- the-remote node (FTTrn), and even satellite, makes a good deal of sense. It can begin to take the global access network towards the ultrafast speeds consumers and businesses demand and deserve.

  It does not end the debate over fibre and copper – because this is a debate that fibre will win – but when the goal is to go faster, has much to offer, and should not be written off just because it uses copper lines.

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