g.fast, dsl, ftth, vectoring

G.fast takes Copper into the 2030s and Kicks FTTH into the Long Grass – Again

g.fast, dsl, ftth, vectoringWorking on the Broadband World Forum I am always hot on the pulse of the latest industry ‘buzzwords’ and ‘next big things’ – from SDN, to NFV, through Big Data and the whole gamut of acronyms and terms that get the industry jumping up and down with excitement and rolling their eyes in disregard with equal measure.

In managing the BBWF’s fixed content, every day I come across one buzzword that has been around for much longer than it should – seemingly being unable to make the jump from a word that conjures images of what this technology might achieve if it were implemented, to a term which is a label for a successfully implemented mass-market technology.

This ‘buzzword’ is FTTH.

You may think I am being ridiculous in labelling FTTH as a buzzword – of course it has been around for years and this year we have many of the world’s leading FTTH operators speaking at the BBWF from Google Fibre, to JT (Jersey) and KT (Korea).

But with regards to the overwhelming majority of the huge number of national incumbents who attend the BBWF yearly, FTTH is still a buzzword – a technology that will revolutionise services that can be offered to customers – but a technology still of the future. For most, it remains  a pipe-dream.

In the immediate future the concern for fixed-line service providers is to sweat their existing fixed line assets. For example, this year I have seen vectoring go ‘mass-market,’ with Deutsche Telekom receiving conditional regulatory approval to implement vectoring and G.fast emerge as a technology under serious consideration by service providers, with Swisscom and Orange being the most notable names exploring the technology.

With G.fast being forecast as having a 2016 rollout, could the tech ensure that FTTH remains a buzzword well into the 2030s?

The FTTH community will of course be pushing hard to help service providers make the jump to full FTTH at the expense of G.fast, but macro-economic issues in the next decade could play into FTTH’s favour, with the emergence of a stronger global economy nearer to 2020 seeing more money in the pot for service providers. This could see service providers commit to full FTTH earlier and completely bypass G.fast.

My question to the community is – what do you think? When will market conditions be right for the majority of national incumbents to deploy full FTTH and will vectoring be the final straw for copper or will G.fast take copper into the 2030s?

Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to check out the exciting G.fast workshop at this year’s BBWF, hosted by Alcatel-Lucent.

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