Report predicts 100 million gigabit broadband subscribers by 2020 – fuelled by G.fast technology

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/lechatnoir)

A report published by leading broadband analyst firm Point Topic suggests the number of gigabit subscribers could reach 100 million by 2020, with most of the growth coming from the APAC region. 

G.fast technology is expected to drive this rapid growth – which although can only currently deliver gigabit speeds over a short distance – it can already secure speeds to meet the vast majority of operator demand and the technology is continually developing.

The growing trend of gigabit services points to the fact that more and more people want to use next-generation services 

Point Topic's CEO, Oliver Johnson, said during this year's Broadband Forum that G.fast is a vital technology for operators with copper in their networks. “G.fast clearly works best economically in a mature market with copper in the local loop, so I expect most of today’s leading markets will have some G.fast in the next five years and some will see coverage approaching 50% of the market.” 

We've covered G.fast developments extensively, and it's already seeing trials with industry giants such as BT in the UK. The chairman of the Broadband Forum, Kevin Forster, also warned last month that all the incredible things shown at CES will only be enabled if operators begin to make notable movements in deploying G.fast technology. 

There are currently less than ten million subscriptions on a gigabit connection, but Point Topic predicts that is set to change with more gigabit tariffs on the market than ever before and the cost of services dropping. 

Johnson says: “The only doubt there could be [about deploying G.fast] is how long it can effectively compete, particularly when it comes to continued OPEX v CAPEX required for end-to-end fiber, and a lot of that depends on the next step of actually delivering it in the real mass market world." 

"If it’s quick, clean, meets global standards and certifications such as those proposed by the Broadband Forum, and continues to offer significant NFV/SDN and vectoring improvements then it will be strong tomorrow as well as today,” he continued.

Most of today’s leading markets will have some G.fast in the next five years, and some will see coverage approaching 50% of the market.

The CEO of the Broadband Forum, Robin Mersh, urged broadband operators to consider G.fast as an option for their copper access networks – and of course to use Broadband Forum standards and certifications. Newly developed YANG management models for FTTdp equipment and the interoperability testing program for G.fast devices are just a couple of the aforementioned standards which Mersh would suggest. 

Backing his Broadband Forum colleague's aforementioned warning to upgrade current infrastructure in order to cope with future demand, Mersh says: "The growing trend of gigabit services points to the fact that more and more people want to use next-generation services, like 4K video, location-based services, security, home automation, video sharing, gaming and home office collaboration,” 

“G.fast is how operators with copper in their networks can still enable all these things [and] the Broadband Forum programs and specifications are how those operators can exploit the promise of G.fast quickly," he concludes. 

Do you think it's time for operators to deploy G.fast? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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