G.fast predicted to reach 29m premises by 2021

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/eskaylim)

Approximately 29 million premises are expected to be connected to a fixed-line broadband connection enabled by G.fast technology by 2021, according to a report from Ovum. 

G.fast uses copper lines along with fibre to deliver speeds of up to 500Mbps with little extra deployment cost which is proving to be appealing with operators. Ovum's report – commissioned by Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) and BT – predicts Europe will be ahead of the curve in G.fast adoption with major European operators showing interest and conducting trials. 

Back in May, we reported BT had begun field trials of G.fast in several locations. Joe Garner, CEO Openreach, said at the time: “Today is the start of a new chapter in building Britain’s connected future. This is the largest trial of G.fast technology in the world and it builds on the pioneering research of BT’s world-class R&D teams." 

Initial deployments are expected to deliver speeds of around 300Mbps before a boost up to 500Mbps later on – both of which represent speeds far higher than most consumers are used to. 

The other commissioner of the report, NBN, has entered the second phase of their G.fast adoption strategy after conducting lab tests and their own small field trials. There is strong international competition to rollout G.fast with CenturyLink in the US, Chunghwa in Taiwan, and Bezeq in Israel all now conducting much larger field trials. 

With the European Commission setting a target of connecting 50 percent of all premises with speeds of 100Mbps or higher by 2020, Ovum believes this will drive a more "aggressive" deployment of G.fast technology in order to help operators meet targets. Such a rapid deployment will lead to Western Europe having more widespread G.fast availability than other regions. 

"Other regions are expected to [be] less aggressive in deploying G.fast, with only 3 percent of broadband services in other market[s] migrating to the platform. Across these regions, the share of fixed broadband subscribers will range between 1 percent and 4 percent." 

In the field trials conducted by BT to date, the operator has achieved speeds of 330Mbps on average. Meanwhile, in Taiwan, Chunghwa Telecom has deployed G.fast over single-port units with line lengths of under 200m to enable speeds of 500Mbps down. 

The next iteration of G.fast – known as XG-FAST – is being developed by Bell Labs and broke the previous broadband record in tests with 10Gbps speeds. 

Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs, said: “Our constant aim is to push the limits of what is possible to ‘invent the future’, with breakthroughs that are 10 times better than are possible today. Our demonstration of 10 Gbps over copper is a prime example: by pushing broadband technology to its limits, operators can determine how they could deliver gigabit services over their existing networks, ensuring the availability of ultra-broadband access as widely and as economically as possible.” 

Both G.fast and XG-FAST offer an exciting glimpse at the future of infrastructure and their use of copper lines enables a lower cost and faster deployment than previous technologies which should mean a shorter wait before end users witness their benefits. It's little surprise G.fast is creating such global interest. 

What are your thoughts on G.fast technology? Let us know in the comments. 

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