G.fast comes of age with 10M lines for Britain

Usain bolt by drcliffordchoi 320

It works, finally. As always, the telcos were cautious and the vendors promised too much. The dam has broken now, with BT going at 3M homes passed each year. http://bit.ly/BThalffast CEO Patterson will keep going until “almost all” Brits can get what he’s calling ultrafast broadband.

AT&T looks to be the next big order, millions of lines with fiber to the basement and G.fast to each apartment. http://bit.ly/GfastATT. Chunghwa in Taiwan is covering almost the entire country. In Australia, Parliament is debating how much of the National Broadband network should switch to G.fast. Rio de Janeiro, Panama, Belgium, and Switzerland are on the way.  

Much more at Gfastnews.com

"Yes you can unbundle G.fast and vectored DSL!" - John Cioffi

Software unbundling could add 100 megabits to typical speeds in England. BT has just committed to 10M lines of G.fast in the next four years and "most of the country" soon after that. They are talking speeds of "up to 330 megabits" rather than the 500-800 now proven for G.fast from the local distribution point. Instead, they will put the DSLAMs in existing cabinets and save. 

Cioffi, who invented vectored DSL, believes using software unbundling would allow 100 megabits faster speed. Alternatively, you can extend the reach at a given speed. Traditional unbundling shares the physical lines in the bundle. Today's technology - vectoring and G.fast - provides much higher speeds but is very sensitive to other signals in the same bundle. The incumbents are saying hardware unbundling is now undesirable. They prefer to control everything and sell bitstream access.

ASSIA's multitenant software allows multiple companies to manage the parameters for each customer and troubleshoot many problems, The carrier would manage the physical network including the vectoring noise cancellation. Each company would have a management console and could support their own customers directly.  

BT's current plan is to run G.fast in frequencies from 22 MHz to 106 MHz. That leaves 0-17 MHz for other companies running older VDSL on unbundled loops. If the companies could agree that all would use the BT G.fast local loop, British homes would get 100 megabits more speed. BT would be able to use frequencies 2 MHz to 106 MHz rather than 22 to 106 MHz

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Possible Correction: AT&T Says "All-Fiber," Not Fiber to the Basement and G.fast

If so, my article that AT&T will use 400-700 megabit G.fast to five million is a mistake. AT&T's press release I just read (below) promises "Within 4 years, AT&T will offer its all-fiber Internet access service to at least 12.5 million customer locations, such as residences, home offices and very small businesses." It may well be that the pr people at AT&T don't understand the technology being used and much of the build will in fact be Fiber to the Basement and copper, probably G.fast, to the apartment. But if I may have an error, it's my job to issue a correction.

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U.S. Q3: AT&T Continues Dumping (some) DSL Customers

Drops 129,000 customers while cable continues slow growth. It's the same story it's been for several years. Growth is slow, running about 3%/year while household formation is about 1%. 5-10% use wireless data only. The wireless only fraction is increasing, especially among young latinos and blacks. The trend isn't strong enough to reduce wired subscribers, to my surprise.

AT&T and Verizon are abandoning landlines to ~30,000,000 homes in favor of wireless. Most of these homes haven't been seriously upgraded in 10 years.  AT&T lost 129,000 subs while comparably sized Time Warner Cable added 246,000. Verizon had a net gain of 2,000, with a rise in FiOS and a drop outside FiOS territory.

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DSL "Reference Noise Cancellation" from Broadcom

Confirms the importance of going beyond vectoring to eliminate other noise. Because I'm on the Advisory Board of ASSIA, I choose not to do any assessment of this competing product. The pr is below. Because there are almost no details of the product in the press release, I've also included a recent Broadcom patent filing for "reference noise technology" to suggest possibilities. 

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Huawei's "Ultra-Broadband Forum" in London worth a trip

Dozen top speakers Sept 24 & 25. If you're on the Huawei favored customer list, they'll probably fly you to London and might still have some rooms in the Savoy, the $700/night conference hotel. If so, the butler will show you to your suite. 

   The rest of us will have to settle for the webcast, http://ubm.io/WWt6T1 It will only be a fraction of the size of next month's BBWF, but the people speaking are choice. I may try to find a way to go next year.

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DSL Tsunami over Europe: 40M Promised Vectored Lines


Europe going DSL, not fiber, except Spain, Scandinavia and perhaps France. When Deutsche Telekom in September 2012 decided to abandon fiber and go with vectored DSL, it inspired the DSL tsunami. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands are now delivering 50-100 megabit speeds to tens of thousands of paying customers. Alcatel, Huawei, Keymile and Adtran have shipped at least 5,000,000 ports capable of vectoring, although the telcos aren't offering the service to most of those homes. 

   Almost no one believed John & George back in 2003 when they predicted 100 megabit DSL to 500 meters and more. By 2010, vendors including Alcatel, Huawei and ECI had lab test; by 2011, Austria and Belgium telcos had some results from the field. By September 2012, the trend was clear, as you can see from the excerpt below of my DSL Tsunami article. 

     Deutsche Telekom promised their regulator they'd be vectoring by the end of 2013. They are almost a year late and still moving slowly, with only 200K homes eligible. They target 3.5M by the ebd of 2014 and 20M more in 2015 & 2016. Anyone want to bet on this?

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To Tap a DSL line, use Tracespan

Tracespan interceptWikileaks isn't all secret. Tracespan makes some of the best DSL test gear, so I shouldn't have been surprised to see them on a list of tappers at Wikileaks. Wikileaks' SpyFiles is making news with details of high-powered hacking tools shipped from the West to governments which abuse dissenters such as Egypt, Qatar & UAE. They identified $65M in FinFisher "weaponed malware;" there's plenty of money being made here. Alcatel, Siemens and the other western communications vendors were heavily represented, some leaked.

   I also found in the Wikileaks files the Israeli company Tracespan. The Wikileaks data on Tracespan was interesting but not secret. I found some of the files at http://www.tracespan.com/ipVDSLPhantom.aspx under "lawful intercept." I'm sure Tracespan cooperates with Israeli intelligence, which like the U.S. CIA or French sécurité extérieure is a "by any means necessary" outfit. (Think Iran-contra.) 

   The U.S./Australia Huawei ban may inspired more by the difficulty for U.S. spies than the danger from Chinese ones.