Alcatel-Lucent has achieved 10G speeds over traditional copper telephone lines while proving that copper can meet growing demand for 1G symmetrical services.
This breakthrough will provide operators with the flexibility to choose between FTTH installations and almost-FTTH, depending on local factors. Local factors are making or breaking the FTTH business case around the world.
The major factor inhibiting FTTH deployments is cost. While it takes time and money to install fiber under a street or even overhead for a neighborhood, it takes more time, money, marketing, and customer support resources to pull fiber into every home.
Fiber can be terminated at the curb, in the basement, or in the garage, with services then running over existing copper plant. This concept is not new and there are numerous FTTC (curb) and FTTD (door) deployments under way. Why FTTD? Some homeowners do not want fiber pulled into the living room simply for aesthetic reasons.
But can copper compete with FTTH in terms of bandwidth? G.fast is likely to deliver speeds up to 500Mbps over a distance of 100 meters and possibly 1G in special cases. FTTH bandwidth per subscriber depends on a variety of technical and marketing factors. The 1G symmetrical marketing push by Google Fiber, AT&T, and others is encouraging some equipment vendors to focus beyond G.fast.
Alcatel-Lucent’s recent announcement of 10G over traditional copper telephone lines is a leading example of pushing copper’s limits. This push is not based on copper-versus-fiber beliefs. We believe the push is to provide telcos with more choices and more flexibility in designing next-gen wireline broadband networks that meet both future bandwidth requirements and network monetization.
We expect to hear more about Alcatel-Lucent’s efforts to extend G.fast to XG-Fast once G.fast is ratified later this year.
Julie Kunstler is a principal analyst for intelligent networks at Ovum. For more information, visit www.ovum.com/