The announcement last month that Alcatel-Lucent and Telekom Austria subsidiary A1 had achieved downstream speeds of 1.3Gbps over copper using the emerging G.Fast technology has presented Asia-Pacific broadband operators – especially incumbents – with a very tricky choice.
G.Fast delivers very high speeds – with vendors expecting at least 500Mbps over 100 metre copper length and 200Mbps at 200 metres – by using very high frequencies and achieves optimum results when deployed with Vectoring which eliminates crosstalk caused by operating at those high frequencies.
With G.Fast scheduled for commercial deployment in around 2016 Asia Pacific operators wanting to deploy or expand their high-speed services are now faced with something of a dilemma.
That is, do they proceed with FTTH services – an option which will cost a lot of money and take a long time – or do they wait for G.Fast to arrive and allow them to launch ultra-fast services on existing last-mile copper networks?
The answer to that question will depend very much on a case by case basis but there is little doubt that G.Fast can play a significant role in Asia Pacific.
Firstly, even in the region’s leading FTTH markets such as South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong, there is still potential for G.Fast to play a role in helping operators achieve ubiquitous high-speed broadband coverage.
For example, in South Korea and Japan a substantial portion of fibre subscribers are still receiving Fiber-to-the-Building (FTTB) services with the last-mile services by VDSL – probably around 40% – rather than full FTTH services.