G.Fast -- a primer

Stephen Wilson/Informa Telecom & Media
08 Aug 2012

As interest in G.Fast grows here is a primer on this emerging copper based fixed broadband access technology.

For those just starting out with the topic I recommend that you first read this earlier post. If we examine G.Fast closely we see that it can be deployed in three basic ways, each of which have very different costs and deployment models and so have different levels of feasibility.

Each of the models does, however, maintain the similarity of using the existing copper network only for a very short distance.

Scenario 1: Fiber to the front yard

In this scenario fiber is bought very close to a single dwelling unit, so to the front yard for example, but still terminates before the outside wall of the property. The problem here is that not only will each subscriber need a G.Fast modem but they will also require a device that starts the G.Fast signal in the front yard where the fiber terminates and the copper begins.

With FTTH an OLT can serve thousands of customers but with G.Fast in a fiber to the front yard scenario the equivalent device would only serve one customer, potentially meaning costs are higher than for FTTH.

So why bother with this scenario? There might be the danger of lawsuits with installing fiber right the way into the home if engineers cause damage to the property. Some operators also have different classes of engineers, with the indoor engineers that go into people’s homes and have a customer facing role being more highly paid than outdoor engineers.

With G.Fast in a fiber to the front yard scenario only outdoor engineers would be required so this could tip the cost balance in favour of G.Fast over FTTH. Nonetheless the business case for fiber to the front yard looks difficult, although not impossible, depending on the special market circumstances.

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