Broadband World Forum (BBWF) 2013 in Amsterdam would have been just about pure hell for devoted fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) evangelists, given that DSL-acceleration technologies such as VDSL2 vectoring and G.Fast dominated both conference and exhibition-floor discussions.
Just a few years after many proclaimed the impending death of copper networks, those very same networks are squeezing out previously unimaginable speeds, and the high-speed broadband game has changed completely.
Several trends emerged both on the show floor and in the conference sessions.
Vectoring on the cusp of commercial launch
Unsurprisingly, “vectoring” was the term heard most often at the conference, with both major fixed-line vendors – Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei – pushing their vectoring technologies extremely hard and with several major European operators on the verge of commercial vectoring deployments after completing trials with vendors.
Belgacom confirmed plans to launch vectoring in 1Q14, though Switzerland’s Swisscom and KPN of the Netherlands might beat the Belgian incumbent to it. KPN’s commitment is the most remarkable: Not so many years ago, the Dutch incumbent was committed to the “purest” – and usually most expensive – form of FTTH, point-to-point fiber.
Interestingly, operators are split on how they will use vectoring. Some – Deutsche Telekom, for example – are determined to use it to launch 100Mbps packages to take on cable MSOs head-on, while others see vectoring more as a means to offer additional capacity at overloaded areas of their networks.