G.fast set for nearly 29 million end users by 2021

Monday, October 17th, 2016 
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New nbn-BT report ‘Gigabit Networks’ predicts bright future for G.Fast and XG.Fast

A new Ovum report jointly commissioned by nbn and BT has predicted that new ultra-fast copper technology G.fast will be serving nearly 30 million subscriber homes and businesses around the world by 2021. This is just four years after the first commercial G.fast services are due to launch in 2017.

“In 2021, Ovum expects G.fast to be supporting nearly 29 million subscribers, representing 3% of the global fixed broadband market,” the Gigabit Networks report says. “As an emerging technology, the growth in new G.fast subscribers is expected to accelerate in each year, rising from 330,000 in 2017 to nearly 11.5 million in 2021.”

nbn held its first G.fast trial in October 2015 and has been conducting additional lab trials of XG.FAST in recent weeks. nbn recently announced its intention to deploy Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) technology to approximately 700,000 premises – giving an ideal platform for potentially deploying both future G.fast and XG.FAST services.

Ovum is forecasting particularly strong take-up of G.fast in Europe, with operators including BT, Swisscom, Deutsche Telekom, Telekom Austria and Proximus (Belgium) all planning to deploy G.fast technology to deliver affordable ultrafast connectivity quickly and cost-effectively. “About 11% of broadband services in Western Europe may be delivered via G.fast within five years, with a number of major markets already including the technology in their upgrade plans,” the Gigabit Networks report says.

Openreach, BT’s local network division, is expected to be one of the first operators in the world to launch commercial G.fast services with a launch expected during 2017. It is aiming to make ultrafast speeds available to 12 million premises in the UK by the end of 2020 – using a mix of G.fast and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technologies.

Openreach is already working to conduct the largest G.fast field trials in the world, delivering speeds of up to 330Mbps. The company recently announced an extension to its pilot which will see around 140,000 homes and businesses across the country given access to G.fast by March 2017.

XG.FAST

Gigabit Networks points out that XG.FAST will enable service providers to take DSL-based broadband to an entirely new level. “Developed by Nokia Bell Labs, XG-FAST is targeting throughput of up to 10Gbps over very short bonded copper lines,” the report says. “This effectively positions XG-FAST as a fibre extension solution that avoids the cost, and often logistical challenges, of accessing the premises.”

Dennis Steiger, nbn’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “This report shows the potential that G.fast has for delivering ultra-fast broadband services in the global market. It is very challenging to deliver fibre into every home. Having the option to use G.fast in a Fibre-to-the-Building or Fibre-to-the-Curb setting is a great option for any operator. “With G.fast able to deliver fibre-like speeds at a lower cost and time to deploy, it’s little surprise the technology is attracting strong global interest,” said Steiger.

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said: “Our aim is to make ultrafast broadband available to 12 million homes and businesses in the UK by the end of 2020, and we’re embracing a mix of technologies with G.fast and FTTP to achieve that. We have pioneered G.fast in our labs, driven the global standards, and have been working closely with our communications provider customers on the trials, so we’re very excited that it’s time to start rolling this technology out nationwide. The great thing about G.fast is that allows us to deliver affordable ultrafast speeds to customers quickly and at scale.”

Matthew Howett, Practice Leader, Regulation & Policy, Ovum said: “G.fast is a progressive and logical step for any network operator looking to deliver ultrafast speeds through incremental enhancements to existing infrastructure. It allows them to radically improve the available speeds for large numbers of subscribers in a much shorter timeframe than other fibre based solutions.”