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Uptake of G.fast broadband delivery technology is set to boom over the next four years, going from a standing start to 30 million homes and businesses worldwide by the end of 2021, according to a new report from analysts at Ovum.
Ahead of the annual Broadband World Forum event in London, Ovum’s latest report – which was jointly commissioned by BT and Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) – forecast that adoption of G.fast in Europe would be ahead of the curve.
G.fast is a digital subscriber line (DSL) protocol capable of delivering ulfrafast download speeds of between 150Mbps and 1Gbps over short copper loops.
This means that major operators with substantial copper networks and an incentive to sweat their existing assets – including Deutsche Telekom, Proximus in Belgium, Swisscom, Telekom Austria and BT – are all advancing plans to roll it out on a massive scale.
The report anticipated that 11% of broadband services in western Europe would be delivered via G.fast. On a global scale, Ovum said around 3% of connections would be over G.fast in the same timeframe.
“G.fast is a progressive and logical step for any network operator looking to deliver ultrafast speeds through incremental enhancements to existing infrastructure,” said Ovum regulation and policy practice lead, Matthew Howett.
“It allows them to radically improve the available speeds for large numbers of subscribers in a much shorter timeframe than other fibre-based products,” he added.
BT will almost certainly be one of the first businesses to market with a commercial G.fast service. During 2015 and 2016, it has conducted extensive tests of the technology across the UK through its arms-length infrastructure division, Openreach.
Openreach CEO Clive Selley recently revealed the first major expansion of the project, connecting 25,000 more premises in two pilot network builds, and set a target of 140,000 premises passed by March 2017.
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“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,” said Selley.
In Australia, government-backed NBN started its first G.fast trial 12 months ago, and has already started testing XG.fast, which is theoretically capable of delivering 10Gbps broadband over 130m copper loops.
Dennis Steiger, CTO at NBN, said the report proved the potential of G.fast for delivering ultrafast broadband quickly and at scale.
“It is very challenging to deliver fibre into every home. Having the option to use G.fast in a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) or fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) setting is a great option for any operator,” he said.
“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.”