Much like Iron Man, copper is stubbornly hanging in there. Despite fiber packing way more of a punch, DSL is the telecoms technology that will not die. It’s not fashionable to talk about, certainly, but facts are facts.
G.fast is providing the next wave of longevity. Port shipments are growing and reaching the same kind of numbers where VDSL2 vectoring moved into the mainstream. Dell’Oro and Broadband trends have both predicted lift-off for G.fast and GlobalData acknowledges that the world will have millions of copper access lines for years to come..
Why, why, why? Well, the business rationale for G.fast is well known and very convincing. Like VDSL2, G.fast is actually an enabler of fiber rollouts. Operators can take fiber into areas where FTTH is too costly or difficult and still deliver fiber-like services with G.fast in an FTTB, FTTC or FTTdp scenario. That’s exactly what Proximus is trialing in Belgium in their FTTH zones, as they explained at TNO’s Ultrafast Broadband Seminar earlier this year.
G.fast is now a mature technology, stable, tested and gigabit-ready. Extensive lab and field trials have convinced operators that G.fast is good to go and the first commercial deployments are happening. I probably shouldn’t say it here, but we’re shipping hundreds of thousands of ports of G.fast with our SDAN-enabled micro-nodes (but keep that to yourself).
But I think there’s another realization that has begun shaping thinking as well. FTTH is brilliant. But there’s no fiber inside the home. End devices are always connected via copper (Ethernet) or Wi-Fi, at least inside the home. So as long as the broadband speed brought to the home matches or exceeds the capacity of that final Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection, it doesn’t really matter – for now – whether operators use GPON, G.fast or LTE-TTH. As long as it takes the world a step closer to a full-fiber future.
At the end of the day, the internet is one of the strongest forces for good that the world has ever seen. It opens up opportunity, education, care, connectivity to loved ones. The chance of a better life. That’s what drives us in the Nokia Fixed Networks team, and that’s what we’ll be showcasing at BBWF where we’re demonstrating how you can make your networks truly open for business.
Whether internet access arrives over the air, through a fiber or on a 100-year-old copper line should be irrelevant. Making the world a better place will never go out of fashion.
Just ask Iron Man.
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