Final G.Fast Broadband Standard Promises 1Gbps Over Copper

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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ITU finalises G.Fast standard and claims it will make it cheaper and less complex to deploy 1Gbps broadband than FTTP

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has finalised the standards for G.Fast, a new technology that promises to offer fibre-like speeds on existing copper cables, offering a significant upgrade to Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) infrastructure.

While Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology can provide speeds of 1Gbps, FTTC deployment use cable for the final few metres of the connection, typically delivering speeds of up to 80Mbps within 500 metres of the exchange and deteriorating significantly after that.

G.Fast standardisation

Fibre © Sam72 Shutterstock 2012G.Fast is able to maintain speeds of up to 1Gbps over a distance of up to 400 metres, making it a much more cost effective option for superfast deployment and making the mainstream adoption of developments like 4K and 8K video and cloud applications much more feasible. Other potential uses for G.Fast include upgraded Wi-Fi hotspots and small cell backhaul services.

The average UK broadband speed is now 23Mbps, according to Ofcom.

Final approval for the standard has been granted after concerns that it might interfere with radio signals were eased and the first certified G.Fast systems could be on the market by the end of next year.

“The time from G.fast’s approval to its implementation looks set to be the fastest of any access technology in recent memory,” says Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of the ITU. “A range of vendors has begun shipping G.fast silicon and equipment, and service providers’ lab and field trials are well underway.”

BT trials

BT has been testing the technology and claims to have achieved download speeds of up to 800Mbps and upload speeds of 200Mbps using a 19 metre long piece of cable in trials. It has also managed to reach 700Mbps on a 66 metre long cable – the same maximum distance from an exchange as 80 percent of properties connected to the Openreach network.

The company has made 100 contributions to the G.Fast standard and will continue to test the technology at is Adastral Park R&D centre in Ipswich to see if it is suitable for its network

“We’re pleased that the ITU has given final approval to the G.FAST standard,” a spokesperson told TechWeekEurope. “We expect fully standardised commercial kit to be available from the vendors over the next year, and we will then need to trial it.

“We have made no decisions about the deployment of G.FAST technology yet, but we see it as a very promising technology with significant potential – that’s why we’re putting some of our best minds on the case to assess it fully.”

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