Deutsche Telekom mulls vectored DSL

Hopes to get regulatory clearance in six months to deliver service
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Deutsche Telekom (DTE.DE) on Friday became the latest traditional wireline provider to consider DSL with vectoring to increase the speeds it can deliver over its existing copper plant.

The service provider is in the early evaluation stage of its vectored DSL plans. Vectoring, in essence, can increase the speed on existing copper lines by mitigating crosstalk and noise issues on the existing copper pairs.

Niek Jan van Damme, Managing Director for Deutsche Telekom, said that in order to move forward with any plan for vectored DSL, the telecom will need to get regulatory clearance from Germany's regulator, Federal Network Agency (FNA).

"The cost of the project is still being evaluated, and is dependent upon the conditions and support we get," van Damme said in a Bloomberg article. "We need a facts-orientated discussion. At the moment it is rather emotional."

Rene Obermann, DT's CEO, said it plans to deliver vectored DSL to 24 million customers by 2016.

Germany's highest court, the Bundesverwaltungsgericht, ruled in January 2010 that the incumbent operator does not have to give competitive carriers like Vodafone Germany access to the dark fiber on DT's VDSL network.

DT's pending vectored DSL move reflects a trend taking place through a growing cadre of European incumbent telcos, including Belgacom, TDC Denmark, and Telekom Austria A1.

Of course, the other question is why DT is not looking at deploying more Fiber to the Home (FTTH).

While DT and others, including municipal providers, have made some progress in rolling out FTTH, Germany, according to a FTTH Council Europe report issued earlier this year, as a whole has trailed the rest of Europe in rolling out FTTH. As of the end of last year, Germany had 1 million homes passed with fiber.  

That's not to say the telco isn't rolling out FTTH. It began building FTTH to housing association Deutsche Annington Immobilien in Bochum earlier this year.

However, for many incumbent telcos such as DT, there are two challenges with FTTH: time to market and deployment costs.

The advent of vectoring and VDSL2 means telcos can scale speeds effectively with a lower cost solution, especially in areas where they can't immediately prove a case for an all-fiber access network. By deploying vectoring, DT can also more effectively compete with its main cable rival Kabel Deutschland Holding AG (KD8).

For more:
- Bloomberg has this article

Special report: Bonding telcos' love affair with copper through VDSL2

Related articles:
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Vodafone Germany launches two-pronged VDSL assault
DT won't be obligated to share VDSL fiber pipes