Adtran’s Stanton: We expect Tier 1 Gfast deployments to ramp in 2018

copper wiring legacy networks
Tom Stanton, CEO of Adtran, told FierceTelecom during this week’s Adtran Connect event that Gfast deployments will continue to pick up in 2018.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.—Adtran is seeing more of its large U.S.-based Tier 1 telcos starting to adopt Gfast to expand broadband availability in short-range copper network environments.

Tom Stanton, CEO of Adtran, told FierceTelecom during this week’s Adtran Connect event that while the remainder of 2017 will be slow, deployments will continue to pick up in 2018.

Tom Stanton, Adtran
Tom Stanton

“Gfast deployments are still early and we have shipped thousands of units so far this year,” Stanton said. “We haven’t really seen that start to pick up yet, but our expectation is we’ll see a material ramp-up with one of our Tier-1 telco customers in 2018 when they have in-region and out-of-region deployments.”

RELATED: Adtran boasts record revenue in Q2

While he could not divulge the name of the Tier 1 customer, Stanton said that “in the U.S. it is the biggest single deployment of Gfast that’s a plan of record.”

Meanwhile, CenturyLink is continuing to move forward with its own Gfast rollout. In September 2016, CenturyLink installed Gfast in Platteville, Wisconsin, to deliver up to 500 Mbps broadband in 44 MDUs. It is also conducting similar deployments in Minnesota. However, the telco sees the opportunity to use the technology to enhance the reach of its Ethernet service.

That particular deployment leverages existing coax plant in these buildings that is not shared. In this case, CenturyLink has a coax network that has a home run from each apartment to a telecom closet.

The service provider plans to install Gfast in other markets in other MTUs and neighborhoods where it has existing fiber-to-the-curb builds that will allow Gfast to push higher speeds over the short copper loop into the home.

“CenturyLink has Gfast in their plans, while Verizon is sticking with a fiber approach,” Stanton said.  

Tier 2 trials begin

Tier-1 telcos may be the initial focus for Adtran’s Gfast solutions, but the company is seeing ongoing interest from Tier-2 telcos. Adtran could not divulge which of its Tier-2 customers are looking at Gfast but said interest is growing in this customer group.

“We have trials going on with the majority of the Tier 2s,” Stanton said. “While not all of them have gotten to that point yet, all of them are interested.”

Stanton added that Tier-1 adoption will influence Tier-2 providers to investigate how Gfast could fit into their network plans.

“What you’ll typically see is Tier-1 carriers deploy large-scale networks and you’ll see the follow on from the Tier-2 and Tier-3 telcos,” Stanton said.

International momentum

But outside of the United States, Adtran is seeing similar momentum, particularly with Deutsche Telekom and Australia’s nbn. Adtran began a trial with DT of a new variation of the Gfast standard that operates at 212 MHz and uses coordinated dynamic time allocation (cDTA). Working at 212 MHz effectively doubles the amount of usable spectrum, and cDTA improves upstream data rates by a factor of 4 or 5, Adtran said. The combination makes it possible to deliver gigabit rates on a single strand of standard copper telephone wire, whereas in most DSL schemes, multiple wires are combined to achieve higher aggregate broadband rates.

The German telco is looking at the technology to support plans to offer fiber-to-the-building deployments, which would allow the company to use existing HFC and copper wiring infrastructure within customers’ homes to offer gigabit broadband.

Adtran is also continuing its momentum as a key last-mile supplier to Australia’s nbn. The vendor has won a contract covering software, hardware and services, which includes commitments from both companies to support nbn’s ongoing nationwide network rollout of service in Australia.

nbn revealed that the number of premises connected to retail services on the nbn network grew by 122% over the past year to 2.4 million premises, drawing $1 billion in revenue.

“We were pretty successful at nbn,” Stanton said. “The real thing about that is that nbn has embraced the overall architecture we have been proposing by using Mosaic as the element management system and an SDN control system for a larger portion of their access network.”