Windstream's Thomas: G.fast will deepen our MDU broadband presence

Windstream's CEO sees tremendous potential for the next version of the G.fast standard to penetrate more multi-dwelling units (MDUs) in its wireline territory.

Tony Thomas, CEO of Windstream, told investors during the 44th Annual J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that the service provider prefers the second iteration of the G.fast standard, as it enables service providers with existing copper plant to deliver higher speeds over that legacy wire.

G.fast leverages a fiber to the distribution point (FTTdp) architecture where a service provider deploys fiber to a node that resides in close proximity to a set of users, which in the MDU case would be a basement or a wiring closet.

"I expect we'll be able to leverage G.fast to get 200 to 300 Mbps if not faster speeds if you have fiber going into that MDU and you use G.fast technology to deploy it," Thomas said. "I am very encouraged by vectoring technologies in our space and all of those technologies are doing one thing: they're giving you the ability to sell faster and faster speeds to your customers whether if they're in MDUs, residential communities or SMBs."

In particular, Windstream sees the ITU's G.fast amendment 2 standard as being more attractive because it can provide services over a longer copper pair distance – something which is a key issue for a mainly rural ILEC like Windstream.

The first iteration of the G.fast standard was limited in that service providers could get higher speeds only if they architected their network to connect to homes that were located 1,000 feet and under from the nearest distribution point. 

"G.fast amendment 2 has a lot of potential and we're working with our vendors to make sure that can go into the products as we look towards 2017," Thomas said. "You'll be able to get 200-300 Mbps speeds at further distances of 2,000 to 3,500 feet from the home."

Thomas said implementing the next version of G.fast is "where I see having great potential to deliver a great product with modest incremental capital."

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