Adtran continues to make a splash in the next-gen DSL space, announcing that it has shipped 10 million vectoring ports, reflecting the broadband industry’s goal to leverage various technologies to boost broadband speeds over fiber and existing copper.
By using VDSL2 vectoring, service providers can deliver 100 Mbps services using their existing copper infrastructure that may only provide 10 Mbps service today. Service providers can achieve over 300 Mbps by using higher spectrum Super-Vectoring.
Vectoring is an ideal solution for urban deployments and multidwelling units (MDUs) where digging up streets or rewiring may not be immediately feasible.
Kurt Raaflaub, global director of product marketing at Adtran, told FierceTelecom that its service provider customers in the United States and Europe are not being religious about the last mile technology they use.
“Every region is different and there’s different economic and time to market barriers,” Raaflaub said. “If we take these technologies and come up with unique solutions there’s going to be a customer base that will use them.” However, Raaflaub said that the United States’ geography and copper loop lengths make it harder for service providers to get the most out of vectoring.
“In the U.S. vectoring is a bit tougher because vectoring requires a relatively short copper loop,” Raaflaub said. “You have to get within a few hundred meters and that’s not always the case and we have a lot of DSL assets that are much farther than that.”
CenturyLink likes vectoring
Regardless of the challenges facing U.S.-based providers, CenturyLink is finding utility in vectoring. The service provider revealed in its first-quarter 2016 earnings call that it had passed 250,000 homes with vectoring technology and plans to scale it further.
Glen Post, president and CEO of CenturyLink, told investors that “we're looking at a plan that could reach over 14 million households over the next few years" with vectoring.
While the service provider is an advocate of FTTH technology with goals to broaden the availability of 1 Gbps services in various cities, CenturyLink has been just as keen on leveraging its existing copper network to deliver higher broadband speeds. The service provider has set a goal to deliver 40 and 100 Mbps to a broader set of its customers over the next three years.
In 2016, CenturyLink set a goal to have 10.5 million, or over 85% of addressable broadband-enabled units, at 40 Mbps or higher speeds in its top 25 markets by 2018. Within that time frame, the telco said it will have 7 million, or over 55% of addressable broadband-enabled units, able to access 100 Mbps or higher speeds. By 2019, CenturyLink had forecast that 70% of its consumer customers would be able to get 100 Mbps.
“To meet our customers’ broadband needs, we continue to innovate and provide higher speeds using both fiber and copper-based solutions,” said Aamir Hussain, EVP and CTO for CenturyLink, in a release.
A-CAM, CAF II opportunities emerge
Adtran says it is also seeing potential with vectoring and G.fast technologies to help its customers that are participating in the FCC’s A-CAM and CAF-II programs to enhance rural broadband availability. Under these plans, service providers are required to enable their networks to deliver 10/1 speeds to rural customers.
“With some of the new definitions it looks like a light is being shined on copper technologies again,” Raaflaub said.
Service providers could use the vectoring technology to make more out of their copper technologies to deliver higher speeds to meet the FCC’s speed mandates. Adtran has developed a solution that includes carrier Ethernet and a mini DSLAM that allows carriers to deliver higher speeds at even 8-9,000 feet over existing copper.
“If 10/1 is all you need to do for CAF, 25/3 Mbps is the new definition of broadband and you can go 18,000 feet from your fiber PoP, you can pick up a lot of far flung customers at a pretty cost effective dollar per sub connection rate,” Raaflaub said.