G.fast, the new standard that proposes the delivery of speeds of 1 Gbps over existing copper wire, has gained final approval from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
While fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) is the ultimate service delivery architecture in terms of being able to achieve 1 Gbps and higher speeds at the home, the G.fast standard will give service providers another option to deliver such speeds where they can't prove a proper business case for FTTP.
Leveraging a fiber to the distribution point (FTTdp) architecture, G.fast provides the best of the DSL and fiber-based broadband worlds with fiber-like speeds with the ability for customers to install service themselves.
"The time from G.fast's approval to its implementation looks set to be the fastest of any access technology in recent memory," said Hamadoun I. Touré, secretary-general, ITU, in a release. "A range of vendors has begun shipping G.fast silicon and equipment, and service providers' lab and field trials are well underway."
Much of the initial interest in G.fast has been in Europe, where BT (NYSE: BT) and Telekom Austria have been conducting trials of the technology.
Telekom Austria said that "fiber-to-the-home remains our long-term vision but we consider G.fast as an intelligent interim solution until fiber will have similar coverage as we have with copper now."
The approval of the physical-layer protocol aspects of G.fast--defined by Recommendation ITU-T G.9701 "Fast Access to Subscriber Terminals (FAST) - Physical layer specification"--follows the approval in April of ITU-T G.9700, a companion standard specifying methods to ensure that G.fast equipment will not interfere with broadcast services such as FM radio.
The Broadband Forum applauded the passing of the standard, saying that it will enable service providers to deploy next-gen 4K Ultra High-Definition TV (4K UHD) and consumer cloud services.
"Consumers should have confidence that the leading broadband service providers globally are working hard to deliver 1 Gbps, ultra-broadband access," said Robin Mersh, CEO of Broadband Forum. "The new G.fast standard makes it possible for telcos to deploy 4K UHD services faster and more affordably than they could with fiber to the home (FTTH)."
Despite its potential, the ITU's passing of the G.fast standard is just the first step in what will be a long journey where silicon manufacturers and equipment vendors will start developing products over the coming year and service providers will test the viability of these products in live network environments.
- see the release
- see this Broadband Forum release
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