Windstream is wiring up multi-dwelling units (MDU) with G.fast in Lincoln, Nebraska, signaling its desire to extend higher broadband speeds of up to 1 Gbps, once only offered to single-family homes by the provider, to a broader set of customers over its existing copper wiring infrastructure.
Leveraging Calix's G.fast nodes and GigaFamily solutions, Windstream said it will increase broadband speeds to residential customers in what it says is a "select" number of buildings. However, it has not revealed what parts of the city will be the first to get the service.
In addition to providing service to other MDUs in Lincoln, the service provider plans to deliver speeds up to 1 Gbps over its existing copper wiring in other markets within its wireline footprint.
Art Nichols, Windstream vice president of network architecture and technology, said that G.fast can deliver services to the growing population in Lincoln that consists of college students and professionals "by leveraging our existing copper infrastructure."
G.fast represents a tantalizing opportunity for telcos to deliver higher speeds over existing infrastructure, particularly in MDUs where the condition of copper or coaxial cable can vary widely. By using a combination of Calix's G.fast nodes with the 801FB GigaPoint, a compact termination point that supports bonded G.fast, and the 844E GigaCenter, Windstream's MDU subscribers can get higher speed Wi-Fi with over longer distances within a building.
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.
Rolling out the G.fast service in Lincoln makes sense as it was the first market where Windstream launched its Kinetic IPTV service. Windstream could potentially use the G.fast architecture to deliver a triple play bundle of voice, video and broadband to customers who reside at these locations. Lincoln was also among the first five areas in its territory to get its 1 Gbps FTTH service.
News of Windstream's trial was foreshadowed in May when CEO Tony Thomas told investors that it used G.fast to penetrate more MDUs in its territory.
But apartments are only one part of a broader approach Windstream is eyeing for its G.fast rollouts.
By using the ITU's G.fast amendment 2 standards, Windstream and other telcos could provide services over a longer copper pair distance. The service provider said it could deliver 200-300 Mbps speeds at distances of 2,000 to 3,500 feet from a home, for example.
Windstream is hardly alone in its desire to use G.fast to enhance broadband to existing MDUs. AT&T, for one, began G.fast lab trial in March and it is looking at how it could be used to bring up to 300 Mbps to MDUs.
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