BroadbandITU members on December 5 gave final approval to the G.fast broadband standard, paving the way for G.fast-compliant broadband equipment and devices to enter the market.

“Designed to deliver access speeds of up to 1 gigabit/second (Gbps) over existing telephone wires,” G.fast provides “answers to service providers’ need for a complement to fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technologies in scenarios where G.fast proves the more cost-effienct strategy,” ITU stated in a press release.

According to ITU, G.fast is capable of providing “fiber-like speeds” within 400 meters (1,300 feet) of a distribution point. That and the ability for customers to install DSL themselves results in cost savings for service providers looking to afford customers fiber-equivalent Internet access.

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ITU sees G.fast gaining traction quickly among Internet service providers (ISPs). “The time from G.fast’s approval to its implementation looks set to be the fastest of any access technology in recent memory. A range of vendors has begun shipping G.fast silicon and equipment, and service providers’ lab and field trials are well underway,” ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré was quoted as saying.

G.fast Standard Approved
By making use of existing investments in last-mile network infrastructure, G.fast will enhance the ability of ISPs to implement high-bandwidth services such as “Ultra-HD ‘4K’ or ‘8K’ streaming and next-generation IPTV, advanced cloud-based storage and communication via HD video,” ITU says. That also encompasses backhaul for small wireless cell sites and WiFi hotspots.

The December 8 vote approved ITU’s “Fast Access to Subscriber Terminals – Physical Layer Specification” for G.fast. It follows the approval of ITU-T G.9700 – a text that sets out methods to ensure G.fast equipment doesn’t interfere with broadcast services such as FM radio – this past April.

ITU has been working closely with the Broadband Forum on G.fast’s fiber-to-the-distribution point (FTTdp) system architecture project to “ensure that G.fast solutions can be quickly placed into FTTdp deployments,” ITU noted. “The Broadband Forum is working closely with the ITU to ensure compliance with the G.fast standard and certify chipsets and equipment,” commented Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh. “We have already set our first plugfest for January 2015.”

Broadband Forum plans to conduct a beta-trial of its G.fast certification program in mid-2015. It’s anticipated that the first batch of G.fast-compliant implementations will appear on the market before the end of next year.

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