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# 177516 5-Aug-2015 11:20
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The role of G.Fast in New Zealand’s fibre future  

G.fast broadband is causing a huge buzz in Europe and to a lesser extent across the Tasman. The excitement is based on G.fast’s ability to deliver “fibre like” speeds of 100Mbps or more over copper. Many international operators are either conducting trials with the G.fast technology or committing to deploy G.fast in 2015, which raises a critical question – is this an option New Zealand should consider?  

Our analysis has led to one simple conclusion: fibre to the home to 75 percent of New Zealand alleviates the need for G.fast broadband. As a high speed copper solution, G.fast could be worth considering for non-UFB areas, but essentially the technology is designed for urban areas. It has significant technical limitations for low density regional or rural areas. Any evaluation of G.fast in New Zealand will have to very carefully consider if it can deliver the scale and benefits that outweigh the additional cost and complexity of introducing (yet another) technology.   

What is G.fast?

G.fast is the latest generation of copper broadband technology, faster than VDSL at 100Mbps or more.but its speed can be highly variable and unpredictable. On very short copper loops it is theoretically possible for G.fast to get speeds of up to 1Gbps, but as with all copper broadband technologies as the distance gets longer, the speed drops dramatically. The performance of G.fast depends greatly on very short and very high quality copper. It achieves its speed by transmitting signals at a much higher frequency range (up to 212MHz) than standard VDSL technology (17MHz). Signal interference and reduced signal strength become bigger issues at such high frequencies, so a noise cancellation technology called “vectoring” is essential. For G.fast to work, active electronic devices (micro DSLAMs) must be installed within 100 metres of a customer’s premises – it is effectively like putting a mini fibre-fed cabinet at the letterbox. Unlike fibre broadband, these field devices require electricity which is an added challenge.

The industry standard for the first version of G.fast (106MHz) was approved in December 2014 and the second version (212MHz) is due in 2016. There is likely to be a lot of tests, trials and pilots over the next year or two before G.fast is mature enough to be rolled out on a large scale.

Why are operators so excited by G.fast?

Many European operators have large copper networks and are under pressure from cable TV, fibre and mobile network competitors to offer faster broadband speeds. Cable operators routinely market 150Mbps to 250Mbps services soVDSL at around 50Mbps doesn’t compete G.fast technology enables Telco operators to incrementally and selectively evolve their copper network rather than ubiquitously overbuilding it with fibre. While G.fast can be used in a suburban scenario to provide services to standalone dwellings, the biggest potential use case is for apartment blocks and other high density housing complexes. Fibre to the basement with G.fast removes the need to run fibre into every apartment, increasing the speed of installation and reducing connection costs with less impact on the customer. G.fast is far less suitable in rural and low density population areas due to the high cost of building and maintaining lots of electronic devices located in pits and cabinets. For new subdivisions, Fibre-to-the-Home is always the preferred option. G.fast provides European operators with another useful tool in their multi-technology toolkit.  In Australia, NBN started out with a fibre strategy for 93% of the country but have recently changed tack to a multi-technology mix that is dominated by higher speed copper variants.   

What about G.fast in New Zealand?

New Zealand is a small country with a relatively low population density so the optimal scenarios for G.fast are few and far between.  We have evaluated it with an open mind, but our experience shows that building and maintaining lots of electronic devices in the field is not a low cost option and will not provide ubiquitous service experience. The Government’s UFB policy is pretty clear – a fibre network covering 75 per cent of the population, and a recent announcement to extend it to 80 per cent. We’re almost halfway through achieving this target.

The sheer scale of the project – one of the largest civil works ever undertaken in New Zealand – and clarity of purpose has enabled us to find innovative fibre solutions for the same issues that other operators are trying to solve with G.fast. From our perspective, G.fast is taking the life of copper broadband to its limits but ultimately fibre is the superior technology.  Fibre is future proof; broadband speeds can be upgraded to 1Gbps and well above as demand grows. G.fast holds great promise for the copper network operators in Europe not yet ready to make the full leap to fibre. But at this point it is hard to see where it can fit in fibre-fed New Zealand.

By Kurt Rodgers, Network Strategy

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  # 1359387 5-Aug-2015 13:53
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So does this mean that Chorus are going to be offering G.Fast into MDU's. As there are plenty of fairly reasonably sized MDUs in the big cities that get very average ADSL service.

I would love to see that Chorus start offering VDSL or G.Fast in conjunction with some MDUs where installing fibre is prohibitively expensive or there are consent issues from the Body Corp.





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  # 1359401 5-Aug-2015 14:12
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BarTender: So does this mean that Chorus are going to be offering G.Fast into MDU's. As there are plenty of fairly reasonably sized MDUs in the big cities that get very average ADSL service.

I would love to see that Chorus start offering VDSL or G.Fast in conjunction with some MDUs where installing fibre is prohibitively expensive or there are consent issues from the Body Corp.


Thats basically the best use case for it. Crappily wired apartment blocks with obstructive bodycorps to a full on fiber install. Cant do ethernet to the apartment if all there is in place is ratty old telco cables.




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  # 1359404 5-Aug-2015 14:17
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There's no capacity to do that under the UFB agreements, Pretty sure they rule out allowing chorus to terminate UFB assets into a building and run copper for the internal's - It's all fibre all the way or not UFB assets

edit:// Oh and there's still issues with G.Fast and radio spectrum that havent been addressed outside of the FM band




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All comment's I make are my own personal opinion and do not in any way, shape or form reflect the views of current or former employers unless specifically stated 

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  # 1359408 5-Aug-2015 14:20
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Well I guess once again technology is crippled by legislation lagging behind the speed of development. Guess in someones mind its better to have these people suffering on ADSL while waiting for the utopian fully fiber network to get built.

Fiber to the building is happening in AU, there was even some of the telco's getting pissy at one of the new ones for putting their gear in and taking legal action about the power for it or something.

It has to happen. Unless there is a law change that forces body corps to allow and pay for the installation of fiber thru the building then those apartments will become digital wastelands, stuck in a world of 480P and no cloud backups.




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  # 1359419 5-Aug-2015 14:21
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Beccara: There's no capacity to do that under the UFB agreements, Pretty sure they rule out allowing chorus to terminate UFB assets into a building and run copper for the internal's - It's all fibre all the way or not UFB assets


Didn't CFH changed the agreement with Chorus so that they can put the ONTs in the basement and run copper up to each apartment?

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  # 1359422 5-Aug-2015 14:24
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DarkShadow:
Beccara: There's no capacity to do that under the UFB agreements, Pretty sure they rule out allowing chorus to terminate UFB assets into a building and run copper for the internal's - It's all fibre all the way or not UFB assets


Didn't CFH changed the agreement with Chorus so that they can put the ONTs in the basement and run copper up to each apartment?


Was ethernet from what I remember, not other copper technologies.




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  # 1359447 5-Aug-2015 14:47
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BarTender: So does this mean that Chorus are going to be offering G.Fast into MDU's. As there are plenty of fairly reasonably sized MDUs in the big cities that get very average ADSL service.

I would love to see that Chorus start offering VDSL or G.Fast in conjunction with some MDUs where installing fibre is prohibitively expensive or there are consent issues from the Body Corp.

I'd hope it'd be a last resort solution though - if G.Fast is available and cheaper for a body corp to deploy than UFB then it'd be frustrating to see buildings which could have fibre but dont, because they just wanted to save money, especially on new projects. While G.Fast may be quick now, like all copper technologies it'll eventually get outdated and MDU dwelling speed will stagnate. Meanwhile the UFB infrastructure has been upgraded to 10G-PON and beyond. While there will no doubt be a G.Fast2 etc to replace it, it'll be a significant investment that isn't likely to be undertaken with any haste.

I've seen apartments which appear to offer their own in house DSL service and thats all you could get. Horrible pricing and bandwidth caps too. But hey it meant the bodycorp could clip the ticket somewhere else too.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1359451 5-Aug-2015 14:51
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Really I think that the law change to give fiber broadband the same rights of access that electricity and water benifit from cant come soon enough. Then the bodycorps can stop obstructing, and the landlords that wont concent will then not have a habitable place to rent out.

If gfast goes in, it should have a switchoff date decided now. I say give it 5-6 years after UFB completion, and if UFB has moved on from it then switch off the gfast and make the fiber reticulation happen.

Same switchoff dates should have been thought of when they took TV to digital so we dont have it hanging on for an eternity like analog has.




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  # 1359462 5-Aug-2015 15:11
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DarkShadow:
Beccara: There's no capacity to do that under the UFB agreements, Pretty sure they rule out allowing chorus to terminate UFB assets into a building and run copper for the internal's - It's all fibre all the way or not UFB assets


Didn't CFH changed the agreement with Chorus so that they can put the ONTs in the basement and run copper up to each apartment?


Yes. If an apartment building has a full structured cabling solution with cat6 cable from each apartment terminated in a single comms/basement area this could be considered as an option. The problem is 99% of buildings don't meet these requirements.

The real world reality is that fibre direct to each apartment is a vastly superior solution.


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  # 1359470 5-Aug-2015 15:21
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Lets not spend money on G.Fast, and instead use that money to run even more fibre.  Fibre will always deliver a better solution, and will have a much longer lifetime.




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  # 1359477 5-Aug-2015 15:27
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hey i like this new attitude of informing users more :)

could i ask if there has been any attention paid to the option of implementing 30a?  it works on existing vdsl modems, although i don't know the situation for line cards etc.  

it would be nice to see faster upload speeds for those not in fibre areas, or who aren't getting fibre until 2019.  and from what i understand, generally speaking using higher frequencies on close lines makes more space on the lower frequencies for longer lines. (i assume that's not 100% accurate, but mostly true)

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  # 1359577 5-Aug-2015 17:47
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richms:
BarTender: So does this mean that Chorus are going to be offering G.Fast into MDU's. As there are plenty of fairly reasonably sized MDUs in the big cities that get very average ADSL service.

I would love to see that Chorus start offering VDSL or G.Fast in conjunction with some MDUs where installing fibre is prohibitively expensive or there are consent issues from the Body Corp.


Thats basically the best use case for it. Crappily wired apartment blocks with obstructive bodycorps to a full on fiber install. Cant do ethernet to the apartment if all there is in place is ratty old telco cables.


Body corps are ultimately led by the desires of the owners. 
If you rent - move (and say why), if you own - vote (and lobby your neighbours). 


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  # 1359578 5-Aug-2015 17:49
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Right now we need more VDSL for areas where Fibre isn't going to be provided.




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  # 1359588 5-Aug-2015 18:08
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openmedia: Right now we need more VDSL for areas where Fibre isn't going to be provided.


They should move the whisper cabinets to those areas as fiber areas have been live for a while.




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  # 1359594 5-Aug-2015 18:13
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While g.fast wont make too much difference in NZ, the use of vectoring, on vdsl would be quite nice.

G.INP would be nice too.




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Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


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