After some intense detective work we are ready to revisit the regulatory issues with regard to rollouts of VDSL vectoring. This is a hugely important issue: Rene Obermann, Deutsche Telekom CEO, has indicated that the operator will increase its superfast broadband coverage in Germany to 24 million homes by 2016, double the current 12 million VDSL homes passed, if it is allowed to deploy vectoring. The technology would allow download speeds for these households of 100Mbps. This could entail billions of Euros in spending for vendors and has the ability to reshape the German fixed broadband market, Europe’s largest, where the incumbent has been losing out to cable operators’ aggressively priced high speed offers.
Despite all households in the European Union now having access to basic internet connectivity, significant challenges remain before the same can be said of high-speed services, not least of which is the high cost of wiring up rural areas, according to UK research firm Point Topic.
Providing super-fast broadband to the whole of the European Union could be much less expensive than previously thought, according to UK research firm Point Topic, which estimates that the whole economic area could be served for €80bn – less than a third of the €270bn estimated by the European Commission in its Digital Agenda.
German incumbent Deutsche Telekom plans to use vectoring technology to double speeds on its VDSL network, theoretically enabling it to deliver speeds up to 100Mbps for downloads and 40Mbps for uploads.
On the face of it, DSL acceleration technologies seem to offer a neat solution to a key problem of fixed line operators: to offer superfast BB without having to invest billions rolling fiber all the way to the home. But the new DSL technologies, as discussed in last week’s DSL Acceleration conference, are not without their own complexities.
UK incumbent BT may well extend the life of its copper broadband network rather than switch to fibre for faster broadband. Lucy Dimes, chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent UK and Ireland told a forum in London last week that vectoring broadband technology (VDSL) could extend the life of copper technology to provide speeds of up to 100Mbps, ZDnet has reported.
Chinese vendor ZTE has launched what it claims is the world’s first system-level VDSL2 vectoring prototype, the ZXDSL 9836, which enables 100Mbps downstream data speeds through copper lines.
How much do governments want superfast broadband? Pretty badly, it would seem. Barely a week goes by without a politician or regulator warning that next-generation access (NGA) networks will be essential to their country’s social and economic health. But recent developments in NGA technologies should give them pause for thought about what they are willing to sacrifice in order to reach their goals.