The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), after holding a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, is well on its way to approving a new standard of fibre broadband called G.fast. The service, which could provide internet speeds of up to 1Gbps (1000Mbps), is geared toward companies who want or need to provide such speeds (for HD or Ultra HD video streaming) but want to avoid expensive fibre installation costs. According to ITU’s website, G.fast delivers fibre-like speeds using copper wire, and can do so up to 250 metres from away from its main distribution point. This would allow for customer installation without technical support (hopefully), thereby drastically reducing costs for both providers and consumers.
Jim Barthold says G.fast would make it possible for smaller companies to provide large amounts of bandwidth which has previously been impossible for them to afford:
“The standard is backed by multiple service providers, chip manufacturers and system vendors, ITU said, because its top speeds would enable service providers to deliver upcoming bandwidth-rich services such as ultra high definition TV and multiple broadband service levels without investing in fiber to the home (FTTH). It would, in all likelihood, make IPTV service a reality for a number of smaller telcos with limited financial and network resources.”
Widespread use of G.fast will surely follow its approval, predicted to be in early 2014. The only drawback of the service, which was addressed and resolved at the Geneva meeting, is making sure that G.fast equipment doesn’t interfere with FM radio frequencies.
It seems now that traditional copper wire can yet still serve a revolutionary purpose. This new standard of fibre broadband – designed almost exclusively for the purposes of IPTV – will no doubt launch the industry into a new era where smaller companies, simply because of lower startup costs, can challenge those with more resources. With G.fast, success in the IPTV market will depend much more on the quality of the product by leveling the bandwidth playing field.