G.fast broadband premises at 3m, according to Point Topic

February 22, 2018   |   Simona Pranulyte

February 2018, London

Broadband analyst firm Point Topic have been looking at the latest G.fast developments around the globe. Point Topic estimates that as of early 2018, some 3 million premises have been passed with G.fast networks. An estimated 29,000 households subscribe to the services, the majority of which are in Southeast Asia.

According to research by Point Topic, 33 telecoms operators and ISPs have deployed or are planning to roll out this technology in the near future. Fourteen companies are at the trialling stage, having conducted lab and in some cases field trials. Another 13 are deploying G.fast on their networks, with the commercial launches expected in the next 1-2 years. Finally, six operators worldwide have live G.fast services, with maximum download speeds offered varying from 300Mbps to 500Mbps.

BT and Swisscom are leading G.fast deployment in Europe. In the UK, BT has committed to covering 10 million premises by 2020, although only 93,000 live as of early 2018. The operator uses FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) and offers download speeds of up to 330Mbps.

Swisscom has deployed FTTS (fibre to the street) based G.fast services to 70,000 premises, bringing fibre closer to the customer. As a result, the Swiss incumbent offers maximum speeds of up to 500Mbps. Meanwhile German alternative operator M-net has rolled out G.fast in two districts of Munich. Like BT, it offers maximum theoretical download speeds of up to 300Mbps.

Oi in Brazil and CenturyLink in the US also offer G.fast services, with the former targeting areas of Rio de Janeiro and the latter having launched a pilot in 800 apartments in Platteville, Wisconsin. However, Chunghwa Telecom in Taiwan is currently the largest provider of G.fast services, with an estimated 25,000 subscribers.

During 2018, other big players such as AT&T in the US, NBN in Australia and PLDT in the Philippines plan to install G.fast on their networks. AT&T is targeting 22 metro areas while NBN expects to cover 700,000 premises initially. So, another 6-7 million premises could be covered with G.fast by the end of 2018, possibly up to 10 million if BT stay on track with their rollout plans.

“It’s a rapidly evolving market.  Now that the early implementations and some significant testing and pilot schemes are winding up we’ll start to see real acceleration in network footprints and adoption,” says Dr Jolanta Stanke, Research Director at Point Topic.

Compared to other superfast broadband solutions, such as FTTH, some operators believe that G.fast is a more efficient option as it can be deployed with fewer upgrades required to the existing networks. It is a good temporary solution and a convenient choice when deploying high speed broadband to MDUs. A number of operators – Telekom Austria, BT, Swisscom and NBN – are already trialling the next generation G.fast, with speeds promised as high as 11Gbps.

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