Point Topic forecasts that at least 100 million people are expected to be subscribed to gigabit labelled services by 2020 – and expects G.fast technology to underpin that growth.
The market research firm found that there are currently less than ten million subscriptions on gigabit connections but predicts that is set to change with more gigabit tariffs on the market than ever before and the cost of services dropping.
The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of subscribers to gigabit tariffs is projected to be at least 65 per cent in the five years to 2020.
The research was unveiled at the Broadband Forum’s quarterly meeting in Hong Kong, where Point Topic CEO Oliver Johnson said G.fast is a vital technology for operators with copper in their networks.
While G.fast is currently only capable of gigabit speeds over short distances, it can already reach speeds that meet the vast majority of operator demand – and the technology is continually developing. Recently Nokia Bell Labs partnered with Deutsche Telekom to demonstrate combined upstream and downstream speeds in excess of 10Gb/s using bonded copper cables over a distance of 70m (see Nokia and Deutsche Telekom check out 10Gb/s XG-FAST).
Much of the growth in gigabit subscribers is expected to come in Asia Pacific, the region with the most fibre in the local loop (see The many paths of Asian fibre). However, G.fast offers a means for operators with copper in their networks to deploy gigabit services more quickly than they might otherwise have done.
“G.fast clearly works best economically in a mature market with copper in the local loop so I expect most of today’s leading markets will have some G.fast in the next five years and some, should see coverage approaching 50 per cent of the market,” said Johnson.
“G.fast is an excellent solution for today,” he continued. “The only doubt there could be is how long it can effectively compete, particularly when it comes to continued opex versus capex required for end-to-end fibre, and a lot of that depends on the next step of actually delivering it in the real mass market world. If it’s quick, clean, meets global standards and certifications such as those proposed by the Broadband Forum, and continues to offer significant NFV/SDN and vectoring improvements, then it will be strong tomorrow as well as today.”
Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh said operators should take the picture painted by Point Topic as a clear call to action to consider G.fast deployments in their networks.
“The rate of growth predicted by Point Topic’s latest figures shows the scale of the issue the broadband industry is facing and why adopting key enabling technologies for ultra-fast access is so important,” he said. “The growing trend of gigabit services points to the fact that more and more people want to use next-generation services, like 4K video, location-based services, security, home automation, video sharing, gaming and home office collaboration. G.fast is how operators with copper in their networks can still enable all these things.”